Rep Karen Bass makes Biden vice presidential list

Representative Karen Bass is being investigated to be former VP Joe Biden’s running mate, according to two people familiar with the process.

Bass, 66, who has represented Los Angeles in the House for five terms, joins a list of prominent women of color who are in the mix to support Biden on the Democratic ticket. She would be the second Californian in the mix, joining Senator Kamala Harris, who is widely viewed as a favorite.

Biden has said he hopes to decide on a running mate in early August. He has vowed to choose a woman and a broad swath of Democrats is urging him to choose a woman of color.

One of the people who confirmed that Bass was being examined said that he had earned the goodwill in Biden’s camp by actively supporting him early in the campaign when the “ship was on the list.”

Bass was attractive, this person said, also because he was not as obviously ambitious for the presidency as some of the other contenders, such as Harris, a former Biden rival for the 2020 nomination. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss The confidential process quoted Biden as saying he had made the decision: “I’m looking for someone who can do the job, not someone who wants the other job.”

Bass does not have as high a national profile as some of the other women under consideration. But she is highly respected among Democrats in California as a former speaker of the State Assembly and on Capitol Hill as president of the Black Caucus of Congress.

His legislative prominence has grown in recent weeks as he has taken the reins, at the request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in a bill to establish national standards for police surveillance following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Among other provisions, the bill would prohibit bottlenecks and facilitate the filing of civil suits against officers accused of misconduct in court.

Biden’s campaign interest in Bass is recent. Two weeks ago, a Bass spokesperson told The Times that the congresswoman “is not aware that she is in the mix” regarding the vice presidential investigation. Her office declined to comment Tuesday.

Bass’s investigation was first reported by CBS News.

When asked about the reports by MSNBC on Tuesday, Bass referred to Biden’s camp.

“Out of respect for the campaign, if there are any questions about it, I think they should go there,” he said. “My only focus is on the next 48 hours: one, what happens in the Senate, and two, getting the bill transferred to [the] House Senate. “

Biden’s campaign declined to comment.

The Biden committee that is investigating potential vice president candidates has already been in contact with several women in the highly secretive process.

Among those considered, in addition to Harris, are Representative Val Demings of Florida, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, all of whom are African American; New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is Latina; and Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is an Asian American.

Biden is also considering some white women, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. But Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently withdrew her name from consideration (her prospects were fading) and said she believed Biden should choose a woman of color as his running mate.

Although he is a progressive Democrat, Bass has close relationships with Republicans, including Bakersfield Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Bass’s name has been put forward for the vice presidency by prominent Democrats, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The former mayor, who has known Bass since the 1970s, said Tuesday that his level of experience “matches anyone.”

“Biden’s team will make this decision based on skill set, experience, and her ability to put herself in the president’s place if necessary, and I think she certainly fits that bill,” Villaraigosa said.

Earlier this month, Rep. James E. Clyburn (DS.C.), the Democratic whip of the House of Representatives, urged the Biden camp to choose a black woman and said Bass “would be a great asset.”

A former Speaker of the House in California? That has to be an advantage, “he said. “She is a great person”.