Left-wing House members including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Raúl Grijalva and candidate Jamaal Bowman along with 39 progressive groups signed a letter, claiming that no C-suite level corporate executives or corporate lobbyists ought to have Senate-confirmed posts in a Biden presidency.
“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,” they wrote. “As elected leaders, we should stop trying to make unsupportable distinctions between which corporate affiliations are acceptable for government service and which are not."
The letter, which was passed to Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell on Friday morning, called on both parties to embrace this standard, but organizers told it was also dedicated to sending a message to Joe Biden’s transition team as it vets potential candidates.
“It's not addressed to Biden, but there's an understanding that he’d be in charge and be the person making nominations,” said Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, who drafted the letter and gained the signees.
The letter is the latest sign of the profound divisions that continue to fume within the Democratic Party.
The conflicts 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 spark again if Biden is victorious.
Biden would be required to maintain a potentially heavy combination of aggressive left-wing Democrats and a new class of more moderate swing district Democrats from the suburbs.
Those parts could result in an inside dispute 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's signees include famous progressive groups like Communication Workers of America, the Sen. Bernie Sanders-aligned advocacy group Our Revolution, the grassroots organization Indivisible, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is closely tied to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Many of those groups have been actively involved in the Biden transition process, in the hopes of boosting or damaging certain executive branch appointees.
Some Biden associates and even some left-wing Democrats have been disappointed that sides of the party are expressing such demands and criticism in public before the election.
It feels like if Biden wins over the elections, the administration will barely hold on to its life while trying to maintain peace between the sides in the administration.