Biden promises to work closely with Bernie Sanders on ‘shared’ economic agenda
President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that he planned to work “closely” with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on a “shared agenda” to promote worker power.
During an address to the nation, Biden revealed that he and Sanders had discussed plans to push economic policies aimed at bolstering the working class.
“We … discussed how we’d work together, travel the country together, helping [Labor Secretary Nominee Marty Feldstein], meeting with working men and women who feel forgotten and left behind in this economy,” Biden said. “We agreed that we’ll work closely on our shared agenda of increasing worker power and to protect the dignity of work for all working people.”
Progressives in the Democratic Party had urged Biden to nominate the Independent Vermont senator to the Labor Secretary post, which was given instead to Boston Mayor Marty Feldstein.
The president-elect said that he and Sanders agreed that ensuring Democratic control of the Senate was a greater priority. If Sanders was tapped for a cabinet post, it would lead to a special election in Vermont – potentially jeopardizing the chamber’s Democratic majority.
Biden said, however, that his administration will pursue a $15 federal minimum wage and strongly support labor unions, which were two of the key pillars of Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Sanders’ platform was well-known for containing a slew of other proposals to reduce costs for American households, ranging from Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college to free child care and early education, as well as the elimination of student loan debt.
Biden may be forced to contend with reconciling a growing divide in the Democratic Party between moderates and progressives.
After the election, Democratic lawmakers were at odds over whether the progressives’ policy platform was responsible for the loss of some down-ballot races.