A few days before Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, she said that rival Joe Biden was “so eager to cut deals with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans that he’ll trade good ideas for bad ones.”
More than a year later, following a coronavirus pandemic that transformed now-President Biden’s governing agenda, the senator from Massachusetts is pleasantly surprised.
“He’s meeting the moment,” Warren said in an interview with HuffPost to promote her new book, “Persist.” “The door for making change has opened, just like it opened in the Great Depression, just like it opened in 2008, 2009, when we got Dodd-Frank and the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]. It’s not open all the way. It’s only open a little bit.
“There’s no guarantee we will make big structural change, but the opportunity to do it is right in front of us,” she added, making a reference to her presidential campaign slogan.
Warren was also pleased with Biden’s approach to dealing with the Republican Party, noting he was willing to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan without any Republican support in Congress.
“There are not very many people who … tore up their $1,400 checks because they said, ‘Oh, it had to come through reconciliation without a single vote in Washington, D.C., from the Republicans,’” Warren said. “I think what Joe Biden is recognizing and making clear through his actions: He’s happy to do things bipartisan with the elected officials in Washington, but he is not going to fail to do what this nation needs just because Mitch McConnell folds his arms and says no.”
Warren also dodged on applying some of her traditional critiques of the American political system to Biden’s administration. Mere minutes after denouncing the influence of “dark money” on the political system, she begged off a question about whether an outside group supporting Biden’s agenda, Building Back Together, should reveal its donors.
“I don’t know the details about this,” she said.
Still, Warren says there is room for Biden to be more aggressive. She noted the funding for his plans for universal child care and pre-kindergarten ― about $425 billion in the American Families Plan ― paled in comparison to what she had pushed during the 2020 primary.
“Look, I’m just telling you I’ve done the numbers. It’s going to take about $700 billion to do high-quality available child care universal all across this country,” she said. “But the point is, we’re rowing in the same direction, and that’s what matters here. Am I going to keep pushing for more? You bet I am. I’m going to be pushing for a solution that is as big as the problem.”
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