- White House chief of staff Ron Klain met privately with AOC and other progressives this week.
- According to a scoop by Axios, this meeting touched on the filibuster and minimum wage.
- This meeting signals the Biden administration’s willingness to work with more progressive Democrats.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain held private meetings with progressive lawmakers including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Jamaal Bowman, and Andy Levin this week, which many believe signals the Biden administration’s willingness to have a good working relationship with more outspoken Democrats.
According to a scoop by Axios, this closed-door, in-person meeting touched on the filibuster and minimum wage.
Axios reported that Klain did not make promises to oppose or abolish the current filibuster rules. However, he did re-confirm Biden’s commitment to upping the hourly minimum wage to $15.
These private meetings establish a basis for dialogue with progressive Democrats, even when the strategies on how best to approach issues and push matters forward may differ.
The meetings follow a Politico report last week that said Klain had met with leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including its chair, Pramila Jayapal.
Axios noted that the formation of a backchannel between the Biden White House and progressive Democrats could be helpful to the president, particularly ahead of his request to Congress to fork out $3 trillion for healthcare and infrastructure next week.
Biden has also been seen in recent weeks to lean toward a more progressive position on the Senate filibuster, saying on Thursday that he might be “open to doing more” besides incremental reforms.
“If there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about,” Biden said on Thursday.
The filibuster has been a huge obstacle for Senate Democrats who want to pass gun bills through the Senate. Two gun bills have already made it through the House, but they are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.
However, Democrats have been discussing the removal of the filibuster to make it possible to pass legislation at a simple 51-vote majority. Much opposition stands in the way, particularly as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has cautioned that the Senate would enter “a sort of nuclear winter” if Democrats were to scrap the filibuster.