The Wall Street Journal on centrist House Democrats folding on $3.5 trillion budget outline:
The Kabuki theater production of House Democrats closed off-Broadway on Tuesday after a very limited run. The vaunted showdown between nine or so “centrists” and the party’s progressive wing ended with a whimper as the centrists settled for a token procedural promise.
Faux crisis averted. Nancy Pelosi takes another media turn as a legislative wizard — a Tony award nomination may be coming — and the progressive juggernaut moves on to try to pass $4.5 trillion or more in spending and the biggest tax increase since 1968. This was all so predictable.
The centrist Democrats had insisted that they wouldn’t vote for the progressives’ $3.5 trillion budget outline until the House first considered the Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. In the event, they settled for a classic political fig leaf. The House voted 220-212 for a rule that “deems” the $3.5 trillion outline passed — which is supposed to be a political victory because it lets the centrists claim they didn’t directly vote for the resolution.
But of course the resolution passed and allows Congress to move ahead with the reconciliation process that requires only 51 votes in the Senate to pass a budget bill. This is what Bernie Sanders needed to move his agenda through the Senate.
The centrists are also crowing that Mrs. Pelosi agreed to a House vote on the Senate’s infrastructure bill by Sept. 27 — presumably before Democrats have completed the legislative text of all the details of their $3.5 trillion plan. Yet even this may not be much of a promise, since Mrs. Pelosi didn’t secure the support of her left flank. The 100-strong Congressional Progressive Caucus on Tuesday reiterated that its position is “unchanged,” and that it will vote against the infrastructure bill until a final reconciliation package is complete.
In the end Mrs. Pelosi strongarmed every Democrat to support this charade, even Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, who in late June said he opposed any budget resolution given that trillions more in spending was “unwarranted.” He and his fellow travelers folded faster than President Biden did to the Taliban.