More than 40 progressive organizations said they turned over a list of 400 suggested hires to the Biden transition team on Friday afternoon, calling it a roadmap for filling "the most powerful positions nobody's ever heard of" -- an effort that, if executed, they believe could help achieve parts of liberal dreams like the Green New Deal without requiring Republican approval.
"This is a roadmap for how Biden can get a bold agenda done, even with Republican obstruction in the Senate," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the progressive group PCCC and one of the creators of the list. "And the way you do that is through the right personnel in place."
"We're also saying, obviously, Biden doesn't need corporate lobbyists in his administration," she added, echoing a growing call from progressives.
The effort underscores the pressure now on Biden's transition team and future administration from progressive Democrats who fell into line to help him defeat Donald Trump, hoping he'll follow through on campaign pledges like a public health care option, a $2 trillion investment in clean energy jobs and cancelling student loan debt.
Gathering the names took upwards of a year. It's not made up of suggested Cabinet secretaries, but instead recommendations for areas like the Office of Management and Budget, the Export Import Bank and the IRS -- offices where progressive policies can be pursued without needing bipartisan support.
Taylor used two little-known but powerful government banks -- the International Development Finance Corporation and the Export Import Bank -- as an example of what could be used to help secure parts of the Green New Deal.
"You can imagine that with the right leadership, those can be turned into vehicles for facilitating investment in U.S. green jobs and green technology, and supporting the export of U.S. green tech globally," she explained. "And so it becomes a piece, and a pretty significant piece, of a way in which the Green New Deal could be enacted, without requiring any act of Congress."
"And so," Taylor added, "it's just really looking at areas like that, where it's like, you can do so much with what is already in place and sort of preexisting in the executive branch."
Influential progressive groups like MoveOn, Color of Change, Sunrise Movement and others were part of the effort.
"We're operating on two assumptions," Taylor said. "One is that Trump has gutted the executive branch, and it's sort of an all-hands-on-deck moment to identify great, incredible personnel who could hit the ground running from day one. And the other is, we're really trying to make it as easy as possible for the transition team to appoint good people."
She echoed Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's motto that "personnel is policy." PCCC supported Warren's presidential run and has worked with her since her 2012 Senate run.
Taylor continued: "It's about having the personnel who are willing to use their authority to facilitate agency rule-making and roll back Trump's rules. It's about having someone at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office who's committed to the fight against monopoly power. It's about having someone at the IRS who's committed to holding accountable high income folks who are not filing their taxes."