Not it: Democrats dodge blame for stalled agenda as McAuliffe teeters

Translation: Nobody wants to be considered a problem child when Democrats’ election chances collapse this week.

“Of course it would have been nice to show that we can make progress,” said Democratic Senator Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia, about the failed vote on the infrastructure.

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) Was much more blunt: “We haven’t done anything yet. That says enough about their strategy, ”he said of the progressives. But Tester also reprimanded Manchin for his fiery press conference on Monday: “I think Joe made a mistake.”

The idea that the Liberals would be to blame if McAuliffe lost to Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin, especially given the myriad of other problems that animated his race, did not surface with the leaders on the left.

“I’ve looked at all of the attack reports on Terry McAuliffe and not a single one has spoken about it [infrastructure bill] not over. They all took care of other things, ”Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus of Congress, told reporters, echoing an opinion repeated by most of the other progressives in the House of Representatives on Monday.

House progressives argue that their stance has much less to do with the Virginia election than the fact that Democratic leaders released the long-awaited bill – even though they did so before the demolished vote on infrastructure – and started moving towards considering both von Biden’s priorities this week.

But several Democrats from other corners of the caucus privately expressed their anger Progressive on Monday night after POLITICO reported that Jayapal helped derail their leadership’s infrastructure coordination strategy last week. What many were hoping would be an opportunity to change the narrative by the weekend, which instead resulted in a cascade of coverage of the Democrats’ disagreement.

Democratic power struggles have dominated national debates for months as moderates and progressives tangled over the social spending package and when to vote on the infrastructure of the House of Representatives. The results have proven brutal for Biden’s approval rating and voter confidence in the party as it heads into a critical gubernatorial race that many see as a guideline for the fate of the Democrats over the next year.

That Virginia election, which is a neck and neck race between McAuliffe and his GOP opponent, was the undertone of many private Democratic talks on Monday night. Several senior Democrats worried that this could undermine their momentum as the party continues to struggle on both bills.

Many in the House of Representatives leadership are still angry that their faction didn’t vote on the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last week.

“I thought it was a missed opportunity,” spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told Democrats in a private meeting Monday night. “I thought we looked awful and we have to make up for that.”

Her deputy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, echoed the sentiment at the same session: “Our party would have been better off” if the infrastructure bill had passed, he said.

The Center Democrats desperately wanted a House vote on infrastructure last week, saying it would give McAuliffe a much-needed boost against Youngkin. But the progressives resisted, arguing that they needed the bill and a commitment from Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) To support the broader bill.

Jayapal and her progressive group have since taken a tough turn, declaring the time to trust Biden and the Senate.

“A lot has changed since last week. We said last week that we need text. We got text, ”said Jayapal on Monday evening and refused to criticize Manchin or other moderates. Instead, she referred to the trust she and the progressives had shown in Biden to finalize the social spending deal.

It’s a notable exit after dozens of members of the group spent months holding the line and, out of distrust of their Senate colleagues, refused to support infrastructure without their progressive counterparts.

“I think we have to move. I think we’re delaying Joe Manchin’s plays every day, ”said House budget chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Who voiced the same concerns to colleagues at a private meeting Monday night.

Such a quick turnaround in demands has left other Democrats whiplash. This includes members of the leadership who have not specifically promised to vote on these two priorities at the same time this week.

Polls continue to show that McAuliffe is essentially associated with Youngkin. But the Democrats were particularly shocked by a NBC News Poll over the weekend, which showed dire approval ratings for Biden, with 71 percent of respondents saying the country is “moving in the wrong direction.”

“Oh, I think it would definitely have helped,” said MP Don Beyer (D-Va.), Who once ran for governorship of his state, of the planned infrastructure vote last week.

Beyer, a member of the Progressive Caucus, added to his colleagues in the group: “Although they would like to be helpful, they were not ready to leverage the alleged leverage of the [infrastructure bill] with Manchin and Sinema. “

But even if Tuesday goes south for McAuliffe, Democrats insist that Congressional decisions are just one of many factors that will affect the final vote. And progressives defended their position on Monday, already arguing that they would not be responsible for a loss to McAuliffe.

“Everything has an impact on everything,” confirms Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). that the candidate gets to the people. “

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy was delighted with the Democratic misfortune even before the Virginia elections closed.

“Their whole game plan has always been against Trump, and now that people are talking about politics, they are in trouble,” said McCarthy.

The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure package nearly three months ago with the support of all 50 Senate Democrats and 19 Republicans. Since then, Warner and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Also a former governor, have been pushing for their House colleagues to pass the bill to help McAuliffe.

Given the proximity of the polls, the state’s two senators still say every little bit helps.

“I wish they did and I’m just really selfish,” Kaine said. “In Virginia, it would have been helpful to have these invoices completed in mid-October instead of mid-November.”

Nicholas Wu and Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.

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