Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said Wednesday that if he were asked to join President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet as Labor secretary, he would accept the role.
“If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it?” Sanders said in an appearance on CNN. “Yes, I would.”
When asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if it is true that he is eyeing the position, Sanders said, “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.”
“Whether that’s in the Senate, whether that’s in the Biden administration, who knows,” Sanders continued. “Well, let’s see how that unfolds.”
Sanders has reportedly begun a push to become Labor secretary, seeking endorsement from top labor leaders. A longtime senior labor leader told the network that Sanders had called union chiefs to request their support and has been met with mixed reactions.
Sanders reached out to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who has thrown support behind Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the role, according to CNN.
Ahead of the election, Sanders expressed a desire to work within the Senate to send ambitious progressive legislation to Biden’s desk, though his outlook may have shifted in light of Democrats’ narrowing path to gain control in the Senate. Democrats would need to win both January run-off elections in Georgia to hold a majority. The Senate would be split 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Politico reports that Biden is expected to choose a more progressive candidate to lead the Labor Department. Sanders is a contender, according to the news site, along with progressive Representative Andy Levin (D., Mich.), California Labor Secretary Julie Su, DNC Chairman and former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez and AFL-CIO Chief Economist Bill Spriggs.