Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Left wins one - Punchbowl - Rep. Cori Bush is winning

I defamed Punchbowl for their coverage of a big win for the activist left in my earlier post.

Nina Turner Loss, Cori Bush win on rent relief - Lessons for the left

I rarely do this but I complained and received an initial response from one of the head honchos Jake Sherman and then a follow up: 

This is John Bresnahan from Punchbowl News. I saw your email asking why we didn’t say more on Rep. Cori Bush’s protest in our A.M. edition today. I wanted to be sure you saw our A.M. edition from yesterday, Tuesday. We covered the protest pretty thoroughly, including an interview with Rep. Bush. Thanks for being a reader. I really do appreciate it.  Bres

By the way -- even the free morning editions is a must read politically -- in the trial I was getting it 3 times a day and each was a deep dive. Even if I paid I couldn't keep up. Subscribe: Your referral link is:

Rep. Cori Bush is winning.

The Missouri Democrat's sit-in protest over her party’s botched handling of the eviction moratorium has lasted four days. She’s been joined by colleagues, other members of the Squad and a growing number of supporters. And now, it’s exceedingly clear that the Democratic Party’s leadership and the White House have a problem on their hands.

This very vocal group of junior lawmakers want to extend the federal eviction moratorium, but the leadership says they don’t have votes in the House to do it. Furthermore, Democrats don’t believe they have 60 votes in the Senate in the face of solid GOP opposition. And President Joe Biden’s administration doesn’t think it has the ability to extend the moratorium on its own.

Bush, though, has refused to back down, and she’s helped put the White House and Democratic congressional leaders in a tough spot. Bush has been camped out on the House steps since Friday, sleeping sitting up in order not to draw warnings from the U.S. Capitol Police. The above photo is after she met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in his Capitol suite Monday.

And Bush’s protest is gaining momentum. It’s become a scene, with TV cameras rolling and young people singing. There was even an appearance by a visibly ailing Rev. Jesse Jackson on Monday evening. Jackson had been arrested early in the day during a protest over voting rights, but he still made sure to drop by Bush’s sit-in.

What we’re seeing here is a fascinating exercise of outside political power -- the kind of power that's difficult to successfully deploy. Bush has drawn the attention of the media as she sits outside the Capitol, and that in turn means attention from the administration and senior members of the Democratic leadership. These kinds of demonstrations rarely work, but in a one-party government with tight margins in both chambers, everything needs to be taken seriously. 

Bush is putting pressure on Biden to resolve this situation, at least in the short term. She wants him to extend the eviction moratorium -- which expired July 31 -- even if it’s later struck down by a federal court. That would buy some time for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer to attempt some legislative action to resolve the situation.

“I think the quickest way to get this thing done is for our president to go ahead and get this thing done by an executive order and get it done. He can get it done right now,” Bush insisted during an interview Monday night. 

Bush is firm in when she’ll end her protest: “It ends when we win, it ends when we win. It ends when we don’t have to worry about this moratorium at this point. It ends when we get to say, ‘Okay, we got a little bit of time. Let’s go ahead and get to work to get a bill done so Congress can actually act.’ That’s when it ends for me.”

Bush, 45, is a freshman legislator, yet she’s certainly captured the interest of Democratic party elders. Vice President Kamala Harris and Schumer came to see her on Monday. Schumer told her to call him at any time if she needs anything. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made an appearance too.

When we stopped by, Bush was juggling interviews with CNN and MSNBC. Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.) were there. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) was there. There was some chanting and praying. You don’t typically see this on the East Steps of the U.S. Capitol.

“This is spontaneous political combustion, and it’s building and building,” said Markey, who was first elected to Congress in 1976. “It’s just growing each hour into a national movement.”

This is an old story on Capitol Hill. The rank-and-file wants something that the leadership can’t deliver. In this case, instead of simply saying that the game is up, the leadership and the White House continue to obliquely suggest it’s possible. The House Democratic leadership is publicly pressing Biden to take action. And at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that’s been a bit frustrating because administration officials believe their hands are tied -- although, publicly, White House officials say they’re checking whether they might be able to do it. 

All this energy leads to the questions we are focused on, and the one that you should be focused on: Just how big of a problem is this for Biden? How big of a problem is it for Pelosi? And how much anger is there between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and Biden’s White House?

The answers are: Pelosi is skating at the moment because all of the anger -- and we mean all of it -- is aimed squarely at the White House. The anger is real, and it’s tangible.

“Once [the House] left, it was just generally accepted that this was going to lapse, and that there was nothing that we could do about it,” Ocasio-Cortez told us. “And Congresswoman Bush and I were kind of just sitting here at a loss after that rush to adjournment. And we just knew that we simply could not accept this.  … We now have Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer that is hopping on board and pushing back on the White House and the administration. And so my hope is that this ends with the Biden administration using its authority.”

Ocasio-Cortez sent an email to her political email list yesterday, urging people to keep the pressure up on Congress.

The larger question is what happens if the White House can’t find a way to extend this unilaterally? With a bunch of important legislation in the coming weeks, do Bush and Co. try to hold them up to ensure the inclusion of the eviction moratorium? Our bet is yes -- especially with the tight margins in both chambers. 

The Coverage:

WaPo: “Liberals erupt in fury at White House over end of eviction moratorium,” by Sean Sullivan, Marianna Sotomayor and Tyler Pager ...

AP: “White House calls on states to prevent evictions,” by Josh Boak and Lisa Mascaro ...  “Landlords, tenants fill courts as eviction moratorium ends," by Michael Casey and Philip Marcelo in Providence, Rhode Island


The Coverage

WaPo: “Liberals erupt in fury at White House over end of eviction moratorium,” by Sean Sullivan, Marianna Sotomayor and Tyler Pager ...

AP: “White House calls on states to prevent evictions,” by Josh Boak and Lisa Mascaro ...  “Landlords, tenants fill courts as eviction moratorium ends," by Michael Casey and Philip Marcelo in Providence, Rhode Island]


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