Though they are few in number, the far-left “Squad” is emerging as a political tour-de-force amid the Democrats’ slightest majority in history, with members exercising their unconventional power to shape White House policy and legislative priorities.
For instance, the faction nearly tanked their party’s $1.9 billion spending bill to beef up security on Capitol grounds because the measure directed more money to law enforcement, including the same police agency that protects them. In addition, the faction has threatened to derail a police reform compromise bill if it does not contain language ending qualified immunity for officers. And there was division in the Democratic Party over U.S. support for Israel as the Jewish state was battling Hamas during a deadly 11-day conflict in and around Gaza.
As noted by Politico’s “Huddle” newsletter, six “progressives” withheld their vote from the Capitol security bill (Democrats only have an eight-seat majority) over questions about whether Capitol Police officers may have been involved somehow in the Jan. 6 riot; the measure passed by a single vote, 213-212 — not really a ‘mandate,’ per se.
For his part, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) told reporters he didn’t know which side he would come down on until he got on the House floor and voted “present.”
“I think it’s very important that we’d be on record as supporting the Capitol Police,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) noted. “I know that there are some people who are concerned about whether there was any kind of inside job by some members of the Capitol Police and that’s why we need the investigation that we voted … but to withhold security funding — we saw just how terribly unprepared the Capitol Police were.”
Meanwhile, as the Huddle reported last week, 10 progressive members sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) stressing that putting an end to qualified immunity for police, which is opposed by officers and police unions, has to be included in any discussions about law enforcement reform.
The letter came as House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and other Democrats signaled a willingness to drop a demand for qualified immunity in order to get something passed that contains other significant changes.
As the ultra-left faction of the Democratic Party continues to make waves and threats, Republicans are picking up on the division and are working to exploit it as they gain confidence in retaking the chamber in the 2022 midterms, which are generally hostile to the party holding the White House.
“Dems in disarray!” wrote newly-installed House Republican Conference chair, Elise Stefanik of New York, as the opposition party worked overtime to secure enough votes to pass the Capitol security bill.
Dems in disarray!
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 20, 2021
Democrats, however, say their party is far more united than the GOP which, again, just ousted Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from the party’s leadership. They also point to Republican members who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, and who have shunned him following the Capitol riot which they claim he incited.
They also point out that their party has not suffered any big defeats like Republicans did when they held the majority, including their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017.
“While Democrats have spent the first five months passing urgently needed relief for the American people, Republicans have spent the first five months of the 117th Congress in disarray, ousting a member of their own senior leadership team for telling the truth about the election, while embracing Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz,” a senior Democratic aide told Fox News.
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