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Biden says he seriously considered Bernie Sanders for labor secretary, but couldn't risk Senate control

Biden talks economy, introduces nominees
Biden talks economy, introduces nominees 23:48

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced additional key nominees for their economic and jobs team at an event Friday in Wilmington, Delaware. Among them were Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for secretary of labor, a position for which Biden had also considered Senator Bernie Sanders.

The president-elect said he gave "serious consideration" to nominating Sanders for labor secretary, but said they both decided against it after Georgia's runoff election gave Democrats a narrow majority in the Senate. 

"I did give serious consideration on nominating my friend Bernie Sanders to this position. I'm confident he could have done a fantastic job. I can think of no more passionate, devoted ally to working people in this country," Biden said Friday. "But after Tuesday's results in Georgia, giving Democratic control to the United States Senate and a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed — and as a matter of fact Bernie said — we can't put control of the Senate at risk on the outcome of a special election in Vermont."

Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff picked up two Senate seats in Georgia on Tuesday, securing control of the U.S. Senate for their party. If Sanders had been nominated to labor secretary, his Senate seat would be up for grabs.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was ultimately nominated for the role. In accepting his nomination on Friday, Walsh said working class Americans have seen an "erosion of their rights," and promised to "put power back" in their hands.

"This is one of the most important departments to me, I trust Mayor Walsh and I'm honored he accepted," Biden said. The president-elect said he and Sanders will continue to "work together, travel the country together… meeting with working men and women who feel forgotten and left behind in this economy." 

"We agreed that we will work closely on our shared agenda of increasing worker power and to protect the dignity of work for all working people," he said. "I want to thank Bernie for his continued friendship and leadership, I look forward to us working together along with Marty — and he thinks I made a good choice."

In addition to Walsh, Biden and Harris announced the following nominees on Thursday: for Secretary of Commerce, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo; for Small Business Administrator, California official Isabel Guzman; and for Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Biden's former counselor Don Graves. 

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