How to tell the Squad and the MAGA caucus apart

In a widely-publicized struggle that continued for over two months in the fall of 2021, the squad, along with the House progressive caucus, held the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a centerpiece of the Biden agenda, hostage, in order to force House Democrats to pass a separate but more controversial measure, the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better (a social-education-climate-health care spending) bill.

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The tactic worked — in part. On Nov. 15, the House and Senate both voted to enact, and send to President Biden, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — with the support of a majority of the progressive caucus. Four days later, the House approved the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill by a slim vote (220-213). Although House Democratic leaders kept their promise to pass the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill, it remains stalled in the Senate as negotiations between the administration and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who at times allies himself with the Republican Party, have failed to bear fruit.

Compare that lengthy struggle, to which the squad lent its strength, to the more frivolous votes cast by members of the Republican MAGA caucus — not a formal organization in the manner of the progressive caucus but a loose collection of representatives on the hard right.

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