18 Nov Senator Warren urges Biden: Raise minimum wage, cancel student debt, invest in child care.
Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday urged the incoming Biden administration to use all the “tools in their toolbox” to push through Democrats’ priorities — even as the party gave up seats in the House and remains at risk of being unable to take the Senate.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “won on the most progressive agenda that a general election candidate has ever run on in the United States of America,” the senator told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. She cited some down-ballot victories, calling out Florida’s vote to raise the minimum wage and Arizona’s vote to raise taxes on higher incomes to fund education.
The election, she said, “is a mandate to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to do the things we can do.” She pressed for the cancellation of student loan debt, calling it the “single biggest stimulus we could add to the economy.” Ms. Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, also urged the incoming administration to invest in child care — “because we can do it” — and to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for employees of government contractors.
She said the pledge that Mr. Biden made to not raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 a year “makes sense.”
To achieve the Democrats’ aims, Senator Warren urged Mr. Biden to use “all of the tools — and I mean all of the tools of their administration,” which she noted included both executive orders and agency actions.
Ms. Warren, who has been floated as a potential Treasury secretary, declined to comment on whether she wants a role in the administration. However, she said she believed that “personnel is policy.”
“I think it is really important that we have people in this administration who understand the magnitude of the health crisis that we face, who understand the magnitude of the economic crisis — that is right behind that health crisis. And who have a real ambition for making the federal government work for people making it meet the moment.”
Ms. Warren indicated there might be room for Wall Street in the administration — even as a debate rages over what the limits should be on finance’s role in Democratic governance for the next four years.
“Remember, I hired people whose background was on Wall Street when I set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” she said. “The question is: What does your overall team look like? It is important to have a team that brings a lot of different perspectives.”
She also expressed concern over the transition process, as President Trump refuses to concede the election and tries to challenge the results in court.
“The Republicans who are not calling him out — that is dangerous,” she said. “This is not a game — people around the world, people who would do us harm, are watching what’s happening.”
Programming Note: Video of the session with Senator Warren will be posted here soon.