Progressives Refocus After Manchin Stymies Build Back Better Bill Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks during an interview as House Democrats work on infrastructure and spending bills on Capitol Hill on Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 22 December 2021 11:39 AM
Progressive lawmakers angry that the Build Back Better Act hasn't been passed intend to refocus their energies on passing certain parts of the bill piecemeal and talking up achievements heading into next year's midterms, The Hill reported.
"We absolutely are going to do that," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Hill.
Progressives were livid at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who Sunday said he would not support President Joe Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social spending and climate legislation.
Liberals suggested Manchin had not negotiated with Biden in a reasonable manner.
Late last week, Jayapal and Biden discussed formulating comprehensive talking points to let voters know what Democrats had accomplished under tough circumstances.
"The president said to me when he called me last Thursday that they were working on making sure we have a really big education campaign about exactly what we’ve accomplished," Jayapal said.
"There's no contradiction in talking about what we have accomplished under a Democratic president and Democratic Congress and also talking about what we still need to do."
Convincing moderates and independents of accomplishments might not be easy following a disastrous U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, the current ongoing surge of COVID-19 infections, and the highest inflation in nearly 40 years.
Many polls have indicated that Republicans are in a good position to reclaim control of both the House and Senate in the 2022 elections.
With many Democrats in despair, Jayapal convened a Monday night meeting about urging the White House to sign parts of the Build Back Better legislation through executive action, The Hill reported.
Jayapal and other progressives are pleased they separated Build Back Better from the bipartisan infrastructure bill and forced Manchin to continue negotiations.
"Joe Manchin ended the year by proving progressives and their desire to use leverage to get something done completely right," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
"He basically proved the point that the Progressive Caucus was right to exert maximum leverage possible to get right up to the finish line."
Other Democrats, however, say it's better to back away from the massive bill for now. They suggested focusing on discussing policies — including protecting abortion rights — that have been effective for the party.
"It would have been incredible to go into 2022 with BBB and all the critical support it provides for regular Americans. But that's not going to happen," Democrat strategist Max Burns told Fox News.
"Democrats need to remember there ARE other winning issues out there. They aren't doomed just because Manchin knifed BBB. Democrats still stand behind a host of very popular issues."