Election losses in Virginia and elsewhere prompted key House Democrats on Wednesday to step up their calls for passage of two critical components of President Joe Biden’s agenda that have stalled.
However, previous deadlines have fallen to the wayside as moderate and progressive members of the party have struggled to agree on the bill’s provisions and process—which some Democrats said wasn’t helpful in Tuesday’s state and local elections.
The GOP sweep of Virginia’s statewide positions, a close governor’s race in New Jersey, and lower-profile contests elsewhere served as a warning to Democratic lawmakers in competitive districts of the headwinds they may face in next year’s midterm elections when control of both chambers of Congress is at stake.
“Voters elected Democrats in 2020 to address the problems this country is facing,” he said. “They’re giving Democrats an incomplete. That why we have to work as hard as we can in the next few days and few weeks to address that incomplete grade.”
“The real work is fixing the most important problem facing the American people,” he said. “We are about to deliver a real plan to do that and it’s going to produce results.”
GOP Target List
Midterms usually favor the party out of the White House, and House Minority Leader
House Republicans kicked off the day with a round-table discussion that signaled they plan to double-down next year on a central issue in the Virginia governor’s race: education.
Meanwhile, some Democrats said the election results are a sign their party should slow down to make sure they get the nuances of the $1.75 trillion social spending package right.
“People are wary of Democrats and the idea of overreach,” she said. “That’s why I go back to discipline and responsibility when we do these things.”
Five Democrats wrote a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday saying they didn’t want to vote on the social spending bill until the Congressional Budget Office evaluated its cost and revenues.
“The American people want us to act and get things done, and I think we should get the infrastructure bill up for a vote right away,” he said.
Passing major bills doesn’t always translate to success in the midterms. After Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009, they still suffered major losses the next year when Republicans made opposition to the then-unpopular legislation and complaints that their focus was off the struggling economy central campaign issues.
Maloney said this time will be different as some parts of the major bill will immediately go into effect, and Democrats are prepared to make sure voters know where the new benefits came from.
“We’re going to tell them that we did it and that Republicans fought us every step of the way,” Maloney said.
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have insisted both pieces of legislation move together. Caucus Chair
“There is no way you can say that a 12-point swing in a state is due to Congress not passing a bill,” said Jayapal, referring to the difference between President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Virginia and Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s loss in the governor’s race.
To win in 2022, Jayapal said Democrats must have an effect on the lives of those who are struggling by passing both bills.
“I think we were in high gear to get it done,” she said. “But if there’s a higher gear, we certainly went into it.”