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November 4, 2021

Dems butting heads after a stunning loss in Virginia

Moderate and progressive House Democrats are butting heads after the party’s loss in the gubernatorial race in Virginia. The two sects disagree over what caused the shocking upset, and the uncertainty is bleeding over into negotiations on President Joe Biden’s social spending plan.

Some Democrats argued that dragging their feet on the party’s social spending bill had hurt their election chances.

“Lack of movement simply reinforces the misconception that we’re doing nothing,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) said after the Virginia election.

However, the most prominent moderate, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), said the opposite was true, and voters are “scared to death.”

“The message that was really sent, if we’re going to do something, let’s do it right. Let’s make sure that people know what’s in it,” Manchin said. “We’re talking about revamping the whole entire tax code. That’s mammoth, totally. We’ve had no hearings, no open hearings. You haven’t been able to sit and listen to a hearing. None of us have.”

Meanwhile, progressives maintained that Virginia voters weren’t rebuking Democrats for failing to pass Biden’s infrastructure bill. They argued that new child care, housing aid, and home care for the elderly programs would galvanize voters.

“There is no way that you can say that a 12 point swing in a state is due to Congress not passing one bill,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said. “I think we were already in high gear. But if there’s a higher gear, we certainly went into it.”

Despite Manchin’s hangups, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to add paid family leave back into the bill. When asked if the loss in Virginia would affect her party’s agenda, Pelosi said: “No, no.”

Still, other Democrats assign blame to Congress.

“Democratic inaction on these two big bills, delay on the two big bills, definitely hurt Terry,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a former governor. “Dems have to use their majority to deliver. The American Rescue Plan was great. But that was eight months ago.”

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Dems keep butting heads after Virginia shellacking

October 30, 2021

GOP Rep. Kinzinger not seeking reelection, vows ‘broader fight nationwide’ against Trumpism

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said he is not seeking reelection next year, marking an end to a 12-year congressional career capped off by outspoken criticism of former President Donald Trump.

“There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use,” Kinzinger said in a video announcing his retirement in January 2023. “It has also become increasingly obvious that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide.”

“I want to make it clear,” he added. “This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”

Kinzinger is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January after the riot at the U.S. Capitol. He is the second member of that group to announce their retirement from Congress, joining Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (OH).

Hours after Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump released a statement that read, “2 down, 8 to go!”

“In this day, to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe,” Kinzinger said in the video. “Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it. And the price tag to power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.”

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Kinzinger retiring from Congress, vows ‘broader fight nationwide’ against Trumpism

Photo by Hudson Institute with the license CC BY 2.0.

October 27, 2021

Marjorie Taylor Greene receives third fine for refusing to wear mask on House floor

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA.), who once compared COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust, received her third fine for refusing to wear a mask on the House floor.

“I’m taking a stand on the House floor because I don’t want the people to stand alone,” Greene said after receiving the fine.

Legislators who violate the House mask mandate receive a warning after the first offense, a $500 fine after the second, and $2,500 for each subsequent violation.

The House initially imposed its mask mandate last year, lifted it in June, and reinstated it in July amid the Delta variant surge.

In May, Greene likened the COVID-19 restrictions to “a time and history where people were told to wear a gold star … put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.”

Greene later apologized for her comments after visiting the Holocaust Museum.

“There’s no comparison and there never ever will be,” she said.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene fined third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor

October 1, 2021

Democratic civil war heats up

The rift between progressive and moderate Congressional Democrats continues to heat up amid ongoing tensions stemming from the budget reconciliation package.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) announced that he wouldn’t support any bill that exceeds a budget of $1.5 trillion, effectively serving the rest of the Democrats with a rude awakening given the $3.5 trillion goal set by the Senate- and House-passed budgets.

The timing of his announcement, along with his comment dismissing the lofty spending plans as “the definition of fiscal insanity.”

“Inaction is insanity. Not willing to negotiate in good faith is insanity. Not fighting to have the critical investments that are needed is insanity. Trying to kill your party’s agenda is insanity,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, accused Manchin, along with centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), of “blocking the president’s agenda, the Democratic agenda that we ran on.”

Manchin doubled down on the division, saying that he has never been a “liberal.”

“For them to get theirs, elect more liberals,” he said, noting, “I’ve never been a liberal in any way, shape or form.”

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Manchin throws down gauntlet with progressives

September 22, 2021

Democrats to cut $1B for Israel defense to avoid shutdown

House Democrats will remove a provision to bolster Israel’s Iron Home air defense system to avoid a federal government shutdown through Dec. 3.

Congress must act within a few days to avert a shutdown when current funding expires at the end of the month.

Not all Democrats were on board with the decision.

“The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) tweeted. “We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The kerfuffle comes as moderate and progressive Democrats are at odds over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package.

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Democrats to nix $1B for Israel’s Iron Dome from bill to avert shutdown

September 14, 2021

AOC lays into Manchin after he refers to her as ‘young lady’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took exception to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) after he referred to her as “young lady” while addressing criticism from the congresswoman.

“In Washington, I usually know my questions of power are getting somewhere when the powerful stop referring to me as ‘Congresswoman’ and start referring to me as ‘young lady’ instead,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as ‘young lady’ they were ask responded to by being addressed with their age and gender?” she continued. “They’d be pretty upset if one responded with ‘the old man,’ right? Why this kind of weird, patronizing behavior is so accepted is beyond me!”

Manchin remarked about Ocasio-Cortez during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” denying her recent accusations that he meets “weekly” with Exxon Mobil personnel.

“I don’t know that young lady that well. I really don’t. I have met her one time, I think, between sets here. But that’s it. So we have not had any conversations. She’s just speculating and saying things because she wants to,” Manchin said.

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Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Manchin after he refers to her as ‘young lady’

September 9, 2021

Treasury Secretary raises alarm over nation’s debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is raising the alarm over the nation’s borrowing limit that could set off a worldwide economic crisis if Congress fails to take action.

Yellen warned congressional leaders on Wednesday that the US could potentially default on its debt in October. There is now reportedly a scramble to determine how to raise the debt ceiling in time.

“The time for Congress to act is now to make sure the U.S. does not come close to defaulting on some of its obligations,” said Rachel Snyderman, associate director at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank that monitors the debt limit. “But what’s concerning right now is that there are so many important priorities at play.”

Republicans vowed to withhold votes for the debt ceiling, though they helped suspend it under former President Donald Trump.

“Democrats control Washington now. They can raise the debt limit on their own,” said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on Wednesday.

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Yellen triggers alarm bells over debt ceiling cliff 

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