The database, which now has from 500 to 600 names, covers everything from cabinet positions to under secretary posts in more obscure executive-branch offices and bureaus, like the president of the Export-Import Bank and the director of the Patent and Trademark Office. The group hopes to deliver the list to the Biden transition team by the end of the week.
Progressives recognize that their work on appointments and policy may be much harder if there is a Republican Senate, as appears increasingly likely. It may not confirm appointments to key government posts whom Republicans view as too far left, a course of action that Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has already suggested he would pursue.
And without enough Democratic allies in the Senate, there is almost no chance that the chamber will pass even the agenda that Mr. Biden supported in the run-up to the election, such as lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 from 65.
“If Mitch McConnell was ultimately to control the Senate, it would dramatically lower the ceiling of what’s possible legislatively and increase the urgency of appointing good people to the executive branch to make things happen there,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a sister organization of the Progressive Change Institute, and an ally of Ms. Warren’s.
Progressives have not abandoned hope of passing legislation, either, even if a Republican Senate makes doing so much more difficult. They are optimistic that there is broadly palatable legislation that the Senate may still pass, including a coronavirus relief bill, a $15 federal minimum wage and investment in infrastructure.
“I believe that if Joe Biden is in the White House, it changes the dynamic where people know that there will be a president who will sign these things into law,” Ms. Jayapal said. “And that will help us a lot.”
“That’s the question: Are Republicans going to continue to be enablers of an outrageous Trump agenda even when he’s out of the White House?” she added. “Or are they actually going to start speaking for their constituents?”