Democrats grapple with slim House majority

“The slimmer margin, it cuts both ways,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told The Dispatch last week. “It’s tough because we have to make sure that we cobble together a winning majority, but also it’s solid because we’re able to push a little bit more.”

Asked how willing she and her fellow progressives are to take advantage of the numbers to shape legislation, Ocasio-Cortez said it will be important for members “to not pull that trigger on a consistent and very sensitive basis.”

“But,” she added, “I do think that it gives us leverage to use that when it’s absolutely necessary.”

The situation has set up the House as a battlefield for the larger war over the direction of the Democratic party, especially as members anxiously look toward the 2022 midterms. It will also pare down the ambitions of a caucus that had hoped to implement sweeping change under the new Joe Biden administration.