Expect Hot Shit To Be Defined As A Huge Win For Democrats
Progressives won on process last night: the House didn't vote on the conservative hard infrastructure bill. Pelosi had announced the vote; Jayapal told her she had enough members to oppose it and make it fail and instead Pelosi brought an extension of transportation funding for a vote and it passed 358-49, just 4 random Democrats in opposition, along with the extremists, insurrectionists and nihilists from the Republicans' so-called Freedom Caucus, who vote against everything-- nuts like Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA), Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), Madison Cawthorn (Nazi-NC), Andy Biggs (AZ), Paul Gosar (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Mary Miller (Q-IL), Gym Jordan (OH), Andrew Clyde (GA), Louie Gohmert (TX)...
Holding the line turned out to mean fighting for procedural votes-- like when the bills get voted on, not what's in them... or what's not in them. Apparently no one is going to challenge the social spending bill gutted clean of progressive priorities by corrupt conservatives, led by Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and Gottheimer, Schrader, Case, et al in the House.
This morning Politico's Playbook noted that just when it looked like yesterday would end in embarrassment for Biden and the congressional leadership, "the Congressional Progressive Caucus issues a surprise endorsement of the president’s compromise plan-- removing one of the last big obstacles in its way. The CPC's decision to back the new BBB framework got drowned out by the group’s refusal to allow a BIF vote Thursday before full text was drafted. That deprived Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the vote she was determined to hold on BIF, and yielded lots of headlines about Democrats’ failure to clinch the win. But the dispute over sequencing masked a major achievement for the president [President Manchin]: Hill progressives now appear ready to swallow this deal-- and that means it’s likely a matter of when, not if, it passes.
The fact that the group isn't making demands for major changes is quite something given that many of their priorities were significantly scaled back as moderates got most of what they wanted.
Not making demands for any changes-- major or minor-- and the acquiescence to all of the Manchin-Sinema requirements that every progressive proposal be blocked is a little more than "significantly scaled back." A transformational $6 trillion plan is now a $1.75 trillion plan with a few good things them that Democrats will run on and lose control of Congress-- Pelosi's going-away present.
"We wanted a $3.5 trillion package, but we understand the reality of the situation,” CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told reporters Thursday night. While she welcomes senators negotiating to make additional changes to the bill, she said specifically that her group’s endorsement is not contingent on that. That stance is especially notable since earlier in the day, Sanders seemed unhappy with the package and ready to fight for more. He complained there were “major gaps” in the framework, specifically on prescription drugs and Medicare. At the same time, he did not draw any red lines and praised the plan as “the most consequential bill since the 1960s.”
It's a reminder that there is no Freedom Caucus on the left and probably never will be. Progressives find it hard to vote against things they believe in, even if the bill doesn’t have everything that they want. For that, perhaps Biden, who’s set to meet with the pope today, should count his blessings.
The real loser from Thursday, as WaPo’s Paul Kane pointed out, was Terry McAuliffe. Democrats’ Virginia gubernatorial candidate implored leaders to pass the infrastructure bill before his election to turn out voters. But Biden did not press progressives to vote on the bill quickly, a move a senior House Democrat dubbed a “mistake” — ensuring the bill won’t pass before next week. The delay comes as a Fox News poll has Glenn Youngkin pulling ahead of McAullife, 53 to 45.
The poll is idiotic but it would be a valuable lesson for the incrementalist and corrupt corporate Democrats to learn if McAuliffe loses on Tuesday. Maybe if the Democrats had gone through with the most popular parts of the bill-- tax fairness, lower drug prices, expansion of Medicare to include dental treatment, clean energy, tuition free community college, paid family and medical leave-- McAullife wouldn't be sweating losing in a blue state.