Progressives Urge Biden to Seize Climate Mandate Through Cabinet Appointments and Executive Action

WASHINGTON – Following President-elect Biden’s resounding victory against Donald Trump, Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats on Tuesday morning called on the President-elect to seize the climate mandate delivered…

WASHINGTON – Following President-elect Biden’s resounding victory against Donald Trump, Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats on Tuesday morning called on the President-elect to seize the climate mandate delivered by voters across the political spectrum in this year’s elections by creating a new White House Office of Climate Mobilization to coordinate the federal government’s response to climate change. 

The groups also urged the incoming Biden administration to appoint progressive leaders to key leadership posts, including Rep. Deb Haaland for Secretary of Interior, Sen. Elizabeth Warren for Secretary of Treasury, Keith Ellison for Attorney General, Rep. Barbara Lee for Secretary of State, and Darrick Hamilton for Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. The groups launched a video and website outlining key criteria President-elect Biden must meet in selecting top leaders of his administration, and laying out recommendations for 13 cabinet positions alongside delineated areas of policy focus.

“Democrats have a once-in-a-generation moment to deliver policies at the scale of the crises our generation is facing,” said Varshini Prakash, executive director of Sunrise Movement and advisor in the Biden-Sanders task force on climate policy. “Young people helped deliver this historic majority to Joe Biden. The Senate can’t be an excuse; whether or not Mitch McConnell remains the Majority Leader, we need an Office of Climate Mobilization and visionary personnel in the Biden administration who are ready to use every tool in their disposal to create millions of good-paying green jobs.”

“Communities just like mine—and especially the Black community—helped deliver Joe Biden his majority,” said Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman of New York’s 16th Congressional District. “Now we need diverse, progressive representation in the next administration committed to a Climate Mandate to deliver for working-class people all across this country.”

The progressive push comes after Biden’s campaign built good good-will with progressives through the Biden-Sanders task forces. Those task forces developed a climate plan that included: 100% carbon-pollution free electricity by no later than 2035, creating at minimum 10 million good jobs, creating an Office of Climate Mobilization to report directly to the President, spending at minimum $2 trillion on decarbonization over his first term, and directing 40% of that investment to frontline communities.

“President-elect Biden must embrace this historic moment by keeping the party united and appointing progressive leaders who will help him usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats. “Progressives make up close to half the party in Congress and deserve representation in the next administration. We will not allow Mitch McConnell and the GOP to rob Democrats of our ability to govern on behalf of the majority that elected Joe Biden.”

Progressives have warned that pursuing compromises with Mitch McConnell could depress Democratic turnout in 2022. McConnell and Republicans in Congress have spent the past week amplifying President Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election results and the next four years of the Biden presidency. The groups plan to continue their campaign for personnel and policy commitments alongside other progressive allies in the coming weeks.

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The full list of recommendations by Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats for top Biden administration posts is below:

Secretary of the Interior

Top Choice: Representative Deb Haaland

Representative Raul Grijalva

Representative Jared Huffman

Secretary of the Treasury

Top Choice: Senator Elizabeth Warren

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Robert Reich

Assistant to the President for Climate Mobilization

Governor Jay Inslee

Gina McCarthy

John Podesta

Chair, Council of Economic Advisors

Top Choice: Darrick Hamilton

Heidi Shierholz

Stephanie Kelton

Secretary of State

Top Choice: Representative Barbara Lee

Representative Ro Khanna

Senator Chris Murphy

Attorney General

Top Choice: Attorney General Keith Ellison

District Attorney Larry Krasner

Attorney General Dana Nessel

EPA Administrator

Top Choice: Mustafa Ali

Kevin DeLeon

Heather McTeer Toney

NEC Director

Top Choice: Joseph Stiglitz

Bharat Ramamurti

Manuel Pastor

Secretary of Transportation

Top Choice: Representative Chuy Garcia 

Sara Nelson

Representative Ayanna Pressley

Secretary of Labor

Top Choice: Senator Bernie Sanders

Mary Kay Henry

Representative Andy Levin

Secretary of Agriculture

Top Choice: Representative Chellie Pingree

Representative Marcia Fudge

Senator Cory Booker

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Top Choice: Representative Rashida Tlaib

Representative Karen Bass

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Top Choice: Representative Pramila Jayapal

Abdul El Sayed

Don Berwick


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