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Progressives’ Wish List for Biden Starts With Warren and Sanders

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The prominent progressive groups the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats on Wednesday will urge President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to name left-leaning allies including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to top government posts, firing an opening salvo in the left’s campaign to exert influence over Mr. Biden’s agenda.

Underscoring one of their most significant priorities, the groups will also call on Mr. Biden to create a new office dedicated to climate change that reports directly to the president.

The public appeals from the Sunrise Movement, a group of young climate organizers, and Justice Democrats, a grass-roots organization that has helped elect people like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, signal the beginning of the left’s intense efforts to pressure Mr. Biden over the makeup of his executive branch and his administration’s immediate priorities.

And the move represents the end of a truce between Mr. Biden and progressives, who had united behind his candidacy during the presidential campaign with the mission of defeating President Trump, but who have deep ideological and generational differences.

Already, some liberal activist groups have warned Mr. Biden about backsliding on his commitment to progressive policies since he was declared the winner of the election on Saturday. And with control of the Senate still unclear, progressives have shifted their focus to figuring out how they can persuade Mr. Biden to enact progressive policies through the executive branch, using executive orders and by appointing leaders to positions that act, in effect, as gatekeepers for policy.

“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,” Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of Justice Democrats, said in a statement.

The list of recommendations, for 13 key government positions, includes well-known progressive allies, some of whom would most likely be palatable to Democrats across the spectrum.

Still, some of the people on the list are sure to cause consternation in the party’s moderate wing.

Among the leaders the groups are pressing Mr. Biden to appoint, for instance, are Ms. Warren as Treasury secretary and Mr. Sanders as labor secretary — both standard-bearers of the progressive movement whose policies are viewed by some Democrats as too extreme.

Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders are both said to be interested in the jobs. But appointing them to top government posts would be complicated by the fact that the states they represent, Massachusetts and Vermont, are led by Republican governors, and Democrats would want to make sure that any replacements would caucus with them to keep the balance of the Senate intact.

Also on the groups’ list are:

  • Representative Barbara Lee of California for secretary of state

  • Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, for attorney general

  • Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, one of the four congresswomen known as the Squad, for secretary of housing and urban development

  • Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for secretary of health and human services

  • Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico for secretary of the interior

  • Representative Chuy García of Illinois for secretary of transportation

  • Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine for secretary of agriculture

  • The economist Joseph E. Stiglitz for director of the National Economic Council

  • Darrick Hamilton, an economist and the executive director of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, for chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

  • Mustafa Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

As part of their list of recommendations, the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats are also urging Mr. Biden to create a new White House Office of Climate Mobilization to coordinate climate efforts across the government, and to appoint as its leader either Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, whose presidential campaign last year centered on climate change; Gina McCarthy, an E.P.A. administrator under President Barack Obama; or John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress who was an adviser to Mr. Obama on climate change. The proposal for the office was part of a sweeping set of recommendations put forth by Biden-Sanders joint policy task forces over the summer.

In addition to their top choices for each high-level position, the groups also provided alternative options, including Sarah Bloom Raskin, who served as deputy secretary of the Treasury under Mr. Obama, for Treasury secretary; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey for secretary of agriculture; and Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, for secretary of transportation.

The recommendations amount to something of a moon shot, and Mr. Biden is very unlikely to choose many of the names put forward, if he picks any at all; rather, the list is meant to ramp up the pressure on him to select people for high-ranking government posts who are at least somewhat acceptable to the left.

But that the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, the two groups that perhaps most represent the next generation of left-wing activists, have publicly offered their recommendations just days after Mr. Biden was declared the president-elect with a victory in Pennsylvania reflects the urgency with which progressives are now approaching the soon-to-be Biden administration.

Also on Wednesday, the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest advocacy organizations for L.G.B.T.Q. people, is releasing a 24-page blueprint for administrative action.

The centerpiece of the group’s request is a call to apply the Supreme Court’s June decision in a case called Bostock vs. Clayton County, Ga., which found that constitutional protections on the basis of sex apply to L.G.B.T.Q. people across the federal government.

The blueprint also includes requests that Mr. Biden appoint the nation’s first openly L.G.B.T.Q. cabinet officials; order the collection of data about L.G.B.T.Q. people in the census; rescind the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people in the military; and end conversion therapy and the prohibition on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, among a litany of other requests.

“Were looking for the administration to make good on their promises,” said Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This blueprint is a step forward from where we were before Trump.”

Before the election, progressives had been optimistic that Mr. Biden would embrace left-leaning policies, citing his willingness to form the joint policy task forces with allies of Mr. Sanders after he dropped out of the presidential race in April. Many also noted Mr. Biden’s leftward shift since the primaries on issues like climate, health care and education.

Yet as the results of the election became clear and it appeared that Democrats would face an uphill battle to take control of the Senate, the party as a whole and progressives in particular have had to adjust to the possible need to lower their expectations for the next two years. Still, the left wing of the party has wasted no time in insisting that Mr. Biden be accountable to the groups that helped deliver him to the White House, including Black voters and young people.

“Democrats have a once-in-a-generation moment to deliver policies at the scale of the crises our generation is facing,” Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement, said in a statement.

She added: “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.”

Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.

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