Progressive members of the Democratic Party led by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to congressional leaders warning them not to allow corporate lobbyists to Cabinet-level positions under a presumed Biden administration.
Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva, who signed the letter alongside Reps. Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, and congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman, said the letter is not directly addressed to Biden but it was written with him in mind.
“It’s not addressed to Biden, but there’s an understanding that he’d be in charge and be the person making nominations,” Grijalva told Politico.
The letter was formally addressed to congressional leadership including Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, calling on both parties to adopt the principle.
Thirty-nine left-wing organizations also signed the letter.
The clashes between the left-wing and the center — particularly over economic policy — have eased over the past several months as the factions unite to defeat President Donald Trump but are likely to reignite if Biden is victorious.
Biden would be forced to manage a potentially unwieldy coalition of aggressive left-wing Democrats and a new class of more moderate swing district Democrats from the suburbs.
Those divisions could result in an intraparty brawl over nominations for senior level posts at Treasury and other economic agencies early in Biden’s term. The dueling sides could also put Schumer in a difficult position as he tries to fend off a potential primary challenge in 2022 — possibly by Ocasio-Cortez.
The letter encourages the congressional leaders to end the “revolving door” of lobbyists and special interests.
“One of the most important lessons of the Trump administration is the need to stop putting corporate officers and lobbyists in charge of our government,” the letter read. “‘As elected leaders, we should stop trying to make unsupportable distinctions between which corporate affiliations are acceptable for government service and which are not.”
“Just imagine explaining to the American people why those names, with those affiliations, are unacceptable, but similar names with similar-sounding affiliations are not only unobjectionable, but necessary to the proper functioning of the federal government,” it continued. “The revolving door needs to stop, not just change direction every few years.”
Politico reports the letter could “risk overreaching” by the party’s progressive members and be viewed as too demanding by moderates:
Some Biden allies and even some left-wing Democrats have been frustrated that factions of the party are airing such demands and criticism in public before the election.
A prohibition on current and former C-suite executives is likely to draw opposition and eye rolls from more moderate Democrats, who believe private sector experience can be a valuable asset, especially given the myriad challenges currently facing the country. Biden transition officials have indicated they are prioritizing competence and values and are leveraging the former vice president’s vast rolodex for all the help they can get.