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Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Jayapal goes after Pelosi in fundraising effort

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House Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has launched a fundraising effort railing at comments made by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) regarding the Speaker’s apparent willingness to pare back the cost of President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion ‘human infrastructure’ reconciliation bill.

The fundraising email, sent by Jayapal’s campaign, criticized Pelosi for saying the price tag would likely be reduced by cutting the number of programs contained in the bill.

The email, which was first reported by Politico and later confirmed via the Archive of Political Emails website by Fox News on Tuesday, referenced a letter sent Monday by Pelosi as well as remarks the speaker made during a Tuesday presser. Jayapal warned her supporters that Pelosi seemed ready to surrender on major progressive policy priorities in order to get the bill passed with the support of moderate Democrats.

“Did you see what Nancy Pelosi said late last night?” says the email’s subject line.

“We can’t believe this,” the email begins, followed by a screengrab of a tweet from CNN’s Manu Raju noting that Pelosi is willing to reduce the price tag to get the legislation approved.

“Democrats should NOT leave child care, paid leave, universal pre-K, community college, affordable housing, Medicare expansion, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers behind. We CAN’T leave working families and those struggling to get by behind,” the fundraising email continues.

“So why is Speaker Pelosi suggesting we should allow a couple of conservative Democrats to leave behind popular cornerstone policies of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act? We need to deliver,” the email adds.

In her letter posted to her website, Pelosi said that following her visit on Sunday with Pope Francis in Rome and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal, “discussions about the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation continued late into the nights.

“In order to pass both the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill on time, it is essential that difficult decisions must be made very soon,” Pelosi noted.

“Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from Members is to do fewer things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and responsibly address the climate crisis: a Build Back Better agenda for jobs and the planet For The Children!” she added.

But the compromises are not something that Jayapal and her caucus seem willing to make.

“Pramila has been leading the progressive fight in Congress and urging her colleagues to protect desperately needed economic relief for the American people and urgent action to address the climate crisis. Democrats should not be negotiating against themselves. We should be passing President Biden’s popular Build Back Better Act and delivering for the people,” the email states (emphasis hers).

“The people elected Democrats so we could deliver for them. That means expanding Medicare, securing universal child care, pre-K, and community college, fighting climate change, and investing in affordable housing. Pramila won’t stop fighting to deliver for the people, no matter what corporations, the GOP, and a few conservative members of her own party do to try and stop her,” the email concludes (emphasis hers).

During her Tuesday press conference, Pelosi said she was “disappointed” the full package has not advanced and did not get into specifics about what may eventually be cut.

Jayapal took to Twitter Tuesday herself to push back on the notion of cutting programs.

“What should we cut to lower the topline number? Climate action? Pre-k? Paid leave? Child care?” Jayapal tweeted Tuesday. “No. We can and must deliver every piece of the transformational Build Back Better Act to people across America. We can’t afford not to.”

“We must realize by now that cutting any of these priorities from the Build Back Better agenda will be a self-defeating strategy for Democrats,” she wrote. “We must deliver our full agenda on behalf of our constituents.”

Jon Dougherty

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