October 22, 2021, 10:44

Deadline day brings delayed reckoning for progressives: The Note

Deadline day brings delayed reckoning for progressives: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The clash of Democrats has been put off through eight months of the Biden presidency — and was largely sidelined by four years of the Trump presidency before that.

There’s nothing new about the Democrats’ moderate vs. progressive split, except for the stakes, and a little baseball diplomacy doesn’t really change them. Thursday’s delayed deadline for a House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package could again be pushed off, amid uncertainty and mistrust now seeping throughout the party’s ideological spectrum.

Progressives are clamoring to clarify what a few — really just two — Senate moderates actually want, a cause the White House has joined. But it’s what a far larger group of House progressives want that casts uncertainty over the $1.2 trillion package that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said would get a vote this week.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talks with reporters after departing a House Democratic whip meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 29, 2021.

President Joe Biden sees his role as “working to unify Democrats,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, amid criticism that he’s only focusing that work on a small handful of inscrutable senators.

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Yet it’s House progressives who are threatening to scuttle what would be a huge Biden accomplishment. For their wing of the party, Biden was far from a first choice in the presidential primaries; their favored candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, still isn’t technically even a Democrat, though he came close to the Democratic nomination twice and now wants his House colleagues to vote against the bill he supported in the Senate.

When the Senate cleared the infrastructure bill in early August, Biden declared it a validation of his governing style and more: “We proved that democracy can still work.” But this week, it can only still work if Biden has full control of the Democratic Party.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Three congresswomen will divulge the details of their own abortions in testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday. The lawmakers are sharing deeply personal stories amid an onslaught of restrictive abortion legislation in states.

Elizabeth Frantz/ReutersU.S. Representative Cori Bush walks down the steps of the Capitol, Sept. 27, 2021.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) are slated to share their own abortion stories to illustrate the importance of access to reproductive care. As Lee’s account predates Roe v. Wade, she said she will chronicle her trip to a “back alley clinic in Mexico” to receive the procedure.

“I survived, and why it’s so important now for me to tell the story is, I don’t want any woman to ever have to go through that,” Lee told NBC News. “I know what that back alley looked like. I know what that dark light looked like … I see it right now. I’m one of the fortunate ones.”

The hearing on reproductive rights will focus on protecting the right to abortion guaranteed by Supreme Court precedent after the passage of restrictive abortion laws in states such as Texas.

It also comes just before the start of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court’s October term. The nation’s highest court will hear arguments in a case on Mississippi’s abortion law this fall, setting up a high-stakes decision that could determine the future of Roe v. Wade.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

An intense confrontation between state officials and anti-vaccine mandate protesters at an executive council meeting in New Hampshire on Wednesday left government workers fearing for their lives, according to ABC affiliate WMUR. The situation got so dire that Gov. Chris Sununu postponed the meeting, calling the threats aimed at state workers “incredibly disappointing.”

Scott Eisen/Getty Images, FILENew Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu speaks during a dinner in Manchester, N.H., June 3, 2021.

“State Police had to escort state employees to their cars after unacceptable, unruly behavior. This meeting is being postponed until our state employees can go before the council in a safe and orderly manner. The items on today’s agenda will be brought up at a later date,” Sununu said in a statement following the incident.

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According to the governor, the protesters appeared to believe a scheduled vote by the council to approve funds to promote COVID-19 vaccines would result in the state somehow losing its decision-making authority over vaccinations. Sununu told WMUR that assertion was “not true.”

Last month, the governor criticized Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers, calling it “federal overreach.” As one of just three Republicans at the helm of states with blue-leaning electorates, Sununu is likely to continue facing criticism over his approach to vaccine promotion on both sides of the aisle. His take on one of the country’s most salient policy debates is also likely to weigh into 2022 prospects, given that he would be a top Senate recruit for Republicans in what is sure to be one of the nation’s most high-profile races.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Thursday morning’s episode features the latest on Britney Spears’ conservatorship battle with ABC News’ Kaylee Hartung in Los Angeles. Then, ABC’s Matthew Vann breaks down the debate among Catholics over the COVID-19 vaccine and religious exemptions. And, ABC News Senior Investigative Reporter Aaron Katersky reports on the shocking conditions at New York City’s jail complex, Rikers Island. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive the president’s daily brief at 10 a.m.
  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing on abortion rights and access.
  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve’s response to the pandemic.
  • The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m.
  • The House meets for legislative business at 10 a.m.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki gives a press briefing at 1 p.m.
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