The behavior from the Congressional Progressive Caucus last week was inexcusable to say the least.
Stalling the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill only hurts Democrats as they try to keep momentum heading into next year. Even members of the Republican Party who were going to vote are questioning if they will now.
The fact that we had 19 Republican senators ready to vote with the Democrats to pass the BIB in this political climate is a huge accomplishment. That shows that it is clear we need those investments now.
So, to see the Progressives highjack this bill’s passage because they are supposedly afraid that the reconciliation bill is not going to come at all is nothing more than a fundraising tactic.
As the Senate debates reconciliation, it seems that the original $3.5 trillion price-tag is not going to be the final number. Why hold up passage for something that isn’t written yet?
According to Gallup polling, 25% of the country considers themselves liberal, 35% identifies at moderate, and Conservative ideologies make up 36% of the country.
Many Americans do not want their taxes going towards federal funding for abortion. The poor and middle class do not want to be funding free preschool and community college for rich people. Why should they?
Those that are well off do not need the help. Putting stipulations on entitlements and handouts is not evil. It is common sense that most Americans agree with.
Members of the New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog/Conservative Democrat Caucuses know this. They do not represent districts that vote 40+ democratic.
So, why does the CPC choose these battles and flex their muscle when a significant percentage of the country disagrees with their stances? How did we get here?
The emergence of Bernie Sanders as a counter to the “establishment” — bogus term for people who know how Government works — in 2016 led to a surge in progressive minded folks running for office.
Sanders received 43% of the vote in the 2016 Democratic primary. Few made the connection that Hillary’s unpopularity was what made the contest between the two so close.
In 2018, Progressives gained 20 seats and unseated a few moderate incumbents from deep blue districts. Those incoming progressives were convinced that the only way to win was to play puritan politics.
Suddenly, Democrats found themselves with the equivalent of the Tea Party in their ranks.
Flash to 2020, Bernie Sanders runs again. Progressives thought it was going to be their year, and Sanders was the man to take the mantle. By the end of it, Sanders only garnered 26% of the vote and then-candidate Joe Biden steamrolled the field with 52%.
This proved not only that the 2016 primary was nothing more than discontent with nominating Hillary, but also proved most of the Democratic party does not agree with progressives.
So, what happened Thursday? Why were the Democrats not able to deliver on their promise to put money into our roads, bridges, and waterlines? It was due to a fit being thrown by Pramila Jayapal and “the Squad” consisting of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and a few others.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen the performative puritan politics on display by these few. Canceling the funding for the Iron Dome, which protects the citizens of Israel from deadly rockets being fired from terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez had the performative tears flowing as the House voted 420-9 to put the funding back into the budget.
We also saw this behavior in the spring with the passage of the American Rescue Plan. When means-testing was done to the stimulus checks and the unemployment benefits, progressives were threatening to not vote for the bill, but ultimately did.
Going forward, Nancy Pelosi has got to reign in the stragglers that are disrupting the agenda Biden is setting out to pass.
Until the progressives understand that incremental improvement is better than nothing, we will continue having these embarrassing showings. Would they rather there be $2.7 trillion invested or not a single dime?
The odds of holding the House and gaining in the Senate in 2022 are already low for Democrats. If they go into the midterms with nothing to show, they will have an even harder time.
These petty purity tests being put out by the Congressional Progressive Caucus do nothing but derail Biden and the Democrats’ agenda.