Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Bruce Reed

"Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency," said progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats. (Image: Justice Democrats)

'Major Test' for Soul of Biden Presidency: AOC, Ilhan Omar Back Effort to Keep Deficit Hawk Bruce Reed Out of White House

"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."

Jake Johnson

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday became the first sitting members of Congress to join a new pressure campaign demanding that President-elect Joe Biden keep Bruce Reed—an unapologetic architect of Bill Clinton's disastrous "welfare reform" and notorious austerity proponent—out of the White House.

The "No Deficit Hawks" petition, launched by advocacy group Justice Democrats and backed by other progressive organizations, comes as Reed is reportedly under consideration to lead Biden's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a key agency that will be tasked with crafting the incoming administration's budgetary agenda amid a devastating economic crisis.

"Bruce Reed helped develop the '94 Crime Bill, pushed broken windows policing and cuts to Social Security and Medicaid. We want an administration that prioritizes programs that protect all of us."
—Rep.-elect Cori Bush

"Putting someone who will prioritize paying down the deficit ahead of all other concerns in charge is a recipe for cutting our earned benefits and turning the Covid recession into a depression," the petition states. "Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency."

A long-time Democratic operative who has advised and worked for Biden for years, Reed helped craft the 1996 welfare reform law that produced a massive surge in extreme poverty, inflicting severe damage on vulnerable children. Reed, who in 2016 characterized the law as an overall "success," has also been credited with authoring Clinton's infamous vow to "end welfare as we know it."

In the wake of The American Prospect's report last week that Reed is under consideration to head OMB, progressives spotlighted Reed's role as executive director of the Bowles-Simpson Commission, an Obama administration initiative that recommended slashing Social Security benefits.

Social Security Works, one of the backers of the new petition, said it is imperative to "keep Reed and his toxic austerity politics out of the Biden administration."

Omar echoed that message in a tweet on Tuesday, declaring: "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."

Other signatories of the new petition include the Working Families Party and Data for Progress as well as Reps.-elect Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), incoming progressive members who have also spoken out against the Biden team's reported consideration of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a White House role.

"Bruce Reed helped develop the '94 Crime Bill, pushed broken windows policing and cuts to Social Security and Medicaid," Bush tweeted Tuesday. "We want an administration that prioritizes programs that protect all of us. Mr. Reed is not someone our communities trust."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·


Cisneros Slams Cuellar for Being Only House Democrat to Vote Against Abortion Rights

"Once again Henry Cuellar refused to stand up for South Texans' reproductive freedom."

Jake Johnson ·


Covid-19 Cases, Deaths Rising Among Children Across US

"Is there an acceptable pediatric body count?" asked a top pediatrician in New Orleans this week. "I think not."

Julia Conley ·


Senate Filibuster Final Obstacle After House Dems Pass 'Historic' Abortion Rights Bill

"This is a moment of crisis," said one activist. "We cannot allow the filibuster, or anything else, to stand in the way of safeguarding our fundamental freedoms."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo