“The Biden agenda—our Democratic agenda—is at stake. It’s progressives who are fighting to pass it in its entirety.”
By JAKE JOHNSON
The Democratic Party’s sweeping domestic policy agenda—from sizable climate investments to drug-pricing reforms to Medicare expansion—is under growing threat from the inside as right-wing members backed by corporate cash aim to tank or pare back central components of a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation plan.
Conservative Democrats’ increasingly coordinated effort to gut their own party’s legislation—and a top priority of President Joe Biden—has led to an increasingly tense confrontation with progressive lawmakers, one that has major implications for the United States’ tattered social safety net and the nation’s response to the existential climate emergency.
Increasingly concerned that the reconciliation package is on the verge of collapse, progressives are working to salvage the legislation by promising to vote down a priority of conservative Democrats: a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill that Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W-Va.) helped negotiate with their Republican counterparts in the Senate.
In an interview on Tuesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said that “more than half” of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ 96 members are committed to voting against the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package unless the not-yet-complete reconciliation bill moves simultaneously. Whether 48 progressive “no” votes are enough to tank the legislation will depend on how many House Republicans are willing to support it.