Ilhan Omar mobilizing progressives to push Biden further left

Ilhan Omar mobilizing progressives to push Biden further left

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said in an interview that Democrats will have “a cohort of progressives” who will try to influence 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden should he be elected.

Progressive Democrats who endorsed former 2020 Democratic nominee Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. have been quiet in the criticism of Biden ahead of the next election but have suggested wanting to push the candidate, who is campaigning largely on moderate policy ideas, farther to the left. 

“We will have a cohort of progressives that are very clear about their objectives for wanting the implementation of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal and raising the minimum wage and not allowing for fracking,” Omar said Monday in an interview with Axios.

Omar’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about who the “cohort” will include.

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She added that “there has been a level of responsiveness … to the policies that [progressives] are advocating for that [progressives] know will have not just a future in [Biden’s] administration, but a future in the upcoming administrations after his.” Responsiveness “is a signal” for progressives “to push and to mobilize our base trying to accomplish these policy objectives,” she said.

“As progressives, we have a clear understanding of what the inside and outside game is,” the congresswoman continued.

She would also be open to Biden’s decision to appoint any Republicans to his cabinet but fears danger if the administration pushes “policies that are contrary to what the Democratic platform is,” according to Axios.

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Omar and three other congresswomen, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, refer to themselves as “The Squad” and represent a shift among younger Democrats in Congress toward more progressive ideologies. Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib endorsed Sanders’ campaign earlier this year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The four legislators support the objectives Omar listed as priorities for the “cohort of progressives” she mentioned in the interview, including the Green New Deal, a ban on fracking and a $ 15 minimum wage. All four have also expressed support for packing the Supreme Court after Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Monday confirmation.

Biden has not expressed explicit support for the Green New Deal or Medicare for All but has similar climate and health care plans; his website calls the Green New Deal a “crucial framework,” and he has said he plans on expanding ObamaCare to make it “BidenCare.” His stance on fracking and the oil industry has flip-flopped over the course of his campaign. 

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” she told Just the News in a Sept. 15 interview. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

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Immigration is a key issue for Omar, the country’s first Somali woman to serve in Congress, in her Minneapolis district — home to one of the largest populations of Somali refugees in the country. Biden’s immigration plan includes increasing the number of U.S. annual refugee admissions to 125,000.

Ocasio-Cortez added that she thinks “it’s important to acknowledge” that she and Biden have, “in some cases, very large disagreements,” but that it does not mean she and other Democrats are trying “to undermine the party or undermine each other.”

“It means that we’re trying to do what’s best for people in the country,” she told Just the News.

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