Democrats lobby Biden on VP choice

Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Hillicon Valley: Democrats demand answers over Russian interference bulletin | Google Cloud wins defense contract for cancer research | Cyberattack disrupts virtual classes MORE (D-Fla.), co-chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, is pushing her home-state colleague, Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDisney to lay off 28,000 employees Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE, for vice president.

Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayWomen of color flex political might Five things we learned from this year's primaries Progressives aim for big night in Massachusetts MORE (D-Mo.) wants presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Florida heat sends a dozen Trump rally attendees to hospital Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report MORE to select Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who Clay believes would help Democrats win the all-important swing state — and the White House.

Rep. Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralLawmakers call for small business aid at all levels of government The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy On the Money: Administration to ban TikTok, WeChat | House moves toward bill to avoid government shutdown | Coronavirus relief bills boosted GDP, CBO says MORE (D-N.Y.), a Hispanic Caucus member, said it’s critical that Democrats have a strong woman of color on the ticket, someone like Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoCortez Masto's public lands giveaway greenwash Democratic Senate campaign arm outraises GOP counterpart in September Hillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars MORE (D-Nev.), Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarProgressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS 'human rights abuses' Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Trump's illness sparks new urgency for COVID-19 deal MORE (D-Texas) or Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report Maya Rudolph says she loves playing Kamala Harris on SNL: 'Feels like being on the side of the good guys' MORE (D-Calif.).


Once bitterly divided over the crowded, raucous 2020 presidential primary, progressives and centrists, insurgents and establishment Democrats are now unified behind Biden, and they’re cheering his pledge to pick a woman as his running mate this summer.

They just can’t agree on who that woman should be.

While Democratic polls show two former presidential hopefuls — Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren has expressed interest in being Biden's Treasury secretary: report The Democrats' 50 state strategy never reached rural America What a Biden administration should look like MORE (D-Mass.) and Harris — lead the pack to be Biden’s pick, opinions are all over the map on Capitol Hill, especially in the most diverse House Democratic Caucus in history.

Frankel is among a group of lawmakers pushing for Demings, who is African American and became the first female police chief in Orlando in 2007.

She’s honed her foreign-policy chops while serving on the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, and stepped out on the national stage in January after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Pelosi challenger calls delay on COVID-19 relief bill the 'privilege of politics' MORE (D-Calif.) tapped her as one of seven House prosecutors in President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE’s impeachment trial.


“We knew she was ready for prime time when we saw her as an impeachment manager, so she checks off a lot of boxes,” Frankel said, “and for me as a Floridian, it would be great to have somebody from Florida.”

Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsIf we want change, young people have to do more than protest Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Chamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch MORE (D-Minn.) is advocating for his own home-state pick, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharTrump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members Start focusing on veterans' health before they enlist Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE. He says the former presidential candidate would be a “powerful” VP pick from America’s heartland.

Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Democrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE, the senior senator from Illinois, has been touting Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Ocasio-Cortez discusses family planning, possibly freezing her eggs Amy Coney Barrett's extreme views put women's rights in jeopardy MORE, the state’s junior senator. The decorated, double-amputee Iraq War veteran is expected to interview with Biden’s team in the coming days, Durbin said.

It’s unclear how much sway any of these lawmakers have with Biden, who is expected to make his decision in July. Some like Durbin served in the Senate with the former Foreign Relations Committee chairman for years. Others, including Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondDemocrats accuse Kushner of 'casual racism' over comments about Black Americans The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump combative, Biden earnest during distanced TV duel Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins MORE (D-La.), national co-chairman of Biden’s 2020 campaign, are part of the Biden inner circle and speak to him regularly. But Richmond, a former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chairman who secured countless endorsements for Biden, said the two men have not discussed the subject.

“The truth is we haven’t talked about it at all. I’m letting the committee do their interviews and their work,” Richmond told The Hill in a brief interview.


That committee would be Biden’s vice presidential vetting committee, which includes former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Biden’s home-state congresswoman, Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), another Black Caucus member. Biden has said the panel is looking at “more than a dozen” potential running mates, including Whitmer, Demings, Duckworth and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

“I’ve had a conversation with some folks. … It was just an opening conversation,” Whitmer said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

For many Hill Democrats, ousting Trump and taking back the White House is the only thing that matters this November. The vice presidential pick, they argue, can help energize the base and propel the party to victory. With that in mind, some lawmakers say Biden — who won the nomination by running in the party’s moderate lane — needs to balance the ticket with a popular progressive like Warren.

“We’ve got to win the election, and there are tens of millions of progressives who are with Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Oct. 29: Where Trump and Biden will be campaigning MORE and Elizabeth Warren, and we’ve got to make sure those people turn out,” Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates MORE (D-Md.), a leading progressive who backed Warren in the primary, told The Hill.

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Biden says he opposes Supreme Court term limits Dozens of legal experts throw weight behind Supreme Court term limit bill MORE (D-Calif.), who served as Sanders’s national campaign co-chairman, has also been trying to sell Biden World on the idea of a Biden-Warren ticket. Warren has made economic inequality the centerpiece of her presidential campaign and political career; her voice and ideas would be critical as a future Biden administration responds to the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, Khanna said.

“I think it’s an obvious choice that Sen. Warren would be that partner,” Khanna told reporters recently. “I don’t have the standing to tell them what to do, but I’ve made the case for why I think this would be a strong choice.”

But asked about Warren, Clay, an establishment Democratic lawmaker, replied, “Let’s not get caught up in fantasies. Let’s focus on winning.”

Clay, a CBC member, called Harris of California “a brilliant African American female who has had success running statewide in the most populous state in the country,” but he also is not insisting that Biden choose a black running mate.

“I would be in favor of someone like Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, where we have to win Michigan,” Clay told The Hill. “It don’t have to be a black woman. Strategically, we want to win battleground states, so let’s be practical about this.”

Other senior CBC members agree with that sentiment. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement is credited with propelling Biden to victory in the South Carolina primary and to the Democratic nomination, said it’s “not a must” for Biden to select a black woman.


“I would love it, but I’ve said the criteria all along: It has to be somebody that he meshes with, it has to be somebody he trusts, it has to be somebody who can be president on Day One,” said Richmond, Biden’s national campaign co-chair.

Rep. Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownOvernight Defense: Trump, Biden set to meet in final debate | Explicit Fort Bragg tweets were sent by account administrator | China threatens retaliation over Taiwan arms sale Trump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Md.), another CBC member who served as lieutenant governor of his state, said Biden’s commitment to appoint an African American woman to the Supreme Court is “quite frankly” a “more important appointment because it’s for a lifetime.”

However, not all Democrats are ready to give Biden a free pass. Espaillat, the first Dominican American member of Congress, said balancing the ticket with a diverse pick would help turn out minority voters in the fall.

“I think it should be a Latino or African American woman,” said Espaillat, rattling off the names of Harris, Cortez Masto, Escobar and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamTravel industry calls on Trump administration to prevent the need for quarantines by creating a testing plan Utah increases coronavirus restrictions amid rising cases New Mexico to renew coronavirus restrictions, warning of more if cases continue to rise MORE, his former House colleague.

“Elizabeth Warren, she would be great too,” he said, “but I think a woman of color would be a slam dunk.”