Progressive Democrats celebrate postponement of vote on infrastructure bill

Progressive activists have long lamented what they see as the tendency of liberal lawmakers to back down amid difficult negotiations with Democratic leaders. Not so last night.

As the nearly 100-member Progressive Congressional Caucus opposes the passage of a bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill until it takes action on the Build Back Better plan – a much more ambitious $ 3.5 trillion social spending and climate change agenda – Liberal House members forced their leaders to delay planned vote on public works measurement, a priority centrist democrats.

Liberal lawmakers immediately took a victory lap after the postponement, and activists allied with them hailed the delay as a victory for pushing forward the larger spending bill, which is going through Congress through a process. budget known as reconciliation.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus has done its name justice, lining up with voters rather than corporations to protect the fate of the Build Back Better plan,” trumpeted the Green New Deal Network, a national coalition of environmental groups. “The victory is a testament to the grassroots who came forward to vote among progressive leaders while pushing forward progressive agendas to secure a bold investment in climate, care, jobs and justice. It is a step forward towards the adoption of the Build Back Better Act. ”

New York Democrat Rep Jamaal Bowman wrote on Twitter: “We cannot run on progressive policies and not rule them. ”

Before the vote on the infrastructure bill was delayed Thursday night, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat and leader of the Progressive Caucus, urged members at a private meeting to vote “no” on the bill. infrastructure bill if President Nancy Pelosi called it to the floor. But she also told caucus members not to cheer if they were victorious, according to a person familiar with her comments.

Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and the whip, or highest counter of the votes, for progressives, nonetheless aimed at Representative Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey, a prominent centrist who had confidently said he was “1,000 percent” sure the infrastructure bill would pass on Thursday.

“In Congress, we don’t make predictions like this until we know we have the votes,” Ms. Omar wrote on Twitter. “Some of us understand this, others bluff and fall on our faces. With a bit of luck, @JoshGottheimer and the remaining 4% of Democrats will not obstruct but will negotiate and help us get @POTUSthe de facto agenda for the people.

The Liberals’ tactics were reminiscent of those employed in the past on the Right by the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members regularly threatened to withhold their bloc of votes unless the Republican leaders met their demands. More moderate Republicans, especially those in competitive districts, became furious with the group, accusing its members of obstructing popular bills that were political imperatives.

On Thursday, some politically vulnerable Democrats in conservative-leaning districts were also angry with their progressive counterparts for delaying a bill that enjoys wide support.

“When the people of Iowa tell me they are fed up with Washington games, that’s what they mean,” Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne said in a statement after executives said. announced the postponement of the vote on infrastructure. “Suddenly or nothing is no way to rule.”

The position of progressive lawmakers came amid a surge in activism targeting Congress from the left. Activists on Thursday held signs outside the Capitol saying “Put reconciliation first” and another group of activists rowed kayaks to confront West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin III and a key part of the project. $ 3.5 trillion bill, in the waters beside his large barge moored in a Washington marina.

Across the country, a group with a sign reading “Override the Parliamentarian” closed traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The parliamentarian, a little-known official outside the ring road, is primarily responsible for enforcing Senate rules. Since 2012, the post has been held by a former public servant, Elizabeth MacDonough. She rejected several proposals progressives are pushing to include in the reconciliation bill, including two separate efforts to create a path to citizenship for an estimated eight million immigrants.

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