Why Can't They All Be Like Pramila?
The Democratic Party establishment-- every bit as corrupted as the Republican Party establishment-- has a one note electoral strategy: "we're the lesser evil." Unfortunately, that gives us garbage members like Sinema, Gottheimer, Schrader, Correa, Cuellar... the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- who are sometimes a bit of a stretch to describe as a "lesser evil" in any given circumstance, like Cuellar voting anti-Choice for example. Or like Manchin today reiterating he would let the country default-- just like McConnell and his other GOP amigos-- rather than waver on his dedication to not even make the tiniest adjustments to protect the country from the Jim Crow filibuster. Yeah, sure... lesser evil!
Why can't they all be like Pramila? John Nichols: "[S]he has positioned the [Progressive] Caucus as a bulwark against the sort of centrist compromises that tripped up the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama."
With a clarity that stands in stark contrast to the recalcitrance and dodging of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as corporate-aligned centrists in the House, Jayapal has pushed back against efforts to downsize the Democratic Party’s commitment to achieve transformational change. Asked about Manchin’s proposal to slash the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill to $1.5 trillion, the CPC chair said Sunday, “That’s not going to happen. That’s too small to get our priorities in. It’s going to be somewhere between $1.5 and $3.5, and I think the White House is working on that right now because, remember, what we want to deliver is childcare, paid leave, climate change, [and] housing.”
...Last Thursday, Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), a leader of the corporate-aligned “centrist” bloc that has sought to force a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before an agreement is reached on the more ambitious social infrastructure bill, declared he was “1,000 percent” certain that the smaller bill would pass before the night was done. Jayapal said that would not happen.
She was right. Pelosi did not bring the measure to a vote because Jayapal and her fellow progressives refused to be rolled.
With the support of enough members of the CPC to prevent passage of the physical infrastructure bill in the closely divided House, Jayapal has kept alive discussions about how to secure the top priorities in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which was crafted by Senate Budget Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in cooperation with the Biden White House and Senate majority leader Schumer.
Throughout the fight, Jayapal has delivered two core messages. The first has to do with the responsibility of Democrats to use the power they hold to address economic, social, and racial injustice and to protect the planet. Holding true to the faith that guided her as a human rights activist in Seattle, a state legislator, and a first-time congressional candidate in a spirited 2016 primary fight that laid bare differences in the party, Jayapal has brought both passion and urgency to the current fight.
“Child care can’t wait. Paid leave can’t wait. Health care can’t wait. Climate action can’t wait. Affordable housing can’t wait. A roadmap to citizenship can’t wait,” the CPC chair declared last week. “People across America are counting on us to deliver the Build Back Better Act-- and they can’t wait.”
The second involves a deeper argument that it is the progressive caucus that is defending Biden’s agenda, and that of a Democratic Party that won control of the White House and the Congress in 2020. In so doing, she has boldly challenged the media narrative that imagines that Manchin, Sinema, and the House centrists represent the president or the mainstream of the party.
“Let’s be clear,” said Jayapal, “96 percent of Democrats agree on how we deliver the President’s entire Build Back Better agenda. A few conservative Democrats are standing in our way of delivering transformational change to families across America.”
On cable show after cable show, on Capitol Hill, and at the White House, Jayapal keeps driving that point home. She has taken this struggle to heart, and she is signaling that she and the caucus she leads will neither blink nor back down. “The Build Back Better agenda that progressives are fighting for isn’t some fringe wish list. It’s the President’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, and what we promised the American people,” she says. “We’re going to invest in roads and bridges, in child care and education, in paid leave and health care, and in climate action and housing. We can do it all-- and we must while we have the chance.”
Instead of allowing Pelosi to pick another hack careerist avatar of the Wall Street-dominated status quo-- in this case Hakeem Jeffries-- progressives should start demanding Pramila as the next Democratic House leader-- before some typical establishment shithead is a fait accompli.