LEESBURG, Virginia – Rebel democrats have rallied to an embarrassing internal battle over government spending. All factions are now dedicated to bridging differences over the broad ideological spectrum that characterizes the caucus.
Kumbaya's insurance will soon be put to the test, as Democrats quickly embark on high-stakes debates on health care, climate change and immigration – complex issues that will certainly impose the determination of party leaders who strive to maintain a united front in a very diverse context. caucus.
Meeting at their annual Northern Affairs Conference in Northern Virginia, enthusiastic Democrats challenged the media. Lawmakers on all sides joined political party leaders in denouncing recent reports of a caucus at war.
"You're all wrong," the President Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia of Alesandro Pelosi Trump officials have proposed to resettle migrants in "sanctuary cities": report it: McConnell report: Pelosi occupying his own "Liberty Caucus" liberal The message is there a massage or slam supporter? MORE (D-Calif.) Told reporters. "We have a unified caucus. But if it allows you to say that we are boiling, you are on the wrong track. But you can waste your time on it as we go ahead with what we are going to do for the American people. "
"Hello," said the President severely before leaving the room.
Shortly before their three-day event, which ended on Friday, Democratic leaders were forced to defer a vote on a two-year budget deal because of widespread public outcry over proposed spending levels – a difficult start to a retreat designed to highlight the party's unity. 100 days in their new majority.
But just one day after the vote postponed, outside of Washington's eyes, these same progressive leaders played down any division, saying their strategy was simply to send a message saying that they wanted more participation in the training. expensive legislation. The ability of Democrats to succeed in spending, they said, will not be affected at all.
"It does not mean anything," said Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanDemsed Dems Seeking to Consolidate Liberals Surprised by Tax Vote Promise to Remove Omar's "Free Folder" Provision on Stephen Miller: "I Have not Forgotten My Roots" MORE (D-Wis.), Co-Chair of the Progressive Congressional Caucus (CCP), to lead the opposition to the spending agenda. "Generally, that's what kind of thing happens in September. Our leaders were just trying to do it a bit early, but obviously they did not do it with enough consultation. "
Representative added Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressives threaten to derail a major spending proposal for Facebook, Google faces tough questions facing white nationalism Strong legislation on Medicare for all is like negotiating a strong union deal MORE (D-Wash.), The other CCP co-chair: "We made it very clear that the Progressive Caucus needs to be consulted."
In many ways, the ideological tensions within the democratic caucus were an inevitable consequence of their new majority in the House. Democrats have taken over the lower house because centrist freshmen have reversed dozens of GOP party seats in red-hot districts. But the mid-term members of 2018 also used the liberal base of insurgents a lot, coming into force to protest President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: Presidential Candidates Should Be Required to Disclose Their Tax Returns Hillary Clinton said that Assange had to "answer for what he had done" after his arrest, Herman Cain should withdraw from the Fed's review: NEXT report.
The resulting group of Democrats is the most diverse in Canadian history, with women and other minorities making up more than half of the caucus. It is a dynamic that has a real influence on the party's legislative agenda.
"Entering a 60% caucus of women, people of color, LGBT people and beyond really transforms the conversations that have always been the priorities of the Democratic Party," said the representative. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria, leader of Ocasio-CortezGOP in 2020: we need a referendum on socialism & # 39; Ocasio-Cortez: attacks against the GOP are an "incitement to violence" Against Women of Color Ocasio-Cortez Blames Crenshaw for Omar Attacks: "You Refuse to Sponsor the 9/11 Victims' Compensation Fund" PLUS (D-N.Y.). "Who is here is changing the way these priorities are discussed and how they are legislated."
Here at Lansdowne Resort and Spa in a northern Virginia district, where the Democrats overthrew an outgoing GOP president in the fall, they were too happy to present their diverse caucus. The leaders recruited a dozen new students to the House to meet with journalists, including Ocasio-Cortez, and representatives. Jahana HayesHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her place, Dems under fire that brakes the resolution of Omar PLUS (Connecticut.), Susie LeeSuzanne (Susie) Kelley LeeMORE (Nev.) And Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanWhitaker Takes on the Grill of House Legislators MORE (Pennsylvania.).
