Tomorrow, the House will take a rare break in it's long summer recess and come back to DC for 2 days. Last night, Pelosi sent this letter to all Democrats, explaining-- without mentioning-- the Democratic Party's battle with the Gottheimer-led Republican wing of the party over Biden's domestic agenda After acknowledging the easy, bipartisan part of Biden's plan, the "hard" infrastructure bill, she goes on to the tough-- and transformative-- part that the conservatives hate because it raises taxes on the rich (their people):
With regard to the $3.5 trillion topline number for this package, the President has been clear: this is the number that will honor his vision to Build Back Better. To that end:
First, this is the number that has been agreed to in the Senate and is now before us in the House. Accordingly, we will write a reconciliation bill with the Senate that is consistent with that topline.
Second, we will craft a bill that is paid for, including by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, some of whom currently pay little to no federal income taxes. The House is exploring ways to advance tax fairness and enforcement in this bill that are widely popular, including 72 percent support for crackdowns on tax evasion by corporations and the wealthy.
Third, as we proceed with this legislation, we will work closely with the Senate to assemble a bill that will pass both chambers, consistent with the 51-vote privilege of reconciliation and respectful of the Byrd Rule. To do so, we must first pass the budget resolution.
The House is hard at work to enact both the Build Back Better Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill before October 1st, when the BIF would go into effect. Further, the uncertainty of the delta variant insists that we move expeditiously.
Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share.
In support of President Biden’s vision to Build Back Better, we must move quickly to pass the budget resolution this week. It is essential that our Caucus proceeds unified in our determination to deliver once-in-a-century progress for the children.
Pelosi sent the letter after she spoke with Biden yesterday afternoon, during which time he reiterated his support for her approach. This morning before dawn, Jonathan Weisman noted the rising tensions in the House over "the most ambitious expansion of the nation’s social safety net in a half century." Corrupt careerist conservative Democrats like Gottheimer, Kurt Schrader (OR), Henry Cuellar (TX), Jim Costa (CA), Ed Case (HI), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA), Jared Golden (ME), Filemon Vela (TX), and Vicente Gonzalez (TX), are nearly as unenthusiastic about Biden's plan as Republicans are. The 9 right-wing, anti-working class Democrats "say they will block consideration of the budget blueprint necessary to allow the social policy measure championed by the party’s left flank to pass this fall with only Democratic backing unless the House immediately votes on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill. A broader coalition of 19 Blue Dog Democrats also want the infrastructure vote to come as soon as possible."
This thermometer will take you to the 2022 Blue America "Primary A Blue Dog" page. Please consider helping the Blue Dogs' progressive primary opponents replace them and their right-of-center, Republican-lite orientations. All of these candidates are running grassroots campaigns and eschewing support from corporate PACs and corporate lobbyists, which work-- more often than not, successfully-- to corrupt elected officials with legalistic bribes. These are the 19 Blue Dogs blocking progress and working with the Republicans and the corporate lobbyists to sabotage the bill:
Sanford Bishop (GA)
Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA)
Ed Case (HI)
Jim Cooper (TN)
Lou Correa (CA)
Jim Costa (CA)
Charlie Crist (FL)
Henry Cuellar (TX)
Jared Golden (ME)
Vicente Gonzalez (TX)
Josh Gottheimer (NJ)
Stephanie Murphy (FL)
Tom O'Halleran (AZ)
Brad Schneider (IL)
Kurt Schrader (OR)
David Scott (GA)
Mikie Sherrill (NJ)
Abigail Spanberger (VA)
Mike Thompson (CA)
Although Mike Thompson, a Napa Valley Pelosi ally, is likely to abandon the Blue Dog rebellion in the end, some conservative New Dems (besides Filemon Vela) are likely to cross the aisle and join the Chamber of Commerce/No Labels faction to kill the progressive parts of Biden's agenda. The worst of the New Dems include Elaine Luria (VA), Rick Larsen (WA), Scott Peters (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Seth Moulton (MA) and Cindy Axne (IA).
"The clamor for a quick victory on infrastructure, both for congressional Democrats and President Biden," wrote Weisman, "has only grown louder amid the anguish over Afghanistan. Democratic leaders hope to pass a rule on Monday night for debating the budget measure, the infrastructure bill and an unrelated voting rights bill, with final votes scheduled for Tuesday." He explained that the left-right divide "oversimplifies the swirling undercurrents that are roiling the Democratic Party."
