The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus despatched the letter to Biden’s transition staff sounding the alarm after fearing that none of the remaining Cabinet-level positions can be full of an Asian American or Pacific Islander nominee. It was signed by more than 100 members of Congress, together with non-caucus members.
An analogous letter despatched the earlier week had been co-signed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.
“The need for diversity at the highest levels is not for the sake of optics. It’s about ensuring all experiences are reflected in our decision making,” the most recent letter said. “And . . . when we have diverse leaders in positions of power, it leads to more inclusive policies that better serve the entirety of our country.”
The letter adopted conversations the transition had with Julie Su, California’s labor chief, a couple of place with the administration within the Labor Department, together with presumably deputy secretary of labor, in accordance to three individuals conversant in the discussions who spoke on the situation of anonymity to focus on non-public conversations.
A Su spokeswoman declined a request for remark Wednesday, and a spokesman for the Biden transition staff wouldn’t focus on her. The transition staff has had conversations with a number of candidates that may embody the chance of a quantity of positions throughout the departments for which they’re being thought-about, in accordance to a supply shut to the transition who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of that particular person was not approved to communicate on the matter.
“President-elect Biden is working to build an administration that looks like America, starting with the first woman of South Asian descent and first Black woman to be Vice President-elect, as well as a historic slate of diverse nominees and appointees, to date. He will continue to deliver upon this vision over the coming weeks as he shapes the most diverse Cabinet in history,” transition spokesman Jamal Brown mentioned in a press release.
While most of his Cabinet nominees have been chosen, Biden has but to announce his picks for labor secretary, commerce secretary and legal professional basic, and transition officers mentioned Wednesday they didn’t count on further Cabinet bulletins till after the brand new yr.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, reportedly one of the main contenders for labor secretary, advised reporters Wednesday that he had “not been talking to anyone in the Biden Administration” however sidestepped the query of whether or not he would settle for if provided the place, according to the Boston Globe.
When requested concerning the pressure to identify an AAPI secretary, Biden transition officers have repeatedly pointed not solely to Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, whose mom was from India, but in addition to the choice of Katherine Tai as U.S. commerce consultant and Neera Tanden because the nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, each Cabinet-level roles. Vivek H. Murthy, whose dad and mom, like Harris’s and Tanden’s, had been from India, has been named Biden’s surgeon general-designate, although the function shouldn’t be a Cabinet-level one.
Lorna Ho Randlett, who, alongside together with her husband, is a Biden bundler who heads an AAPI public coverage suppose tank known as Leaders Forum, mentioned her group despatched a letter to the transition staff on Nov. 24 in help of Biden’s selections, although only a few Cabinet alternatives had been made on the time. The letter was additionally signed by “other prominent members of the national AAPI community, especially those who were among the earliest supporters of the Biden campaign,” she mentioned.
Randlett burdened that they’ve been encouraging the transition staff to select as many extremely certified AAPI candidates as attainable but in addition argued that Biden has already assembled a historic Cabinet.
“I am not at all saying that those three by any stretch of the imagination are somehow to be in a narrative about what is enough and what is not enough,” Randlett advised The Washington Post, referring to Harris, Tai and Tanden. “What I think is the narrative is what is best for America. And we need to trust the leader that the people elected and the groundbreaking first-ever choices he has made.”
Other AAPI teams and lawmakers have identified that different constituency teams — Black, Hispanic, Native American, LGBT — are all represented in Biden’s 15 secretary-level Cabinet positions, however AAPIs aren’t, a departure from the previous 4 administrations, regardless of social gathering.
“It’s an important precedent that we have to maintain,” mentioned Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.).
Further, they are saying that whereas Harris is first within the line of succession, the opposite roles rank decrease than Cabinet secretaries and oversee departments with far smaller budgets. For instance, the funds for the Department of Health and Human Services is about $87 billion; for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, it’s $69 million.
“Though we’re proud of Kamala D. Harris being both Black and AAPI, it’s abundantly clear that [Black civil rights groups and lawmakers] were not told that they should be satisfied with her and not go for any Cabinet secretary position,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, advised The Post. “During the campaign, Biden said he would have the most diverse cabinet ever. The truth is, at this point, that it’s the most diverse administration ever, except for AAPIs, and we are being talked down to by the Biden transition team that we should be satisfied being in a secondary place and that is not acceptable.”
Asian American and Pacific Islander teams aren’t alone in pressuring Biden to diversify the very best ranges of his Cabinet. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and different teams have been urging him to identify a Latina to his Cabinet, and many civil rights leaders have mentioned they would like to see a Black particular person named legal professional basic.
In current weeks, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus had mounted an more and more public marketing campaign to help Su’s candidacy, as she was seen because the final sensible AAPI candidate for a secretary-level place. Caucus members shared their considerations with Harris in a Dec. 17 digital name; she responded that she understood their considerations about not having an AAPI member on the secretary degree and promised to share it with the transition staff.
In the letter despatched on Tuesday, CAPAC members mentioned they had been requesting an emergency assembly with Biden earlier than he makes one other Cabinet announcement. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) mentioned she was uncertain why their requests had been being ignored.
“We can assume that it’s because they don’t respect the AAPI community, they don’t think we have political power, we’re not making enough of a public stink,” she mentioned. “I mean, there are all kinds of assumptions that we could draw. We’ve been trying not to draw those assumptions, but it gets harder and harder, as we see our requests be ignored.”