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Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

Driving the news: Some progressives have privately said the order of Biden's announcements was important to send an early signal the incoming administration took them seriously. So far, they’re suspicious of some of the people being named or rumored for jobs — but happy with John Kerry, Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas and Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Omar (D-Minn.) and fellow Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are the first sitting members of Congress to sign the petition, which objects to Reed potentially serving as head of the Office of Management and Budget. It was launched by Justice Democrats.

  • "Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency," it says, demanding that OMB "be staffed with people who will prioritize working people, not Wall Street deficit scaremongers."
  • Reed led the Bowles-Simpson Commission under Barack Obama, which progressives opposed because it made cuts to Social Security and Medicare. "Biden must not repeat Obama’s mistake," the petition says.
  • The Biden transition team didn't respond to a request for comment by publication time.

What they're saying: Omar told Axios she's "proud to join Justice Democrats and our progressive coalition in saying no to deficit hawks.”

  • "If the Biden administration is serious about protecting Medicare and Social Security, they must not appoint one of the biggest champions of cuts to lead their budget agency," she said in her statement.

The backdrop: Incoming Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush — who are also backing the petition — attended a protest last week outside the Democratic National Committee urging Biden to keep his promise to pass a $2 trillion climate policy.

  • Separately, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee employed the help of actor Mark Ruffalo today to blast an e-mail to their nearly 1 million members. It urged Biden to pick Rep. Deb Haaland — a progressive elected in the 2018 midterms — for secretary of the Interior.
  • The group also celebrated Kerry and Yellen's inclusion in Monday's administration announcements, saying: "This shows that the hard work of progressives has paid off, and there's more to come."

Between the lines: Progressive groups and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have been in communication with staff on the Biden-Harris transition team, discussing personnel and policy, according to people involved in those discussions.

  • Ocasio-Cortez was the co-chair of the Biden-Sanders Task Force on climate change leading up to the Democratic National Convention last summer.

Progressives scored a win this week when the transition team said it will name a "high-level White House Climate Policy Coordinator" next month.

  • Sunrise Movement, the progressive climate change group, Justice Democrats, as well as incumbent and incoming members of the Squad have been pushing for Biden-Harris administration to create a climate mobilization office.
  • They're happy with Kerry's announcement as a special presidential envoy for climate change, but want a domestic equivalent, like John Podesta or Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee.

The bottom line: While left-wing Democrats have had a seat at the table, they don’t want Biden-Harris administration to morph into a third Obama term.

Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Yellen says Biden is "fully supportive" of carbon pricing

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Janet Yellen, President Biden's nominee to run the Treasury Department, has made clear to senators that her boss supports carbon pricing, but how that backing translates to policy is unknown.

Driving the news: "I am fully supportive of effective carbon pricing and I know that the President is as well," Yellen said in written answers to Senate Finance Committee members' questions published Thursday.

19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.