(PresidentialInsider.com)- Two prominent progressive senators may not be headed to President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet after all.
Despite whispers of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders being primed for positions on his Cabinet, Biden said he’d rather keep them in the U.S. Senate. Both senators are former presidential candidates themselves, and Biden said he feels it will be important to have them working on a progressive agenda in Congress rather than directly with him.
Biden this week told NBC that there’s already “significant representation among progressives in our administration,” but “there’s nothing really off the table.”
“But one thing is really critical: taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House (of Representatives), particularly a person of consequence, is really a difficult decision that would have to be made. 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.”
Sanders was reportedly angling to become Labor secretary. He even apparently was seeking the support of various labor leaders around the country to vouch for him. Earlier in November, Sanders had said:
“If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would.”
Warren was a favorite among progressives to head up the Treasury Department. Instead, Biden went with Janet Yellen, who once served as the chair of the Federal Reserve.
Warren backed that decision this week, when she tweeted that Yellen was an “outstanding choice,” since she’s “smart, tough and principled.” She even called her “one of the most successful Fed Chairs ever.”
Biden’s statement about not pulling progressives out of Congress could affect others, too. Progressives were hoping that, if not Sanders, that Representative Andy Levin from Michigan could serve as the head of the Labor Department. Representative Marcia Fudge from Ohio was being built up by progressives as a good fit to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture.
Now, though, Biden seems to be looking outside of these elected officials and others to hold prominent positions within his administration.
What’s even worse for progressives is that Biden has said that he’d consider choosing a Republican who voted for President Donald Trump to serve in his administration. He said:
“I want this country to be united. The purpose of our administration is, once again, uniting. We can’t keep this virulent political dialogue going. It has to end.”
Part of this decision by Biden could be strategic for Congress, too. Right now, Republicans hold a slight edge in the Senate that could be secured by winning the runoff elections in Georgia set for January. If Warren and Sanders were to be pulled from the Senate to serve in Biden’s Cabinet, the Republican governors in their states would have the choice as to who to replace them with.
That means that, even if Democrats were to somehow win both runoff elections and take control of the Senate, they could instantly lose it if Biden were to take one or two Democrats from the upper Chamber.