Progressives Demand Biden Be a Dictator and End-Run Manchin

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

After the House Caucus meeting last night, the House progressives realized that no matter how much they tried to browbeat and otherwise intimidate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other potential holdouts, they weren’t just going to roll over and fall in line with their mammoth spending desires. Manchin has made clear that he’s not changing his mind.

The progressives have now issued a statement calling on Joe Biden to act by executive action and impose his (their) will on Americans — even if the Congress wouldn’t pass what the Democrats want. Can we call that an “attack on democracy”? They throw that term around but when they demand that things be done according to their will without passing legislation, it sounds like their actions are a much better fit for that term.

“Today, the elected leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is calling on the President and all Democrats who believe in the need to Build Back Better for climate, care, immigrants, and those seeking economic dignity and opportunity to come together and deliver for the American people. That means a whole-of-government approach. In Congress, we will continue to prioritize a legislative path for Build Back Better, focused on taking the current text of the legislation passed by the House, keeping as much of it as possible — but no less than the elements contained in the framework negotiated by the President and committed to by Senators Manchin and Sinema some months ago. We have worked too long and too hard to give up now, and we have no intention of doing so.

“In the meantime, the White House must continue to act on a parallel track by using the President’s incredibly powerful tool of executive action. The legislative approach, while essential, has no certainty of timing or results — and we simply cannot wait to deliver tangible relief to people that they can feel and will make a difference in their lives and livelihoods. We also believe that executive action will make it clear to those who oppose the legislative path, and continue to put hurdles in its way, that the White House and Democrats will ensure we deliver relief for people now. The Progressive Caucus will soon release a comprehensive vision for this plan of action, which will include immediate focus on actions that lower costs, protect the health of every family who calls America home in this time of surging Omicron cases, and show the world that America is serious about our leadership on climate action.

“A whole-of-government approach to the crises facing the American people must also include taking federal action to protect the right to vote. Just as we cannot wait for a few Senators to deliver economic relief to our communities, we cannot wait for them to deliver relief from the rampant voter suppression and denial of the people’s constitutional rights. We are encouraged by the dogged determination of our Senate colleagues to achieve this top priority, and Progressives in the House remain committed to seeing it through.

They say they’re going to detail a list of things for Biden to do by executive action.

We can’t wait to act for the Constitution or proper process, they’re saying, because we want what we want and we demand Biden give it to us. Hang the law because other members with sense might shoot down what they want. Do you know what that’s called, progressives? That’s called the legislative process, and if you can’t get it that way, you’re not supposed to get it. The president isn’t supposed to make law; that’s not the way the system works. But Democrats keep trying to twist the system into a pretzel.

So what did White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki say about this? Basically that they’re all on board with this — and that they would try to do it if they can.

“We have used executive authority and executive action for a range of steps to make a range of progress and the president has not hesitated to do that. The benefit of legislation is obviously it makes it permanent,” she said. “So there’s a lot of value in that.”

Now they can say that, but they also need to figure out where to get money to try to fund things, because again, that’s Congress’ purview. Plus, Biden would likely be challenged in court if they go all-in with such an effort. So, it’s not as easy as it might sound. But they also have shown they don’t care much about the law or what is proper. However, be prepared for that to come next.