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.
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris continue to assemble a White House senior staff composed of diverse, experienced, and talented individuals who are day-one ready to deliver results for working families.https://t.co/yOaRHCAuHA
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) December 22, 2020
“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.)
Bruce Reed helped develop the ’94 Crime Bill, pushed broken windows policing & cuts to Social Security & Medicaid.
We want an administration that prioritizes programs that protect ALL of us. Mr. Reed is not someone our communities trust—sign our petition:https://t.co/9GS89aASqF
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 24, 2020
“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.”
Some progressives have voiced concerns about Reed joining the administration, pointing to his long ties to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and his record as a domestic policy adviser during the Clinton administration, including helping write the 1996 welfare law.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 22, 2020
“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.
These are the men the architect at the racist 94 crime bill the distraught millions of black family. And Joe Biden he’s planning on putting them his his administration. Bruce Reed, Ron KlIn Joe Biden chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. No respect or concern about blacks pic.twitter.com/maGezsZixf
— Don Salmon (@dijoni) December 18, 2020
Reed was one of the key figures in gutting social security.
— The Guillotine Shouter (@guillotineshout) December 22, 2020
Bruce Reed …. 😑
I get it, and happy that he’s not a principal, but why he’s back that close to power is beyond me.
Hopefully it goes different
— Igwe Ugo (@igwejimmiri) December 22, 2020
that outrage is justified when Bruce Reed will be continuously handwringing to Biden about the size of the deficit https://t.co/YVDCAwfax1
— Bill DeBaun (@BillDeBaun) December 22, 2020
Selecting Bruce Reed to be part of his staff while fighting to make the relief bill smaller are just a few of the many signals fortelling that cutting social security will be a top priority for Joe Biden.
— Alexander The Meh (@Alexand3rTheMeh) December 22, 2020
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