House socialists may hold infrastructure bill hostage. Let them.

House socialists may hold infrastructure bill hostage. Let them.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

I’m old enough to remember when the media was crowing about how the passage of the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill in the Senate was “another big win for Joe Biden’s agenda.” Some of those talking heads may need to go back and brush up on the specifics of our federal bicameral legislature. Getting the spending package through the upper chamber was a significant challenge to be sure, but it still has to pass in the House. And thanks to the socialists in the House Progressive Caucus, that’s not going to be happening any time soon. The Senate was forced by the Republican caucus to detach the infrastructure deal from the massive, $3.5 trillion omnibus spending package currently being crafted as a compromise to get the smaller bill through. But now the House is looking to tie them back together, saying they won’t vote for their own bill until the bigger chunk is also approved. (Free Beacon)

Progressive House Democrats are refusing to vote for the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill until a multitrillion-dollar package that prioritizes liberal initiatives is passed.

A majority of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, according to chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), deputy chair Katie Porter (D., Calif.), and whip Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), will refrain from voting on the $1 trillion bill unless the Senate passes the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The costlier bill would fund programs for child care, health care, education, and green energy initiatives. The caucus’s leadership, who warned of their intentions in a letter sent to the House speaker’s office and obtained by the New York Times, pushed for the legislation to be passed by reconciliation, bypassing the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold.

The names associated with this underhanded maneuver will be familiar. Pramila Jayapal, Katie Porter, and Ilhan Omar are all there. And you just know that this has the seal of approval from the entire “squad” and their friends on the far left.

At least at first glance, it looks as if the Progressive Caucus is shooting both themselves and Joe Biden in the foot. There are certainly still some House Republicans who aren’t comfortable with the size and scope of the infrastructure bill, but there are more than enough of them who were willing to go along with it that is should have passed the House and made it to Joe Biden’s desk with the patina of bipartisanship attached to it.

Now the entire formula has changed. By attempting to link the two bills together, they will virtually ensure that there are no more than a handful of GOP votes for the infrastructure bill in the House if any. That means they’re back to needing just about every single House Democrat to vote for it. Even if they somehow manage to pass it that way, the deal loses the bipartisan branding that the President craves.

But they likely won’t have to even worry about that part of the scheme. There are more than enough members of the Progressive Caucus to tank the infrastructure bill if there isn’t any Republican support. This is a repeating pattern we’ve been seeing among Congressional Democrats for a while now. When confronted with a choice of half a loaf or none, they choose to starve.

As I mentioned above, the understanding reached in the upper chamber was that the GOP would go along with a scaled-down (but still very expensive) infrastructure bill that mostly involved actual infrastructure. The rest of the garbage from the Democrats’ wish list would be pushed into the massive spending bill and be fought over as a separate battle. Now some of the House Democrats are trying to walk that deal back and hold the infrastructure bill hostage. The GOP should dare them to do it and simply walk away from the table.

Go ahead, Democrats. Dare us to settle for no spending instead of a bit less spending than you originally wanted. Let’s see how that works out for you.

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