Pelosi Cuts Deal With Progressives and Guarantees She Will Be Speaker

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who will co-chair the House Progressive Caucus next year, left a meeting with Nancy Pelosi late Thursday night and immediately announced that she would support Pelosi as Speaker of the House. She also proclaimed that Progressive Caucus members would have more seats on powerful committees in the new Congress, and thus would have much more influence over legislation.

She then tweeted:

For the next two years, as we lead into 2020, and are coming off this big wave, we need someone who is smart and strategic and has done this before. I fully support @NancyPelosi, a strong and progressive leader, for Speaker of the House.”

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Jayapal then told POLITICO in an interview:

“No one can really doubt Pelosi’s progressive chops. And I do think, for the next two years, as we lead into 2020, and are coming off this big wave, we need someone who is smart and strategic and has done this.”

This started a true love fest, as Pelosi then tweeted her praise of Jayapal.

Thank you @PramilaJayapal for your hard work and leadership. I look forward to serving with you and to advancing our shared commitment to progress #ForThePeople in our next Congress. -NP”

None of this was coincidental. It’s just how Washington works. In short, Pelosi cut a deal with the left wing of her party to make sure she would get their votes for Speaker.

It was also a master stroke by her to unify the party and solidify the backing from various powerful progressive groups around the country.

After concluding her meeting with Pelosi, Jayapal placed calls to the leaders of MoveOn and Indivisible with the news, and they promptly tweeted out support for Pelosi.

Shortly thereafter other liberal groups announced they were supporting her for speaker also.

Ben Wikler, the Washington director of MoveOn tweeted:

This is huge. Nancy Pelosi has committed to put Progressive Caucus members—including newly elected progressive champs—on the most powerful committees in the House. Proud @MoveOn is working with @USProgressives and @TeamPelosi to empower a new wave of leaders fighting for change.”

Jayapal, who also is co-founder of the House Medicare for All Caucus, said she did not support in any way the Pelosi critics who are trying to oust her as Democratic leader.

“That drive is not going to take us in the direction that we should go,” Jayapal said of the effort to depose Pelosi. “It’s going to be the opposite of what the election really told us, which is a much more diverse, progressive, bold agenda.”

The deal Pelosi cut with Jayapal shows that in 2019 The House Progressive Caucus will have much more influence. Once the new members are seated it will increase its membership by at least 20 members, and represent about 40% of House Democrats.

This is not a group of wallflowers. They are in Congress to get things done. They plan to use their power to advance their agenda.

The first thing they will do is get important committee assignments and leadership positions. After that, they will start proposing legislation to advance the progressive agenda, such as Medicare for All or “single payer” healthcare.

On Thursday we reported that:

“Democrats in support of single payer healthcare will push for a vote on their controversial healthcare legislation in the House of Representatives after they take control in January.”

The list of items on the progressive agenda looks like it was lifted from the campaign platform of Bernie Sanders. As the Democratic Party increases its influence in Washington the left wing of the party will also increase its influence. And the next thing they have set their sights on is the presidency in 2020. Given their power and enthusiasm, it is certainly within their reach.