Progressive groups call on Biden to remove Summers as economic adviser

Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement are calling on former Vice President Joe Biden to remove Larry Summers from his panel of economic advisers. 

The move marks the first big demand the progressive groups have made of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee since Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dropped out of the race. The two groups were part of slate of organizations who sent Biden a list of demands they want to see him adopt ahead of the general election. 

The organizations claim that Summers is unfit to carry out progressive issues. 

“Joe Biden has a major trust gap that he must overcome with progressives and voters under 45 who voted overwhelmingly against him in the primary and who he’ll need to defeat Trump,” the organizations wrote.

”Larry Summers’ legacy is advocating for policies that contributed to the skyrocketing inequality and climate crisis we’re living with today. We hope Biden publicly rejects Summers’ role as an economic advisor to better earn the trust of our generation,” they added.

Summers is a former Treasury secretary under President Clinton who was also a part of the Obama administration with Biden. President Obama appointed Summers as director of the National Economic Council, where he served from 2009 through 2010 and worked on the economic stimulus measure after the financial crisis. 

The economist has frequently come under criticism from liberals and liberal groups during his career, including when he served in the Obama administration. He’s a former president of Harvard University, and has also worked with hedge funds during his career.

The organizations pushing Biden to drop Summers argued that he advocated for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and advised against a proposal from the administration to create green banks. 

The Biden campaign has repeatedly said they would be the most progressive administration in decades, which organization like Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement have said is a low bar for them.

“Joe Biden’s will be the most progressive agenda of any president in generations, and he looks forward to his continuing engagement with progressive leaders to build on his existing policies and further the bold goals driving his campaign,” a Biden adviser told Reuters.

The Biden campaign described Summers as part of a “large and well-rounded informal network of experts” who do not hold formal positions within the campaign. 

–Updated at 10:58 a.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Biden campaign Joe Biden Justice Democrats Larry Summers Sunrise Movement

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