The Memo: Progressives Celebrate New Power
Progressive Democrats are celebrating a moral victory this weekend, even as the outcome of the broader battle to enact a massive social spending bill remains uncertain.
Leftists say a dramatic week has shown they have a lot more muscle in the party than they’ve enjoyed in a generation – and they’re ready to use it.
The President’s ruling Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTransportation funding expires after Pelosi withdraws vote on infrastructure The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Democrats still disagree on Biden’s agenda (D-Calif.) Late Thursday night, the postponement of a planned vote on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package was seen by the left as a triumph over its more conservative party colleagues.
Progressives on Friday strongly pushed back a booming media narrative that the postponement of the vote was a major setback for President BidenJoe Biden France (and Britain) set to join quadruple election denier overthrown by Idaho Secretary of State Under Biden, US could fall further behind in the Arctic MORE.
Instead, they said, it was one step closer to their goals and hers.
“The mainstream media is wrong,” Sen said. Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Democrats back Hollywood teams threatening historic strike (I-Vt.) Tweeted.
The delay in the infrastructure vote, said Sanders, was “a major step towards passing the most transformative legislation since the New Deal.” There can be no infrastructure bill without a strong reconciliation bill.
The so-called reconciliation bill is the one progressives care most about. Even though its scale shrinks significantly from the original $ 3.5 trillion, its provisions – tuition-free community college, expanded health insurance, paid family leave, and climate change action – make up a wishlist. progressive.
Progressives do not want to support the smaller infrastructure bill unless they can be sure there will be action on the bigger package. This position has placed them in staunch opposition to the centrist House Democrats led by Rep. Josh gottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By Alibaba – Democrats Still Disagree On Biden Agenda Disagree: House Delays Infrastructure Vote 5 Reasons This Week’s Political War Is Different From All the others PLUS (DN.J.) who have long sought to dissociate the two proposals.
The bottom line is that progressives have won this battle of wills – at least for now.
President Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to speak to Democrats on Friday afternoon, but he reportedly exerted no real pressure to immediately pass the smaller bill.
“For the first time in a considerable period, we have seen progressives come together and demand something,” said Corbin Trent, former director of communications for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez Slams Texas Abortion Law Advocate: ‘Sometimes It Takes Years’ To Acknowledge Sexual Assault Manchin Challenging Progressives Democratic Civil War Reaches New Heights (DN.Y.), said this column. Trent now heads a progressive political action committee, No Excuses.
People on the other side of the left praised the leader of the Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalTransportation funding expires after Pelosi withdraws infrastructure vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Democrats still disagree on Biden’s agenda (D-Wash.), And his colleagues for holding on – or as their own slogan puts it, holding the line.
Mark Longabaugh, who worked as a senior advisor for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, told this column: “One of the things progressives have lacked in the past is a certain harshness in their political game. Now the progressives are flaunting it.
Longabaugh added: “A lot of us were worried that they would blink – and they didn’t. I think they have the upper hand now.
Advantage doesn’t guarantee victory, of course.
The fate of the larger social spending bill remains very precarious, especially in the Senate where Sens. Joe manchinJoe ManchinThe Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Alibaba – Democrats still at odds on agenda Biden Manchin throws the gauntlet at progressives Debt fight rekindles Democrats’ obstruction MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThe Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Alibaba – Democrats still at odds over Biden Manchin’s agenda throws the gauntlet at progressives Debt fight rekindles Democrats’ obstruction MORE (D-Ariz.) Insisted they can’t handle $ 3.5 trillion in revenue. Manchin has said he is only willing to hit $ 1.5 trillion, while details of Sinema’s position are shrouded in mystery.
But as negotiations progress, progressives point out a huge difference from past struggles: They now have the president on their side.
Biden pushed for passage of both bills, although he left room for a compromise across the broader measure of social spending.
Progressives have hammered this point, posing as the protectors of Biden’s agenda and portraying conservative Democrats as its potential destroyers.
This contrasts sharply with the progressive experience of most past generations.
Although many progressives were enthusiastic about president obamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocratic Civil War Reaches New Heights Hillary Clinton Supports End of Filibuster, Says GOP “Does Not Respect Rule of Law” 5 Reasons This Week’s Political War Is Different From All others2008 campaign, they were then dismayed that the Affordable Care Act was not going as far as they would have liked.
The Obama administration was also populated by prominent anti-progressives like Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, while an Obama press secretary, Robert Gibbs, publicly complained about “the professional left.”
Things were even worse for progressives for Bill clintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton Georgia Congressional Lines Target McBath, Reinforce Bourdeaux Time to Pass Reforms to Tackle Executive Abuse Has China Already Won? FOLLOWINGthe Presidency. Clinton had come to power in part by posing as a centrist antidote to Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale, more liberal candidates who had lost the presidential elections.
In the Oval Office, Clinton championed some causes that horrified progressives, including welfare reform and financial deregulation.
Clinton also said in his 1996 State of the Union address: “the era of great governments is over.”
A quarter of a century later, it seems rumors of the death of progressive liberalism have been greatly exaggerated.
“You can trace and follow the change for at least 20 years,” said progressive strategist Jonathan Tasini. “But certainly Bernie Sanders’ two presidential campaigns have emboldened and strengthened the progressive hand.”
Tasini added that with regard to the big bill on social spending, “you could not have imagined that Joe Biden would produce this kind of bill 20 years ago.”
There are still many obstacles to overcome. But progressives believe they are on the verge of a huge victory.
A progressive, Rep. Mondaire JonesMondaire Jones Progressive Democrats seek to eliminate term “moderate” WHIP LIST: How House Democrats and Republicans say they’ll vote on infrastructure bill Representative Bush calls for White House action on expiration of the moratorium on deportations PLUS (DN.Y.), tweeted Thursday night that he ran for Congress “because Democrats have to fight harder for the things we say we believe.”
He was, he added, “so proud” that the Progressive Caucus “is doing just that.”
The Memo is a column published by Niall Stanage.