Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., told Newsmax that the infighting among progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party over two massive spending bills may be a ''defining moment'' for its future.
''I think we're at a real defining moment for the Democrat Party right now, and it doesn't look to me like they're going to be able to get out of this,'' Comer said on Tuesday's ''American Agenda."
''The fact that [White House press secretary Jen] Psaki admitted that the Biden administration is only talking to Democrats really shows that they're tone-deaf as to this, and the fact that they're not trying to include Republicans. And they're not going to get the votes with Democrats, [which] leaves me optimistic that they're not going to pass this bill and do more harm to the economy,'' he said.
Democrats are trying to unilaterally pass a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill through Congress with several key elements of the party's agenda, including expanding Medicaid and Medicare, free prekindergarten, free community college tuition, and energy reform to battle climate change.
With a razor-thin majority in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate (48 Democrats, 50 Republicans and two independents), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., must have almost 100% Democratic support for the bill to pass.
Two moderate Democrats in the Senate, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, want to see the price of the bill drop, while House progressives led by the ''squad'' of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D- Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are pushing to spend the entire amount.
Republicans in Congress say they will not support the bill at all, leaving Democrats with almost no wiggle room if it comes to the floor for a vote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that high-level talks and negotiations were taking place between President Joe Biden's administration and Democratic lawmakers.
''We are having an important discussion about what a package that is smaller than $3.5 trillion would look like,'' Psaki said in Tuesday's press briefing. ''Those conversations have to happen with a range of [Democratic] members.''
She said the discussions are at a point where ''decisions have to be made'' regarding what elements may be cut from the bill to bring agreement to the caucus.
Pelosi said at her press conference Tuesday that decisions would be made in the coming days so the legislation can proceed.
''I'm very disappointed we are not going with the original $3.5 trillion, which was very transformative,'' she said. ''Whatever we do, we will still make decisions that are transformative.''
While indications from the White House and Pelosi are that the party's moderates are getting the lower cost they want, Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives are pushing to keep the bill at $3.5 trillion, writing to Pelosi, Schumer and Biden to keep funding for transportation and housing in the bill.
"We can't negotiate the reconciliation bill down to nothing," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Tuesday.
Comer said that the Republicans are likely to regain control of the House and Senate in 2022 because of the Democrats' seeming inability to govern despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress.
''The Democrats have been in complete control over the past nine months, and nothing good has happened,'' Comer said. ''Our economy has gone downhill. Our standing on the globe has deteriorated under Joe Biden's leadership, morale in our military's at an all-time low, and they have nothing in the works.''
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