Weisman has a weird, simple-minded and misleading frame to explain Hakeem Jeffries' and Josh Gottheimer's anti-progressive Shield PAC, somehow twisting Gottheimer into a Pelosi loyalist because of his consistent hatred of all things progressive. And he throws in the Republican-funded anti-progressive Democratic Majority for Israel PAC as well. These 2 PACs are dedicated to keeping the Democratic Party as conservative and Republican-lite as possible and to preventing breakthroughs by progressives like AOC, Marie Newman, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, Matt Cartwright, Jamaal Bowman, Ro Khanna and other members who have been elected by defeating Democratic incumbents. Weisman does get this right though:
On Friday, yet another centrist group, No Labels, began airing an advertisement backing Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, one of the nine holdouts on the budget who is being challenged by a young liberal, Jessica Cisneros, in the upcoming primary season. The ad extols him for “fighting for the Biden agenda,” though arguably he is now trying to hold much of it up.
...The efforts have left liberals feeling aggrieved and worried that the Democratic establishment is actually hurting the party-- by sapping the vital energy of younger voters. Young liberals like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman not only defeated Democratic stalwarts to win their seats in New York, but they have captured the imagination of the next generation, said Waleed Shahid, a spokesman and strategist for Justice Democrats, which promotes insurgent progressive candidates.
“The future of the party looks a lot more like A.O.C. than Joe Biden,” he said.
The establishment’s efforts are showing results. One of the left’s political heroes, Nina Turner, lost a House special election primary in Cleveland this month, after Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the most senior African American in Congress, and Mr. Mellman’s group swooped in to prop up a little-known but more conciliatory candidate, Shontel Brown. In New Orleans, the favored progressive candidate in the race to replace Representative Cedric Richmond, who joined the Biden White House, also lost.
Liberals say the moderates, not the progressives, are now the ones standing in the way of Mr. Biden’s agenda, by provoking the House’s stalemate and threatening the social policy bill in the Senate.
“This is a shared priority,” said Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota.
Far from folding before an expanding incumbent-protection apparatus, which already included the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus’s political action committee, liberal insurgents are fielding what may become the broadest group of primary challengers in years.
“I’m disappointed that party leadership sees this as a way to draw a wedge where there doesn’t need to be one,” said Kina Collins, 30, a gun control activist and community organizer running against Representative Danny Davis, who was elected nearly 25 years ago in a district that includes some of the richest and poorest neighborhoods of Chicago. “I haven’t reached out to the C.B.C. or the D.C.C.C., but if they get involved, it speaks volumes about where they want us to be going as a party.”
Other progressives are running primary campaigns against Representatives Carolyn Maloney of New York, John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Mr. Cuellar, hoping to follow the paths of Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman, as well as Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Marie Newman and Cori Bush, all of whom unseated incumbent Democrats from the left in the last two election cycles.
“I wouldn’t say it’s generational-- Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, there are older members of Congress who are super powerful, inspiring and making deep, impactful change,” said Rana Abdelhamid, 28, who is challenging Ms. Maloney in her district of East Side Manhattan and Queens. “It’s about communities who have not been represented, who have been overlooked, with an understanding that we deserve better.”
Democratic leaders say the key to resolving the disputes is uniting around the president’s agenda.
“A lot of us need to hold hands, we need to be protecting each other and march together,” Mr. Clyburn told the House Democratic Caucus last week on a conference call.
Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, struck a similar theme. “Remember the psychology of consensus,” he said. “We are in this together, we have the leader of our party and we are pursuing the attainment of that agenda.”
While Biden is identified, at least in temperament [not to mention 50 years in politics as the Joe Manchin of his day], with the moderate [the Beltway word for non-fascist conservative], establishment wing of his party, the agenda he ran on-- forged in part by policy panels assembled by the Biden campaign and his rival, Sanders of Vermont-- is closer to the left, much of which would be advanced by the $3.5 trillion budget plan expected to receive a vote on Tuesday.
That has given liberals some confidence. “The eviction moratorium, the extension of the student debt moratorium, when we say that this has to happen, then it does happen,” said Omar, the chief vote counter of the House Progressive Caucus.
The establishment may have warmed to the left’s agenda, but it is bent on bringing progressive personalities to heel. Matt Bennett, an executive vice president at Third Way, said Democrats could not function with the kinds of divisions that are gnawing away at rival Republicans. From the outside, Republicans might appear to have a cohesive party, and it can still win elections. Inside, the fractures are so deep the party no longer has a unified ideology or message, its members routinely take down their leaders, and it is in near-constant turmoil.
“The Tea Party weakened the foundations of the Republican Party, then Trump sawed off the central tent poll and it collapsed,” Bennett said.
Mellman’s PAC infuriated progressives by spending nearly $1 million on television ads to savage Turner, whom they saw as hostile to Israel. (She firmly denied the accusation, saying, “I believe in freedom and justice for my sister and brothers and family and friends in Israel, and also freedom and justice for my sisters and brothers, family and friends of Palestinian descent.”)
Liberals fumed that some of that money came from Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who was friendly with Trump.
“By allying with groups funded largely by G.O.P. donors and obstructionists like Josh Gottheimer, Democratic leaders are bolstering people who are blocking the Biden agenda, simply to stop more nurses and principals and bartenders from entering Congress,” Shahid said.