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Those Who Held The Line

A few years ago, Jen Perelman ran for Congress against corrupt corporate Dem, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz had no problem at all voting for Biden’s turd sandwich, disguised as a bill to save the nation from default. Jen a different approach: “If I was in Congress instead of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I’d have voted NO on the debt ceiling bill. And that’s whether or not President Biden would’ve ‘needed’ my vote. For the millions of people who’ll be effected by the Mountain Valley pipeline alone, I stand with you.” That thing about Biden “needing” her vote was what makes Jen stand out from many (most? all?) the progressives who voted against it. Many of them publicly acknowledged that had the White House told them that their vote was “needed” to avert a fiscal calamity in the form a default, they would have given in and voted aye— as many strong progressives did anyway— like Ilhan Omar (MN), Jamie Raskin (MD) and Mark Takano (CA)— as well as members who want to be seen as performing as though they are progressives— like Maxwell Frost (FL) and Robert Garcia (CA).

On Saturday, The Nation published an essay by John Nichols Here’s Why Principled Progressives Opposed a Cruel and Destructive Debt Ceiling Deal, quickly skipping over the much-covered and “predictable opposition in both chambers from right-wing Republicans who complained that its cruel cuts to domestic programs did not go far enough.”

“But,” wrote Nichols, “the more meaningful, and moral, opposition came from progressive Democrats—along with Vermont independent Bernie Sanders—who broke with their own party’s president and rejected an arrangement that hikes Pentagon spending and maintains tax breaks for billionaires while literally denying food to hungry Americans and derailing environmental initiatives.” That isn’t the conventional wisdom you hear on MSNBC or read in the mainstream media, which is mostly cheering Biden and McCarthy for averting the phony crisis their class has manufactured as an excuse to pass unpopular austerity cuts in vital programs.

“‘This is not a deal that upholds progressive values. It increases spending for defense and limits the pot of money for everything else,’ declared California Representative Ro Khanna, one of 46 House Democrats who voted against the agreement to temporarily suspend the federal government’s borrowing limit in order to avoid the economic chaos that could extend from a default on payments. (Five progressive senators voted against the deal.) While these legislators decried Republicans for manufacturing a crisis, they also criticized Biden for negotiating a “bad deal” that warps budget priorities to favor the military-industrial complex and corporate elites while doing harm to the poor and the planet. Ro was also one of the members who voted NO who said he would have voted yes if Biden needed his vote to pass the legislation.

The House vote ended with a win for Biden and McCarthy. It was approved with relative ease on a 314-117 vote that saw 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans vote “yes.” An anticipated rebellion by hard-line Republicans, many of them associated with the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” fell short as just 71 of them voted “no.” The Republican “no” votes were in many instances accompanied by rancorous statements from conservatives like Texan Chip Roy, who expressed frustration with McCarthy for accepting “a two-year spending freeze that’s full of loopholes and gimmicks.”
It was similar in the Senate, where the vote for the deal was 63-36. Thirty-one Republicans voted “no.” The four Democratic “no” votes came from John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon. They were joined by Sanders, who said:
Deficit reduction cannot just be about cutting programs that working families, the children, the sick, the elderly, and the poor depend upon. It must be about demanding that the billionaire class and profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes, reining in out-of-control military spending, reducing the price of prescription drugs, and ending billions of dollars in corporate welfare that goes to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests.
The House and Senate Democrats who voted “no” on what Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) described as a Republican “extortion scheme,” tended to be easier on Biden. Many, such as New York Representative Jerry Nadler, said they respected that the president was in a tough spot. But they could not support a deal that restricts access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and shreds environmental protections.
A particular bone of contention for progressives on both sides of Capitol Hill was the green-lighting of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a West Virginia project favored by fossil fuel companies and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), that has been broadly opposed by environmental groups. Removing regulatory and legal barriers to the project represents “a surrender to Big Oil,” argued Friends of the Earth, while Sierra Club executive director Ben Jealous complained that “allowing this deal to advance sets a dangerous precedent. We can pay America’s bills without undermining bedrock environmental protections or fast-tracking the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
Immediate and long-term environmental consequences weighed heavily on the minds of Democrats who voted “no.”
“[With] the abominable approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, this deal is a major step backward from the climate and environmental justice wins we delivered in the last Congress,” argued California Representative Jared Huffman. “And since Democrats got nothing on the permitting reform item we actually need (electrical transmission), Republicans will use that as leverage to demand even more environmental rollbacks in the months ahead.”
Cuts to safety-net programs drew both practical and moral objections. Warning about the “impact this will have in concrete, practical terms,” Khanna said the agreement “will force real dollar cuts that push parents relying on government childcare financial assistance out of the workforce. It will mean cuts to housing vouchers that leave families unable to put a roof over their heads. Programs that help low-income Americans with their energy bills will have to turn people away in the winter.”
Representative Delia Ramirez, an Illinois Democrat who represents economically hard-hit neighborhoods in Chicago, complained:
“Adding more work requirements to SNAP is cruel. Adding more obstacles to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is cruel. Forcing student loan repayments to resume is cruel. I am clear on who I am here for. I am here for the 1.3 million student loan borrowers in Illinois who are being forced to resume payments, even when they are struggling to keep up with the bills; the 76,836 people across Illinois counting on TANF cash assistance to keep their families afloat; and the 1,981,700 residents of Illinois counting on SNAP to put food on the table. The hostage situation Republicans forced onto the American people has led to a deal I cannot, in good conscience, support.”
…Here’s a full list of the House Democrats who voted “no”:
  • Nanette Barragán (California)- 96.28

  • Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon)- 94.13

  • Jamaal Bowman (New York)- 97.69

  • Cori Bush (Missouri)- 97.03

  • Greg Casar (Texas)- 98.55

  • Joaquin Castro (Texas)- 88.15

  • Judy Chu (California)- 96.97

  • Yvette Clarke (New York)- 96.60

  • Gerry Connolly (Virginia)- 76.71

  • Jasmine Crockett (Texas)- 97.10

  • Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut)- 88.20

  • Mark DeSaulnier (California)- 97.70

  • Adriano Espaillat (New York)- 98.71

  • Chuy Garcia (Illinois)- 92.73

  • Sylvia Garcia (Texas)- 94.92

  • Daniel Goldman (New York)- 89.86

  • Jimmy Gomez (California)- 97.68

  • Raúl Grijalva (Arizona)- 96.41

  • Jahana Hayes (Connecticut)- 93.13

  • Val Hoyle (Oregon)- 87.50

  • Jared Huffman (California)- 94.35

  • Pramila Jayapal (Washington)- 97.78

  • Sydney Kamlager-Dove (California)- 100

  • Ro Khanna (California)- 96.12

  • John Larson (Connecticut)- 86.21

  • Barbara Lee (California)- 95.53

  • Summer Lee (Pennsylvania)- 100

  • Jim McGovern (Massachusetts)- 97.02

  • Grace Meng (New York)- 90.21

  • Gwen Moore (Wisconsin)- 93.52

  • Jerry Nadler (New York)- 95.14

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York)- 95.69

  • Mark Pocan (Wisconsin)- 98.24

  • Katie Porter (California)- 88.07

  • Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts)- 98.22

  • Delia Ramirez (Illinois)- 100

  • Jan Schakowsky (Illinois)- 96.77

  • Robert Scott (Virginia)- 86.24

  • Melanie Stansbury (New Mexico)- 96.71

  • Rashida Tlaib (Michigan)- 96.45

  • Norma Torres (California)- 84.99

  • Ritchie Torres (New York)- 97.69

  • Juan Vargas (California)- 86.32

  • Nydia Velázquez (New York)- 95.89

  • Nikema Williams (Georgia)- 99.34

  • Frederica Wilson (Florida)- 89.82

I added the ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote score next to each name. And one last thing-- a paragraph from Luke Savage: "Only in the hollowest and most superficial sense imaginable is the debt ceiling agreement any kind of political 'win.' Indeed, it’s incredible to think there are people out there who could read a sentence like, 'While the precise details were not clear, the deal raises the age at which adults will be required to work to receive food stamps from 50 to 54' and get the impression there’s some kind of victory to be found here. In a bizarro world where political outcomes are primarily about the elite characters who made them happen rather than the people they will actually affect, virtually anything— no matter how morally horrendous— can be declared a win."



Jun 09, 2023

what line? who "held the line"? as far as I can tell, nobody did.


Jun 04, 2023

A Freudian admission: "“If I was in Congress instead of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I’d have voted NO on the debt ceiling bill. And that’s whether or not President Biden would’ve ‘needed’ my vote." -- "graysoned" candidate Jen Perelman

the mention of biden ('s investors -- props to Mr. Toomey for the correct characterization) "needing" an 'aye' vote for passage is an admission that I've been correct all along. Your corrupt pussy democraps COULD have put on a better show of pretend progressivism or even giving a shit. But they OVERWHELMINGLY affirmed the sloppy BJ for the money and the ratfucking of the bottom 60%.

Needless to say, nobody fears any of y'all will wake the fuck up and start punishing…


The WH and the bulk of the Dem caucuses in both houses GOT EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED. They're fine with freezing social spending while increasing military spending--that makes their actual base [political investors (NOT "donors") who finance their campaigns] happy. Better yet, they don't have to defend this position to their nominal base--they can blame the debt ceiling and those big meanie Goopers and claim some sort of victory because there weren't the savage cuts that the GOP wanted.

It's no different than tabling a proposed minimum wage increase in 2021 and blaming the Senate Parliamentarian. The GOP has effectively achieved its long-sought goal of effectively abolishing the federal minimum wage, which has not budged from $7.25/hour since 2009. Out…

Jun 04, 2023
Replying to

well said. but you'll still be voting blue I betcha!

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