There’s a dawning realization among Democrats that the constant infighting between progressives and moderates isn’t doing them any favors with voters. In an effort to forge some kind of unity, Dems spent the end of the week at a retreat in Philadelphia trying to come up with an approach that both sides could agree on.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the DCCC, said the key was for Democrats to talk like real people and not “sound like a jerk.” That was a not-so-veiled request for progressives to stow their far left agenda between now and November. If there’s one thing Dems have learned it’s that defund the police is a losing message.
On the other hand, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, thinks the party desperately needs to show voters they can get something done. She wants to bring back elements of the BBB even if they don’t call it that anymore. “It’s like Voldemort. We just don’t say those words. But we continue to work on the pieces of the legislation,” she said.
For the moment everyone is playing nice but there’s definitely some tension in the air. Today Politico has a follow up story basically looking at the progressive argument that Democrats need to pass some of their “care economy” agenda to win over voters. But the story suggests the White House has pretty much given up on that effort for now, leaving progressives warning of a looming disaster.
More than a year into his term, Biden’s plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into child and eldercare programs is on the congressional backburner…
Making matters worse: There’s little public talk of resuscitating these items. In fact, Democrats seem to be girding themselves for a deal in which they are removed entirely from the president’s Build Back Better bill in favor of a pared-down version that funds climate change initiatives and reduces the deficit…
“If a reconciliation package passes without any of the care agenda items, you will see the wrath of women around the country,” said Julie Kashen, director of women’s economic justice at the Century Foundation…
“I’m amazed at the lack of strategy,” said one advocate in close touch with the White House. “There’s a debate about the future of children and families going on, and they’ve taken a step back on it.”
The main barrier to advancing these items is still Sen. Joe Manchin who has made it clear he’s worried about rising inflation. Manchin doesn’t want a grab bag bill of half-funded ideas. He’s pushing House Democrats to focus on just one or two items, including climate change spending. For its part, the White House has learned something from the last time it tried to get tough with Manchin during negotiations. This time around the all they’ll say is that they’re still talking to Manchin.
While the administration has carefully guarded the details of its talks with Manchin, for fear of leaks that could derail the delicate discussions, officials have indicated it may take until the end of April for negotiations on the specifics of an economic package to begin in earnest.
If negotiations are just getting started at the end of April, that gives them a few months to come to an agreement before the August recess, but we’ve seen this process play out before and 3 months wasn’t enough time.
There’s an old saying that nothing focuses the mind like a hanging. Maybe holding these negotiations a few months prior to a potential red wave election will make everyone more agreeable and more flexible about what constitutes a win. Can Rep. Jayapal and the Squad made do with half a loaf or 1/4 of a loaf? I guess we’ll see.
But the bigger question is whether any of this will really matter by August. Progressives are assuming that bringing some offering to voters prior to the election will make a difference with suburban and women voters. I’m not so sure. Are voters really going to care about some climate change spending when they’ve had to cancel summer vacation for the 3rd year in a row because gas is stuck at $5 a gallon nationwide and the entire world economy is taking a hit from inflation?
Put another way, Democrats are focused on resolving an intra-party fight that started last summer, but by the time they finally resolve it this summer the public may be in a very different frame of mind. There’s even a chance that passing another trillion dollar bill that doesn’t seem directly focused on inflation and the economy could backfire.
Via Hot Air