Biden defies Dem Party progressives with plan to hand longtime aide powerful position

Joe Biden may be provoking the ire of his party’s progressive members by giving a longtime aide a powerful position in his administration.

The Democrat’s transition team announced Tuesday that Bruce Reed has been named as Biden’s deputy chief of staff, including his name in a list of six senior White House appointments. Serving as a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, Reed came under scrutiny by progressives including members of the “Squad” who fiercely opposed him for any position in a new administration.

Justice Democrats launched a petition last month calling on the former vice president to not “repeat Obama’s mistake” by appointing Reed.

With Tuesday’s announcement, it seems Biden has failed the “major test” the Justice Democrats’ petition put forth for the Democrat who has already stoked dissatisfaction for some of his other administration choices.

“Putting someone in the administration who will prioritize paying down the deficit ahead of all other concerns in charge is a recipe for cutting our earned benefits and turning the COVID recession into a depression,” read the petition demanding “No Deficit Hawks in the Biden Administration!”

“Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency,” continued the petition which was signed by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

“Reed was the executive director of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission during President Obama’s first term. The Bowles-Simpson commission proposed getting Democrats and Republicans to work together to enact massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare, including raising the retirement age,” the petition, which to date has garnered only 35,000 signatures, read.

In a direct message to Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, the petition said:

Bruce Reed has a history of putting deficit reduction ahead of economic recovery, including as Executive Director of the Bowles-Simpson commission. We are extremely concerned by the reports that Reed is being considered for an appointment under the Biden administration, given his history of antipathy towards economic security programs that working people rely on. We demand that the administration be staffed with people who will prioritize working people, not Wall Street deficit scaremongers.

 

Back in 2011 when he was naming Reed as chief of staff during his tenure as vice president, Biden noted he had known him for 20 years and that they had “worked closely together to pass the crime bill in the 1990s,” adding that he had “frequently sought his advice and counsel in the years since.”

“If the Biden administration is serious about protecting Medicare and Social Security, they must not appoint one of the biggest champions of cuts to lead their budget agency. Join me, @justicedems, & our progressive coalition in saying no to deficit hawks,” Omar tweeted last month.

In a statement on the newly named administration officials, Biden touted them as “respected leaders whose values and priorities align with my own.”

“Their dedication to overcoming the challenges facing our country are rooted in their diverse backgrounds and experiences, helping deliver the change America needs in these difficult times,” he added.

Reactions to the naming of Reed to such a powerful position poured in on Twitter.

Frieda Powers

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