Politics

It seems Joe Biden wants Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in the Senate, not his Cabinet

Biden appears to want to keep the progressive senators in Congress to help push his agenda.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, and President-elect Joe Biden at a presidential primary debate in February.

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It’s looking like Joe Biden, who was Massachusetts’ top pick in its Democratic primary in March, won’t be bringing the state’s second and third-place finishers up to the Cabinet.

He seemed more interested in keeping Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren in Congress during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt Tuesday night. (The relevant segment begins at 1:47 in the video below.)

 

“One thing is really critical: Taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House, particularly a person of consequence, is a really difficult decision that would have to be made,” Biden said. “I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda. And it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get it done.”

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Both Warren and Sanders are certainly “people of consequence” when it comes to rallying the Democrats’ progressive faction in Congress — and in the streets. Still, both senators have expressed interest in joining the Cabinet.

Warren reportedly spent weeks gunning for Treasury secretary, and she was regularly floated as a potential favorite for the position. But that dream is dead: While Biden didn’t formally nominate a Treasury pick in his first slate of Cabinet announcements Tuesday, he plans to choose the former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen. Warren congratulated Yellen on Twitter Monday.

For his part, Sanders has said he’d accept the role of Labor Secretary, which hasn’t been filled yet. But between Biden’s apparent reluctance to promote leading voices from Congress (which will likely be divided under his administration) and his track record of choosing moderate and muted veterans of the Obama era, it seems implausible that the democratic socialist will get the gig.

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Snubbing both Warren and Sanders for moderates won’t please the left-most wing of the party, especially when Biden’s transition team reportedly seems more interested in courting Republicans than progressives. During the NBC interview, Biden said he wasn’t opposed to nominating a Republican who voted for President Donald Trump to his administration, but that political watchers shouldn’t expect that kind of announcement.

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