Pelosi Warns Moderate Democrats to Fall in Line and Stop Helping GOP
In a closed-door meeting with Democrats on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ripped into moderates within the party, telling them they needed to start voting as a unit with Democrats and stop helping Republicans win procedural votes.
According to reports, Pelosi warned moderates who voted with the GOP to amend two recent bills that their questionable loyalty could come into play in the 2020 election. Specifically, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee might decide that it’s not much of a priority to help the moderates win re-election in their home districts.
Pelosi was incensed after Republicans managed Wednesday to secure a motion to recommit, successfully adding an amendment to a gun control bill that Democrats were excited to send over to the Senate as a unanimous block.
The latest defeat came on Wednesday, as the House debated legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales — a position overwhelmingly favored by Democrats. When Republicans moved to amend the bill to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement be told of any undocumented immigrant who tries to buy a gun, 26 Democrats voted with the GOP. The language was added to the gun bill, spoiling an important Democratic legislative achievement.
An earlier GOP motion condemning anti-Semitism was successfully attached to a House resolution barring U.S. involvement in the Yemeni civil war. That maneuver, which was backed by every Democrat, later caused parliamentary problems in the Senate and upended Democratic attempts to challenge President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
To the moderates, Pelosi reportedly declared: “This is not a day at the beach. This is the Congress of the United States.”
Pelosi was undoubtedly displeased with what she viewed as misplaced loyalty on the part of the moderates, but she was also probably feeling some pressure from her left flank. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned moderates that she was making a list and checking it twice, and that she would begin shaming Democrats who voted with Republicans on procedural motions. She complained to her network of liberal activists that Democrats nearly forced her to vote against the background checks bill, simply because it would have meant supporting the enforcement of immigration law.
It’s not too surprising to see the Democrats in disarray this early in their leadership tenure. The split in the party between moderates, liberals, and outright socialists has been on the verge of fracture for the last two years. With the presidential campaign set to get underway (and Ocasio-Cortez’s star on the rise), that fracture could burst at any moment. When it does, it’s going to be a sight to behold.