Bernie Sanders is interested in working for Biden. What would happen next?

Sen. Bernie Sanders is said to be eyeing a key position in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. 

As of Tuesday morning, there has been only one appointment for Biden’s cabinet picks. Rumors have circulated in the weeks since Election Day over who the president-elect would pick as his labor secretary, among other positions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and President-elect Joe Biden, talk before a Feb. 25 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, S.C..

In the last week and in an interview with WCAX that aired Monday, Sanders, I-Vt., confirmed his interest in the cabinet position.

As labor secretary, Sanders would oversee the operation of the U.S. Department of Labor, in addition to enforcing any laws involving unions, unemployment insurance benefits, safety regulations and workplace conditions.

How does Vermont replace senators?

If Biden were to select Bernie as labor secretary, it would leave a vacant seat in Vermont’s congressional delegation.

The power to fill that seat would fall to Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

The U.S. Constitution grants state governors the authority to select a new Senate appointee in the event that a senator resigns or dies.

The appointee will then serve in that role until the end of the previous senator’s term or the next general election. While some states require special elections to determine the replacement, the majority of states, including Vermont, do not.

The last time a Senate seat was vacant in Vermont was in 1971, when Republican Winston Prouty died in office and was replaced by fellow party member and former governor Robert Stafford.

Vermont does not require that any temporary Senate appointment must caucus with the same party as the person who vacated. Historically, however, Vermont governors have kept with tradition.

How Vermont’s Republican governor would handle Bernie Sanders’ legacy

Scott has said that he would fill Sanders’ seat with an independent who would caucus with the Democrats, as Sanders does. 

“I don’t have to, but I want to make sure we do things in the traditional way, and that’s to appoint someone from the same party, and also, you know, has the same type of approach as well,” Scott said at a news conference Oct. 23.

Sanders has served as U.S. senator since 2007, and is the longest serving independent politician in U.S. congressional history. Sander’s current term in the Senate expires in 2024.

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.