Cori Bush Leads Small Group to Whimper As Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Gains Momentum

Image from official Congressional Twitter account, Cori Bush.

In a cliche of all Washington cliches, Rep. Cori Bush has penned an angry letter complaining about the bipartisan infrastructure package now gaining steam. And she got 10 of her colleagues to join her.
A whole 10.

To be fair, the letter - addressed to Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership - itself does not have a whole lot to object to in terms of what it says an ideal infrastructure package centered on addressing climate change should look like. Investment in renewables, focusing on frontline communities, and pouring money into public transit and passenger rail are all not just good ideas, these are ideas that President Biden's initial plan - many parts of which not covered by the bipartisan package now being pushed are slated to be covered with a reconciliation package - includes.

But the letter is being portrayed in the mainstream press as some sort of a coalescing of a progressive revolt against the bipartisan physical infrastructure plan that President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators have negotiated, and that's where the letter is utterly, mind-numbingly, pathetically weak. While ritual complaining about bipartisanship that has become a mainstay of extremists like Bush is included in the letter, it has no teeth.

The biggest thing to notice? There is no threat by the signatories of withholding votes for a bipartisan package.

The Bush letter, joined by both the rest of the far-left Squad and more mainstream progressives like Richie Torres, is simply a list of demands with no explicit promises or warnings about what would happen if their demands are not met in either the bipartisan physical infrastructure package - which the Senate is slated to begin considering as early as July 19 - or the reconciliation package Democrats are preparing on human infrastructure.

That is, in essence, a walk-back from previous threats by leftists in Congress of voting 'NO' on any infrastructure package (or combination of packages), that doesn't meet their climate demands, thus joining with the vast majority of obstructionist Republicans and helping tank the once-in-a-generation opportunity to actually get major infrastructure legislation done.

Perhaps there's a reason this letter does not make such a threat.

First, some of the signatories of Bush's letter had already backed away from a threat to kill the bill after White House counselor Steve Ricchetti met with the Congressional Progressive Caucus last month.

Second, and much more importantly, The number of signatories, at just 11, would have been woefully inadequate to be a real threat to House passage.

Although Democrats hold just a 220-211 majority in the House, and therefore it would appear that the defection of 11 Democrats would be more than enough to derail the legislation, in this situation, that isn't enough.

There is every indication that there would be a sufficient number of House Republicans who would vote for the bipartisan package to make the fringe-left defections meaningless. The Problem Solvers Caucus in the House - a group of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans - endorsed the bipartisan package this week, ensuring there will be at least enough Republican votes to make up for low-double-digit Democratic defections.

Under the caucus's rules, the group's Republican co-chair Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) explained yesterday, a proposal can only be endorsed by the caucus with at least 50% of members from each party (and 75% of all members) voting to back it. That means the bipartisan physical infrastructure package - the package the alt-left is griping about - can count on at least 15 Republican votes in the House. Not great, but enough to nullify 11 potential Democratic 'No' votes.

Second, Republican support is likely to grow, just as the strength of the far-left opposition wanes.

Just today, an unusual coalition of traditionally opposed business and labor groups - including the AFL-CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce - released a statement in support of the $1.2 trillion package in a major boost.

The unified labor-business support comes on the heels of a full-court press on behalf of the bipartisan deal by the White House. President Biden and Vice President Harris have taken their campaign for the deal on the road as the leaders of the Senate moderates who are spearheading the bill work to shore up support, and the coordinated campaign is already producing results. Local Democratic officeholders, including governors like Oregon's Kate Brown, are already backing the deal.

All things considered, it appears that the momentum for the bipartisan deal is growing, despite the fringe left's best efforts to kill it. In that light, the letter spearheaded by Cori Bush sounds much more like a whimper from a fringe unable to stop the momentum of major bipartisan legislation than a real threat against it on the offense.

But I do assume the letter will be hyped as a fundraising mechanism for the brocialist left, and I quite suspect convincing a few more gullible leftists to part with their money may have been the letter's real purpose.

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