The first time I ran across it yesterday, it was at The Hill, so I naturally chalked it up to ignorance, a hallmark of that publication. "Amid the grumbling on the left," wrote either Mike Lillis or Scott Wong, "some progressives declared Tuesday that they would support the infrastructure bill when it hits the floor-- without any conditions. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said she will vote 'yes,' as did Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Reps. David Price (D-NC), Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL)."
God save us. First, let me leave David Price out of this, since I don't know much about him, although I do know he's a garden variety Democrat-- for better or worse-- but not a progressive. His lifetime crucial vote ProgressivePunch score is 81.19, not an "F" but a "D," which pretty much describes someone who fights for the status quo. The others, however, are much worse. They are the opposite of "progressive."
I believe that Stephen Lynch is the only Democrap of the 38 who voted against the Affordable Care Act who is still serving, neither defeated nor forced to retire. He's very conservative and represents a very progressive district. A couple of strong primary challenges have forced him to clean up his act a little-- but just a little. He still rates an "F" and his lifetime crucial vote score is a repulsive 78.65.
As for Joyce Beatty and Greg Meeks-- unless you're measuring progressivism by the color of one's skin-- calling either of them progressive is a joke. Both are in politics for one reason and one reason only: corruption. They are two of the most corrupt members of Congress, Meeks especially being singled out as a serial criminal by CREW. Beatty has a long career in Ohio politics as a bought-and-sold patsy for anyone who will write a big enough check. She gets worse by the year. They represent the bipartisan nature of sickening corruption in American politics. Both belong in prison, not Congress.
And that leaves Robin Kelly. Maybe I should have left her out too. But she did replace Mike Madigan as the boss of the Illinois Democratic Party machine in March (with Durbin's support), so draw your own conclusions. She has a "B" score from ProgressivePunch, so not terrible, but not a progressive either.
Why would The Hill pretend that there is a rift among progressives, implying that the Congressional Progressive Caucus' determination to top the infrastructure bill tomorrow unless the reconciliation bill is part of the package? The I saw the same narrative from a source more venal than The Hill-- the Wall Street Journal. Eliza Collins and Kristina Peterson penned a deceitful column yesterday, Progressive Split On Backing Thursday's House Infrastructure Vote. They were absolutely looking to sow dissension in the ranks. "The House Democrats’ powerful progressive bloc split Tuesday over whether lawmakers should vote for" the all-conservative and totally inadequate infrastructure package that Manchin and Sinema are so desperate to pass even though those two are holding up the far more important and popular reconciliation bill. "In a sign of a growing conflict with House Democratic leaders, some liberals reiterated their determination not to vote for the infrastructure bill until the $3.5 trillion package has passed the Senate, while others signaled they could be reassured by firm signs of progress in reaching an agreement on the package." I was eager to so which "others" they had dredged up.
First was Pelosi, since she was once in the Progressive Caucus decades ago, although hasn't had anything to do with progressivism since becoming party leader. And then they trotted out Peter Welch, a Vermont New Dem, who is always aware he's in Bernie's state but has never been a progressive. As usual, he's mouthing the unaccountable leadership horseshit they're trying to sell: "If there’s really good-faith progress and we’re getting assurances from moderates that they’re in on reconciliation-- and I think a lot of them are-- then the worst thing that we could do is have everything collapse." Good faith from Manchin and Sinema? No one believes that, not even a little. And the only people who would say it are outright liars. And that was it. Everyone else quoted being in favor of voting Yes in the story was a hard core corrupt conservative like Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL).
Another deception from The Journal: "Democratic leaders can likely afford to lose a handful of liberal votes in the House-- which is split 220 Democrats to 212 Republicans-- since some Republicans are expected to support the infrastructure bill. While infrastructure had broader bipartisan support in the Senate, House GOP leaders have urged their ranks to vote against it, arguing the proposal is now inseparable from the broader Democratic package, which the GOP staunchly opposes."
There are 7 Republicans who have said they would vote with the Democrats and there may be 3 others. Pramila says she has 48 No votes. So you do the math.
What no one wants to admit is that Manchin and Sinema want the whole process to fall apart. They want the conservative hard infrastructure bill and absolutely do not what the progressive human infrastructure bill. So they are sabotaging it. Biden has ordered Pelosi to adopt his perspective-- that something is better than nothing and she's working to try to persuade progressives to go along with it. She's trying to craft a scenario that allows a one or two vote win-- with progressive leaders like Pramila, AOC, Ilhan, etc voting No, while others are forced to toe the party line and pretend that Manchin and Sinema are good faith actors. It will be interesting counting the votes tomorrow.