Pelosi Goes for Broke
Category: Op/EdVia: vic-eldred • 3 weeks ago • 6 comments
By: By The Editorial Board
Can Nancy Pelosi bull-rush her few House moderates and Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema ? That seems to be her strategy this week as she prepares to jam a $3.5 trillion ( really $5 trillion ) tax and spending bill through Congress.
Mr. Manchin recently wrote in our pages that he favors a “strategic pause” on the spending bill to assess its economic impact and take more time to debate specific policies. Sounds sensible. But Speaker Pelosi doesn’t do pauses, especially in what she views as her legacy project to turn the U.S. into a European entitlement state.
She keeps moving on the spending bill she calls “transformative” to appease her left flank. The Budget Committee marked it up this weekend. She’s hoping this movement will be enough to pass the Senate infrastructure bill through the House this week. Her expectation is that passing that bill will be enough to buy off the swing-district Democrats to sign up for her entitlement project. These Democrats haven’t shown any backbone to date, so it’s a reasonable bet.
The bigger imponderable is whether she and President Biden can bludgeon hesitant Senators into submission. Mrs. Pelosi promised her caucus any bill will be pre-negotiated with the Senate before a vote. But she may have to break that pledge, and many House Democrats have already taken votes in committee that could end their political careers in 2022.
For Mrs. Pelosi, legislative success on her terms is all that matters. The party’s fate in 2022 is incidental, since she’s likely to retire and once entitlements are in place she figures Republicans will lack the fortitude to repeal them. The Speaker will keep marching even if it breaks her own majority.