WASHINGTON • Mr Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been speaking with former rival Elizabeth Warren on public health and economic relief ideas as he crafts more ambitious proposals aimed at helping Americans through the coronavirus crisis.
Although Senator Warren, a prominent voice on the party’s left, had criticised the former vice-president’s approach on the campaign trail before dropping out and endorsing him, Mr Biden’s advisers said the two see eye-to-eye on a number of issues.
In recent weeks, for example, Mr Biden has endorsed ideas backed by Mrs Warren like cancelling some student debt to help financially strapped Americans and echoed her calls for “structural change” in an economy ravaged by the pandemic.
Mr Biden is poised to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov 3 election.
Mrs Warren is thought to be on Mr Biden’s short list of running mates, along with Senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, among others. A decision is not expected for weeks.
Mrs Warren and Mr Biden talk nearly weekly, people familiar with their discussions say. The focus has been on public health and economic relief policy around a pandemic that has cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs.
“Like Senator Warren, Joe Biden has been a champion for working families over corporations his entire career,” his spokesman TJ Ducklo said, accusing Mr Trump of pursuing policies favouring corporations and political allies over working Americans.
Mr Ducklo added that Mr Biden is working with Mrs Warren and “a number of experienced voices” to create plans to resolve the crisis and get help to those Americans who need it most.
Mr Biden has consulted other former rivals for the Democratic nomination, including Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, while his team also seeks the support of policy groups on the left.
During the Democratic race, Mrs Warren chided Mr Biden for holding high-dollar fundraisers and not embracing sufficiently sweeping economic change. But people close to Mr Biden said he and Mrs Warren are more aligned ideologically than their public differences might suggest, particularly in their belief that the US middle class has been eviscerated – even before the pandemic.
Mr Biden’s campaign on Sunday released a video showing him and Mrs Warren calling small-dollar donors together to thank them for their support. At one point, Mr Biden joked that he never had as many contributors to thank until Mrs Warren’s endorsement, a reference to her grassroots fundraising prowess. “I’m counting on her a great deal – not just for her endorsement but for her ideas and her leadership,” he added.
Mr Biden has already begun embracing some of Mrs Warren positions. He also joined Mrs Warren and Ms Harris in their calls for federal health officials to release more data on racial disparities in the pandemic’s impact on the United States population.
Mr Biden and Mrs Warren this month co-authored an opinion piece in McClatchy newspapers demanding more oversight over trillions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief aid that they said included “giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations”.