Insightful analysis by former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA05), who certainly knows what he’s talking about, having been in the midst of this process himself back in 2009 and 2010…
Sounds odd but I genuinely think every part of the Dem coalition – moderates, progressives/CPC, Squad, & leadership – “won” big last night politically and played their parts brilliantly. Hear me out…
First, Dems overall benefit from passage – or at least prevent a nosedive from their failure – but each Dem takes a hit for some parts of the compromise. So @SpeakerPelosi & @POTUS win big for getting BIF passed with GOP votes (more below) and putting an improved BBB on track .
The CPC and Squad may not have coordinated their split but it worked brilliantly to empower both. @RepJayapal proves she can deliver enough of her caucus that leadership and White House know they have to deal with CPC if they want bills passed….
At high political risk, she and progressives beat moderate efforts (though Left Twitter refuses to accept wins) by forcing a vote on a bigger better BBB that now includes Rx drug reform, paid leave, immigration reform & public promises from WH @SpeakerPelosi and mods.
Having spent much of yesterday on the Hill, I can assure progressives the most obstructionist moderates definitely saw these as major concessions and worked hard but unsuccessfully to prevent them.
So moderates lost? No. They took a hit on bolder BBB but got something better – passage of a BIF with GOP votes before district week and (bonus) a BBB they and Manchinema can claim as a moderate compromise because it pissed off the right and The Squad.
So the Squad lost? No. They proved they are small but mighty enough to kill any White House priority that can’t get GOP votes (ie anything but infrastructure). They showed that @RepJayapal is serious when she tells leadership they don’t have the votes unless a bill gets stronger.
And they showed the beaten down diehard left that they at least have a few true champions in a Dem caucus that requires massive compromise to pass anything. Their protest vote was real but didn’t risk killing an agenda full of vital progressive wins. Hence odd way everyone wins.
Now the caveats – yes obstructionists could use the next 2wks to kill or erode BBB. But a BIF failure yesterday blamed on the CPC would have given those far more leverage to spend that time killing the BBB altogether and pressuring White House to settle for BIF with GOP votes.
CPC accurately read that they hit peak leverage around 3pm yesterday and used that moment of max leverage to (1) lock in best terms possible (not a guarantee) (2) make BBB stronger (eg late save on immigration) and (3) get WH and mods on record for BBB.
But again, props to moderates who didn’t use VA elections as excuse to ditch BBB, accepting collective interest in getting agenda passed. They gave in on delaying any BBB vote until CBO was done and their hopes of a district recess just about BIF.
Mods compromised on (modest) immigration reform that will fuel (unfair) attack ads in their districts, even though Senate passage (or even inclusion) is far from certain.
Maybe, just maybe, what the press covers as Dems in disarray is really a diverse caucus of representatives doing the tough work of compromising in order to govern.
The toughest moment for a legislator is when she has the power to decide the fate of a bill but not to determine its content. BIF & BBB are historic and possible bc Dems and a few Rs agreed to compromise on their interests to pass something important for our national interest.