Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will likely be rewarded for his allegiance if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the November election, and he has his sights set on a healthcare committee chairmanship, he told a rally over the weekend.
Speaking to a crowd of Democrats, Sanders, who is the primary champion of “Medicare-for-All” style health care, told the crowd that if the Democrats take back the Senate, he’ll be the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Health.
“If the Democrats gain control of the Senate, you’re looking at the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health,” he said to cheers.
Sanders is already a ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) which, according to his page on the Senate’s website, “generally considers matters relating to these issues. Its jurisdiction extends beyond these issues to include several more specific areas, as defined by Senate rules.” He also serves as the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee that handles health and retirement.
Unfortunately for Sanders, Republican control of the Senate means his power in the area of healthcare is limited. But with Democrats anticipating a blue wave in November, that could change quickly, and Biden is likely to reward the progressive, who came in a distant second in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, a prime position as well as status as a senior administration advisor for his role in bringing progressives on board with Biden’s more “moderate” campaign.
Sanders is also serving as a primary surrogate for the reclusive Democratic nominee, making at least two appearances Monday in Michigan, a key swing state for the Biden campaign.
Sanders and other progressives are likely looking to win key roles in a Biden administration if there is to be one. As The Daily Wire reported last month, progressive activists, largely shut out by the Obama White House, have been training the last four years to provide a foundational transition team for the incoming Biden administration, and there’s no doubt health care is foremost on their agenda.
Progressive members of Congress, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have publicly expressed hope that a “President Biden” would be malleable on key issues like health care and climate change — two arenas where progressives are pushing for major government expansion.
Sanders himself has been reportedly pressing the Biden team to be more public about the candidate’s support for progressive issues.
“Senator Sanders is confident that Joe Biden is in a very strong position to win this election, but nevertheless feels there are areas the campaign can continue to improve upon,” one former campaign official told media, according to Fox News. “He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good-paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage.”
Author: Emily Zanotti