Congresswoman Karen Bass, president of the Black Caucus of Congress, is being examined as a candidate to be Joe Biden’s candidate, according to CBS News according to sources familiar with the process.
The five-term congresswoman represents Los Angeles and endorsed Biden for president in mid-March.
It is not immediately clear what Bass’s position is in the background investigation process, but his name has been brought up for consideration by powerful Democrats like Whip James Clyburn. “Karen Bass would be a great asset … she is a great person on my mind, I work with her every day,” Clyburn told CNN in June when asked about Biden’s background investigation process.
Clyburn specifically cited her previous leadership experience as a speaker for the California Assembly, the first African-American woman to lead the chamber, in proper preparation for the White House.
His current leadership of the Black Caucus in Congress has taken on even greater importance, as he recently revealed the House Democrats’ list of police reforms in the wake ofand nationwide protests for racial equality.
“I am inclined to expand as much as possible because we have a moment,” Bass said of the police reform proposal in an interview with CBS News Commander Garrett on the podcast “The Takeout.”
The background investigation occurs when Biden increases pressure to choose a woman of color to join him on the ticket.
In a recent interview with “CBS Evening News” presenter Norah O’Donnell, after meeting with Floyd’s family in Texas, Biden insisted that recent racial tensions and attention to civil rights have not dramatically altered their criteria for choosing a formula partner.
This new investigation also comes after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar withdrew her name from the vice presidency, saying she directly implored Biden to choose a woman of color.
From his perspective, Bass told Garrett that he “would certainly like to see” a woman of color chosen as Biden’s running mate, but added that it was “not a must.”
Neither Bass’s Congressional office nor Biden’s campaign immediately responded to a request for comment.
Before politics, Bass’s career was in medical care as a medical assistant, a remarkable experience as the country continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the seriousness of the pandemic settled in late March, Bass joined Biden for a live event on the issues facing medical workers on the front line of the pandemic.
“I worked at the trauma center at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, I remember working without protection and I remember the fear I had every day,” Bass said on the live broadcast of his work in Los Angeles. “I know your commitment to saving lives, even if it means putting your own life at risk. The nation thanks you for your service.”
In 2010, the congresswoman was honored with the Profile in Courage Award for her bipartisan work in reaching a legislative agreement to address the 2009 financial crisis in California. Bass and her fellow leaders “put aside party loyalties and ideological differences and devised a solution to rescue California from the brink of financial ruin,” Caroline Kennedy said in handing over the award.
Bass’s scrutiny comes when Biden’s team of fellow chief hunters is entrenched in an intense candidate investigation, a process that includes extensive document review, public and private records, and lengthy written questionnaires and interviews.
There are several other women of color under consideration to join the White House ticket. CBS News recently reported that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Representative Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are now being considered more seriously for the role than weeks before. An announcement has been anticipated around August 1.
One of the women helping Biden make her decision is Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. She has been honest about how race will influence her deliberation.
“If we want to transform this country, now is the time to recognize … the leadership of black women,” Blunt Rochester said in a recent live broadcast. “We will not be taken for granted.”