- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Rep. Ilhan Omar is among the far-left members of Congress demanding that presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden steer clear of nominating a “deficit hawk” to lead the White House budget office.

Mr. Biden has yet to cower to the demands of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, and in the case of Ms. Omar there could be a clear explanation: He easily outperformed her in her political backyard on Nov. 3.

“The biggest top-of-ticket underperformance by any House incumbent in the country? Rep. Ilhan Omar (D),” tweeted Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Mr. Biden outperformed Ms. Omar, the first Somali American elected to Congress and a top target of President Trump and Republicans, by nearly 73,000 votes in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.

The district includes Minneapolis, where George Floyd’s death in police custody became a flash point in the Black Lives Matter movement this summer and fueled liberals’ calls to “defund the police,” which Ms. Omar, but not Mr. Biden, embraced.

“In fact, I’m not aware of anywhere near this severe an underperformance for any other House candidate in the country, let alone an incumbent,” Mr. Wasserman said.

Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump in the congressional district by a 80%-18% margin.

Ms. Omar, a liberal superstar, carried the district over her Republican challenger by a 64%-26% margin.

The disparity between the top to bottom of the ticket underscores concerns raised by more moderate House Democrats that their election losses stemmed from their more radical colleagues.

Despite Mr. Biden’s projected White House win, Republicans retook at least eight House seats and left the Democrats with a shrunken majority.

That is likely helping dull demands for Mr. Biden to fully embrace a far-left policy vision and heed left-wing advice on who should and shouldn’t be considered for jobs in the administration.

Mr. Biden has picked a slate of national security and foreign policy advisers who worked in the Obama administration, and he plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department.

While Ms. Yellen has been widely praised, other nominees have been met with more lukewarm responses from the Democratic Party’s grassroots base, and far-left lawmakers and activists are making it clear they are eager to put their imprint on the administration.

The Hill reported Wednesday that liberals are criticizing Mr. Biden’s decision to tap Bridget C.E. Dooling, a research professor at George Washington University, to help with the agency review team at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

They say they are concerned that the center Ms. Dooling works for receives funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and is seen as have a conservative bent.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ms. Omar, meanwhile, have signed onto a petition circulated by the far-left activist group Justice Democrats warning against Bruce Reed being tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The petition says the prospect of a Reed nomination is “extremely concerning” because he is a “career deficit hawk.”

“Putting someone who will prioritize paying down the deficit ahead of all other concerns in charge is a recipe for cutting our earned benefits and turning the COVID recession into a depression,” the petition reads. “Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency.”

Their beef with Mr. Reed centers on the role he played as executive director of President Obama’s national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform.

Also, known as the Simpson-Bowles commission, the bipartisan group recommended that Congress reduce deficits through a combination of new taxes and spending cuts.

The recommendations scored headlines but ultimately were shelved as both parties continued to spend.

Incoming Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri are also backing the petition, according to Axios.

“Joe Biden must not repeat Obama’s mistake,” the petition reads. “We need our government to spend money now to ensure vaccines are distributed, to keep people in their homes, to prevent small businesses from closing permanently, and to make sure Americans can stay home until the vaccine arrives.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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