It seems that Rep. Nancy Pelosi has lodged her response to Sen. Joe Manchin's threat to leave the table regarding the Democrat reconciliation play.
Manchin threw a brush-back pitch earlier today, putting it out there that he's comfortable with pausing Biden's entire agenda until 2022, Pelosi is apparently eager to keep ramming her head into a brick wall. That's not exactly surprising given how overrated her political acumen is. I'm sure she'll eventually win that battle, right?
Tonight, the House Majority Leader released a statement that can only be called delusional given the realities of the situation in front of her.
NEW letter from Pelosi to house Dems
“This week, we must take decisive action on proceeding with the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation.” pic.twitter.com/D1hI1igcuS
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 21, 2021
It's hard to imagine that Pelosi could be so out of touch that she actually believes a $3.5 trillion package is going to still happen, but here we are. In fact, she signals in her statement that the real problem might be House Democrats thinking $3.5 trillion is too low, something I've mentioned being a problem given how dug-in the far-left appears to be. But when Manchin has already said he's concerned about inflation (as he should be) and wants to keep the price tag closer to $1 trillion, how does any compromise get made here? Remember, there's already a $1.2 trillion, separate bipartisan infrastructure deal waiting to be passed as well.
I mean, look at the list of giveaways Pelosi is demanding. Action on “climate,” free childcare, free college, universal pre-K, more ACA subsidies, an expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, and a partridge in a peartree. She then ends by saying that this bill is just the beginning of their spending spree. It's like she wants to crash the economy and make a dollar worth less than a sheet of toilet paper. Perhaps collapsing the system is the point, though?
But again, what leverage does she actually have to do anything she's pushing? I'm not seeing any. Pelosi can flail about all she wants, but if Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (who also recently told Biden to stuff it) won't go along with the big-spending plan, then it's dead in the water. The phrase “cut your losses” comes to mind, but Democrats, including their leadership, seem content to keep celebrating while being down four touchdowns.
Far be it from me to give Pelosi advice, but I'll do so for giggles…just this once. She should tell the radicals in her party to shut their mouths, get in a room with Manchin and Sinema, and pare down the reconciliation bill to around $2 trillion. Punt on the insane climate provisions, forget the immigration aspects and take the wins on childcare credits and more government healthcare spending. I suspect the moderates would go along with that in the end.
Pelosi has painted herself into a corner, though. Does she take the side of her left flank or throw a bone to the moderate faction of her party that's staring at annihilation in 2022? As of now, it looks like she's content to keep having her face meet that brick wall. And to be honest, that's just fine with Republicans who are happy to sit back and watch it all burn.