Peacock progressives are threatening to hold COVID relief hostage over minimum wage. Call. Their. Bluff.

If you climb on the roof of a tall building, step on the edge, and yell out that you are going to jump, you will get a ton of attention - including, likely, from the local fire department - even if you have no intention of actually jumping.

Certain alt-leftists in the House are presently engaged in similar behavior. They are mildly threatening that they might vote against the president's COVID relief package wholesale if it comes back from the Senate without a $15 minimum wage provision - as it is sure to under the rules of the Senate. CNN reported on Tuesday that several members of the show-gressive caucus, let's call them, are "weighing" withholding their votes from the final package on account of a single provision.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said her caucus is "leaving it open" as to whether the left might tank the entire bill. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a freshly minted freshman member of the ultra reactionary 'squad', says Democrats should follow Republicans in adopting perpetual conflict and grievance as legislative mantras because that makes them look like they're 'fighting." Rep. Rashida I'll-boo-Hillary Tlaib framed the threat to withhold her vote as merely obeying the command of her constituents.

They are bluffing and not even pretending not to. And others who are usually aligned with them are pushing back.

Rep. Ro Khanna, who represents yours truly in Congress and who has been begging the White House to usurp Congress's constitutional prerogative to make its own rules in a banana-republic kind of way, said he's nevertheless unwilling to make the minimum wage provision within the COVID relief bill a litmus test. Khanna added that he hopes others won't, either. Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, both former chairs of the Progressive Caucus, also poured cold water over the idea that progressives should kill $1400 direct checks, $1600 a month in additional unemployment assistance, massively expanded subsidies for families with children, money for vaccinations, and a whole host of other real progressive policy and funding priorities over a single agenda item.

This type of hand-wringing from the showboating left is nothing new. Tlaib and Bowman's ideological predecessors did the same thing during the legislative wrangling over the Affordable Care Act. The House had passed a version of Obamacare with a strong public option, but the Senate had stripped out the provision in order to get 60 votes, which it needed because the bill shifted the very paradigm and regulatory structure of health insurance in America, not just made budgetary changes. The showgressive left of the time did their best to try to sink the entire bill - prohibitions against pre-existing condition discrimination, Medicaid expansion and all - but ultimately failed (thank God).

Back to present day and the minimum wage provision, the real reason some leftists are going down the path of threatening the entire COVID relief package is because they believe it might provide them leverage in some Hail Mary pass to pretend the Senate rules simply don't exist. They know that, ultimately, it is their preference for seeking out the limelight over doing the hard work on legislation that doomed the $15 minimum wage, and more frighteningly for them, they know that for a minimum wage increase to be eventually approved by Congress, they will have to get their hands dirty and engage in the much-dreaded practice of compromise, better known as governing.

Theirs is not really a cry to increase the minimum wage. In reality, theirs is really a cry of 'please don't make us do the work we are elected and paid to do!'

Further, they also know that if they went through with their threats and actually sank the COVID relief legislation, some form of COVID legislation will still pass, but with Republican votes. In order to get those Republican votes, Democrats will be forced to severely pare down the bill, perhaps more in line with a $600 billion bill that a group of Republican senators had proposed and expressed confidence could receive enough Republican votes to pass. Something like it will pass if leftists tank the $1.9 trillion bill because Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House will not simply give up on COVID relief. Shockingly, that pared down legislation will not have a $15 minimum wage, either.

Such a move would do more than simply drive COVID legislation to the mercy of Republicans. It would destroy whatever power the left does have within Congress. Every negotiation on every piece of legislation from that point on will be negotiated with Republicans and therefore more conservative than they need to be, and leave out the far left, who will been as pariahs in the Democratic caucus.

That's the problem with taking a hostage. Sometimes, your ransom will not come through, and once you shoot the proverbial hostage, nothing will stop the SWAT team from breaking through the doors. I do not think the showgressives have thought this move through.

They got nothing.

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