The debt ceiling standoff between the Republican–led Senate and the Democratic House continues, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D–WA), chair of the House Progressive Caucus, is not afraid to show her disapproval. Last week, she warned of “a huge backlash“ not only amongst the entire House Democratic Caucus, but “in the streets“ as well. And during a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” she didn’t mince words.
“The Democrats do have to worry about getting support from progressives when it comes to any kind of deal struck between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–CA.),” she said.
Jayapal made clear her displeasure with Republicans over work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She accused them of wanting to “hold our economy hostage” and repeatedly called them “extreme MAGA Republicans.” Yet, the opinion polls are clear – the majority of Americans support such work requirements. Further, these are the same policies that Biden, during his time as a senator, advocated.
Though Jayapal did not make it clear how she’d vote on the debt ceiling agreement, she fully embraced her minority view shared during the segment. She also argued that Democrats didn’t have the votes last year to raise the debt ceiling. This is due to the “conservative Democrats and/or independents in the Senate [who] refuse to take action.”
McCarthy, on Fox News‘ “Sunday Show,” alluded to the fact that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D–NY) told McCarthy that the bill doesn’t contain “one thing for Democrats.” Though Jeffries later disputed the comment, this serves as evidence that Democrats too weren’t completely satisfied with the proposed agreement.
Jayapal then took it upon herself to once again urge citizens to elect more Democrats in the Senate so they can take action on the debt ceiling. She said the debt ceiling load “should just be raised automatically” since “we should not allow people to continue to take us hostage.”
As two of the most powerful forces in Congress go head to head, a worrisome future is in the making. Biden and Democrats may find gaining support from progressives to be particularly difficult if they make too many concessions to Senate Republicans. We’ll just have to see what happens when the House votes on Wednesday.
Until then, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and other progressives have made their wishes known – Democrats should not cave to GOP demands that could risk the economy and reject policies that the American people already support.