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Sanders Confirms Interest In Cabinet Position Following Speculation
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden speak during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Seven candidates qualified for the debate, hosted by CBS News and Congressional Black Caucus Institute, ahead of South Carolina’s primary in four days.
Win McNamee via Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told CNN on Wednesday evening that he would be interested in serving inside a Biden administration as the secretary of labor, a position that media outlets have previously reported Sanders as having shown interest in.

“Let me ask you about these reports, and I’m sure you’ve seen them, that potentially you might be eyeing a position in president-elect Biden’s cabinet, labor secretary for example. Is that true?” CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Sanders.

“Well, what’s true is I want to do everything I can to protect the working families of this country who are under tremendous duress right now,” Sanders told Blitzer in response to the question. “Whether that’s in the Senate, whether that’s in the Biden administration, who knows well, let’s see how that unfolds.”

Pressed by Blitzer on whether that means he would join as labor secretary, the Vermont senator responded: “If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes I would.”

Sanders, who was the runner-up in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary, reportedly started reaching out to members of the Biden campaign’s transition team even before election day. And while Sanders and Biden are typically viewed as occupying different spaces on the ideological spectrum, the two recently made common cause by creating a “Unity” task-force designed to push the party further to the Left.

The platform called for the creation of a federally funded “civilian corps of unarmed first responders” to handle 911 calls deemed nonviolent, the enactment of free public college for 80% of American families, forgiveness of federal student loan debt after 20 years, and a promise to never “cut, privatize, or weaken” social security, to name a few topics.

Sanders isn’t the only high-profile left-winger with an alleged interest in serving in a Democratic presidential administration.

Before the election, Politico also reported that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was interested in serving in a Biden administration as Treasury Secretary, a position that would offer the Massachusetts senator an incredible amount of influence over the economy.

The New York Times, citing a person “familiar with her thinking,” also reports that Warren is interested in serving as the treasury secretary, and some on the Left are advocating for the appointment to happen.

However, two factors could complicate the appointment of Sanders and Warren to a cabinet position in an upcoming Democratic administration.

Both hail from states with Republican governors, and there would be no guarantee a Democrat would replace them in the long-term, particularly because both states allow governors to appoint replacements until a special election for the seat can be held.

After President Donald Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to head the Department of Justice as attorney general, Luther Strange was appointed to resume Sessions’ term ahead of a special election. But Strange subsequently lost in a primary against Roy Moore, who himself lost against Senator Doug Jones, flipping the seat blue.

In addition to concerns about simply losing a Democratic Senate seat, a Biden administration must also consider the uncertain future of the Senate majority itself.

Currently, two Republican-held Senate seats remain in play, and both will be decided by a Georgia special election in January. Should Republicans retain both, they will keep a 52-seat majority in the Senate. But should they lose both, Democrats would be in the position to pass Democratic legislation on a near party-line vote (including the two independent senators, Sanders and Angus King (I-ME), who typically vote with Democrats.)

Related: Georgia Dem Senate Candidate Slammed Police, Honored Jeremiah Wright

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