Thursday, 3 Dec 2020

Joe Biden reportedly eyes establishment over progressives for administration

Top advisers to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s transition team have reportedly begun to map out what a potential Biden administration would look like, and their names do not appear to include picks for progressives.

While the former vice president is in the throws of the final days of the 2020 election, campaigning in critical swing states ahead of Tuesday, his team is considering potential cabinet picks, ambassadorships and other appointments, according to the Washington Post.

Citing people familiar with the planning, the paper reported over the weekend that tensions were igniting among several factions that got behind the 2020 Democrat in his effort to build a coalition against President Trump and now wanted to be heard.

“There are a lot of mouths to feed. Finding space for them will be a challenge,” one person familiar with the dynamic told the paper on condition of anonymity.

There has been a surge in focus recently on Biden’s potential Treasury secretary pick, a job Politico reported last week is on the mind of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The outlet reported that Warren, a staunch progressive who would likely excite the far left wing of the Democratic party, plans to make her case for the job next week should Biden win.

“She wants it,” two sources told the outlet.

The department will play a major role in the coming years as the US and other major economies fight to get a handle on the economic ruin caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Axios and the Washington Post report that on team Joe, however, the top choices for the job include Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, who currently serves as CEO of TIAA.

Axios also reports that Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-RI), a moderate who previously served as a finance executive, was also being considered.

Going with any of the choices besides Warren or someone in her ideological range will be sure to enrage progressives who coalesced behind the 2020 Democrat when he assumed the nomination.

Given how many factions will be turning to a President Biden to deliver for them, according to Axios, members of the former vice president’s team have begun considering placing an informal ban on nominating any Democratic senators to the cabinet.

Some of Biden’s advisers argued to the outlet that if elected, it will likely be by a small margin and thus, he would likely not be able to afford losing a single vote in the Senate.

Warren, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — another staunch progressive who backed Biden in his general election effort– hail from extremely Democratic states. The problem for both of them currently, however, is that both states have Republican governors.

Governors are allowed to fill Senate vacancies that open midway through a lawmaker’s term. In both cases, the governors would have the power to appoint a Republican to replace an otherwise Democratically-held seat.

The informal ban would not just impact Warren and Sanders, who has been mentioned as a potential Labor secretary, it would also impact the potential for some critical Biden allies, such as Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

All four senators are from states with Democratic governors, where a Biden administration would not have to worry about losing a vote to Republicans in the Senate.

As for Biden’s potential chief of staff, allies to the 2020 Democrat and his advisers have said that Ron Klain, who served in the same role when Biden was vice president, is a frontrunner. Also in the mix is Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who has the backing of Democratic kingmaker and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) for a top administration post.

Also on the former vice president’s mind is appealing to Republicans who spurned President Trump in his 2020 reelection effort and joined Biden’s campaign.

Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who endorsed Biden in his 2020 bid, revealed to the Washington Post that some in the GOP will be included.

“I know for a fact, just because I’m on the transition team, they said they are considering all — not just Democrats, but Republicans and all people as part of the administration,” she said, adding jokingly that, “I’m very superstitious, so let’s get past Tuesday.”

Reached for comment on potential cabinet picks, a Biden transition spokesman told the Washington Post in a statement over the weekend, “The Biden-Harris transition team is not making any personnel decisions pre-election.”

Sources who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity stressed that final decisions have not yet been made.

A spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on Cabinet discussions.

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