House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has earned a reputation during her lengthy career in public office for a keen ability to unite her party caucus behind major bills presented on Capitol Hill.
That has apparently not been the case this year, however, as the Democratic agenda has been essentially stalled amid infighting between the moderate and progressive factions. Recent reports signal that the situation is negatively impacting her credibility in Congress.
Infrastructure provides modest win
Historical trends already dictate that the Democratic Party is likely to be swept out of power in next year’s midterm election.
That prospect has given a growing number of lawmakers in the party — and potentially Pelosi herself — sufficient reason to decide against running for another term.
For her part, the speaker’s efforts to advance a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill finally paid off when President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law earlier this week. The larger $1.75 trillion Build Back Better agenda, however, has already been massively scaled back and shows no signs of attracting support from both wings of her party.
A handful of Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the infrastructure package while the fate of the larger proposal remains up in the air. Pelosi sought to hold the bipartisan bill hostage for months in a failed bid to present both pieces of legislation for a vote at the same time.
Her failures to unite the party have led to increased questions about her leadership abilities, particularly has she has altered or ignored her own deadlines in the process of advancing Biden’s agenda.
Democratic infighting continues
Another problem facing Pelosi is the apparently tepid assistance she has received from the White House as lawmakers facing tough re-election battles do not see the upside in voting for a divisive bill that might not even make it through the evenly divided Senate.
Many moderates clearly saw the GOP win in that state as a repudiation of the far-left agenda being pushed by a large swath of the Democratic Party.
Progressives, on the other hand, saw it as evidence that the party had not gone far enough to the left.
As a growing number of House Democrats announce their exit from the chamber, it remains to be seen how much longer Pelosi will maintain her position of prominence in D.C.