At the last press conference at the retreat, Pelosi was surrounded by African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian legislators, as well as liberals and centrists.
"We thought about it. We have emphasized the possibilities and, more importantly, this caucus has become a family, "said one of those centrists, the freshman representative. Dean PhillipsDean Phillips, Forest Whitaker, partners with lawmakers to launch a new peace initiative. Booker quickly takes the initiative in 2020. The importance of moderate voters PLUS (D-Min.). "A family of diversity all over the country, of different races and religions, different professional backgrounds and even political perspectives."
"We need to start talking more and twitter a little less. And that's what we did, "he added.
Democratic leaders have understood this diversity as an asset.
"Our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power," said Pelosi, patting a favorite phrase.
But if the retreat was meant to promote unity, it also accentuated some of the underlying divisions facing the new majority of Democrats.
For example, different factions of the party are competing for legislation to raise the minimum wage. Although all parties agree that the rate needs to rise, the Liberals are standing up for a proposal of a floor of $ 15 hourly nationwide.
"No matter where you live," said Pocan.
Although this proposal has more than 200 co-authors, it faces the resistance of the centrist Democrats who advocate for an alternative bill, sponsored by the representative. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCongress should review his own taxes and travel expenses, not just those of Trump. To protect the vote, we must protect the courts. Dems introduced bills to restore the provision of the Voting Rights Act MORE (D-Ala.), Which allows greater regional flexibility. According to her, the minimum wage in Tuscaloosa is expected to reach $ 11.50 per hour by 2024.
"My approach is simply a recognition that the cost of living may be different from the country where I live, I am obviously willing to sit at the table to talk about it, because we are all resolved to raise the salary minimum. "
If the conference of democrats had any theme, it was the commitment of all parties to settle their differences. Many have rejected the idea that conflicts are really important.
"The funny trope that centrists disagree with the progressives," said Rep. Jim HimesThe testimony of James (Jim) Andres HimesBarr opens a new partisan fight for Trump spying by the FBI Three other women lay charges against Biden after making a commitment to change Behavior Two other women blame Biden for inappropriately touching MORE (D-Conn.), Former NDP President, is "largely wrong".
"We are committed to working with all the ideological caucuses within the Democratic majority to achieve concrete results," said Himes, "so that next November … we can go to the American people and say," You trusted us with the majority, we worked together, we settled our differences and got good things for you. & # 39; "
Democratic leaders react to the latest controversy around rookie Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez: Attacks on GOPs are an "incitement to violence" against women of color Ocasio-Cortez denounces Crenshaw's attacks on Omar: "You refuse to sponsor the fund. 9/11 victims' compensation after a dramatic arrest MORE (D-Min.).
Progressive founder and one of two Muslim Congress women, Omar unleashed a storm after delivering a speech saying "some people did something" on 9/11 – words that Republicans and conservative experts tore up as a reference too flippant to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Progressive leaders, including Jayapal and Ocasio-Cortez, defended Omar, who has received numerous death threats. But Vice President Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Senate Candidate, told MSNBC that Omar's remarks were "offensive" and "offensive".
On Friday, Pelosi did not seem particularly happy to be asked about Omar's latest flop, as Democrats do their best to project unity. But the President said that she would reserve her comments until she had the opportunity to speak to Omar personally.
"I call them before calling them. I hope so to hear from him, "Pelosi told the press.
Omar, a Somali refugee wearing a hijab in public, is part of the diversity that defines this 235-member democratic caucus.
Freshman Rep. Lori TrahanLori A. TrahanPelosi, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez place transgender pride flags outside the Capitol Hill office Booker quickly takes the initiative in 2020 (D-Mass.), Referring to the budget impasse, said that diversity is a considerable asset, as long as it is efficiently exploited.
"It's not always neat, sometimes it's messy, because you put a lot of different perspectives [forward], Says Trahan. "But when you do not have multiple and multiple points of view, you do not reach such a good location."