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Will Progressives Really Sink Joe Biden’s Agenda?

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On Tuesday afternoon, Pramila Jayapal walked into Nancy Pelosi’s office in the Capitol bearing a threat. The leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus told the speaker of the House that she and some 50 colleagues would torpedo a cherished bipartisan infrastructure bill unless their demands on a separate, far more expensive bill were met. After the meeting, when a reporter asked Jayapal if she and the caucus were bluffing, her response was simple: “Try us.”

Jayapal, 56, is not a traditional congressional power broker. The first Indian American woman ever elected to Congress, she rose from Seattle’s left as a civil rights activist to become the first solo leader of congressional progressives in over a decade. Progressives had long been relative team players within the Democratic caucus. Now, they are no longer playing nice as they fight a group of moderates, with Joe Biden’s legislative agenda caught in the crossfire.

The effort by progressives to flex their muscle and shift the center of power on Capitol Hill further to the left is a change from the last time there was a Democratic trifecta, during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Back then, legislative pressure repeatedly came from moderate and conservative Democrats. “There were maybe 30 some Blue Dogs. Now there are many more progressives and we are in the ascendency because we want to make progress for the people,” Michigan representative Andy Levin told Intelligencer.

The fight is over two different pieces of legislation........

© Daily Intelligencer

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