Are Progressives in Congress Getting More Assertive?
For two years, congressional progressives have largely taken orders from the Obama administration. They've certainly fought the good fight, but at the end of the day, progressive lawmakers haven't really shown a willingness to defy the administration in any make-or-break kind of way. But that may now be changing.
In the last few days we've seen evidence that progressives may be more assertive in the coming weeks and months. Exhibit A is this from Nancy Pelosi in response to the White House's attempt to pass all of the Bush tax cuts:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not give ground on her opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, even as the White House and other Democrats have signaled that it might be time to compromise.
"It's too costly. It's $700 billion," Pelosi told NPR this morning. "One year would be around $70 billion. That's a lot of money to give a tax cut at the high end. And I remind you that those tax cuts have been in effect for a very long time, they did not create jobs."
Anti-war Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) says he will force a vote on a hard date for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan on the heels of reports they could remain there at least through 2014.
Kucinich said Wednesday that he will force a vote via privileged resolution at the beginning of the next Congress on ending the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2011.
I'm not one of those people who thinks all is lost because of the last election. My hope has always been that an electoral wake-up call might make congressional progressives more assertive with an administration that destructively fetishes bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake. These two pieces of news suggest that this wake-up call dynamic may be in the works.