"Sign now: No Deficit Hawks in the Biden Administration!" read a petition promoted by the Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-aligned Justice Democrats in November. It was in opposition to Bruce Reed, a longtime aide to President-elect Biden getting a spot in his administration.
Reed, Biden's transition organization announced Tuesday, will be the president-elect's deputy chief of staff, one of the most powerful positions in a presidential administration.
Reed was tapped along with a handful of others to senior posts in the Biden White House on Tuesday. The group included Anne Filipic, an Obama campaign and White House alumna who previously ran a nonprofit promoting enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as the director of management and administration.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 22, 2011: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (C) arrives for a meeting with a bicameral and bipartisan group of legislators with his Chief of Staff Bruce Reed (L) Reed was named as Biden’s deputy chief of staff Tuesday. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
While progressives have scored some victories in getting their allies picked for major slots in the Biden administration, like Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., as interior secretary, there has been a stewing dissatisfaction with the direction of Biden's high-profile appointments. Reed being chosen for such a critical role is likely to increase that.
"Putting someone in the administration 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 Justice Democrats' petition read. "Rejecting Reed will be a major test for the soul of the Biden presidency."
President-elect Joe Biden waves to supporters after speaking at a drive-in rally for Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Atlanta. Biden on Tuesday named Bruce Reed, who is controversial among progressives, to be his deputy chief of staff. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
As a reason for why Reed shouldn't be in the White House, the petition cites his role in the Obama administration's Bowles-Simpson commission, which "proposed… massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare."
"Joe Biden must not repeat Obama’s mistake," it says. "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ran on strong promises to protect and expand Social Security."
The petition was prompted by incoming Squad member, Rep.-elect Cori Bush, D-Mo., on Twitter. Axios reported that Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., along with Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., also in the progressive Squad, signed the petition too.
"If the Biden administration is serious about protecting Medicare and Social Security, they must not appoint one of the biggest champions of cuts to lead their budget agency. Join me, @justicedems, & our progressive coalition in saying no to deficit hawks," Omar wrote on Twitter.
Fox News did not immediately receive responses to requests for comment from the Justice Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez's office and the Biden transition organization.
There are also other elements of Reed's past likely to upset the left. The Intercept reported in January that Reed previously ran a think tank where one author argued for partial privatization of Social Security. The same think tank also published a column promoting the invasion of Iraq, the Intercept reported.
The progressive publication The Young Turks, meanwhile, this month published a story critical of Reed for his alleged ties to Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The Biden transition on Tuesday, however, lauded Reed and the others it named to senior positions.
"These experienced individuals are joining my administration to carry out policies that will put our nation on a path to building back better than ever before," Biden said in a statement. "They are respected leaders whose values and priorities align with my own and who will dutifully execute their roles to serve the American people."
Added Vice President-elect Harris: "Our country is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, a long-overdue reckoning on racial injustice, and a climate crisis. To meet these challenges, we need a team that reflects the very best of our nation. These public servants have the knowledge and experience to help us deliver on our commitment to build our country back better."
Also announced into senior roles Tuesday were Ryan Montoya as the director of scheduling and advance; Gautam Raghavan as the deputy director of the office of presidential personnel, Vinay Reddy as the director of speechwriting and Elizabeth Wilkins as the senior adviser to chief of staff Ron Klain.
Raghavan is the most likely to please progressives of the bunch. He previously was the chief of staff for Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who is the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.