House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sharply criticized some of her fellow Democrats Thursday for voting with Republicans.
It happened at a closed-door caucus that pitted moderates against progressives, reports Politico.
“This is not a day at the beach,” Pelosi was quoted by two sources. “This is the Congress of the United States.”
Despite holding a majority in the House, Democrats have lost two important procedural votes recently — including one yesterday — because moderates, many of whom are vulnerable to losing re-election, have chosen to vote with Republicans on “motions to recommit.”
Such motions offer the minority party “one last shot at changing legislation before it receives a final floor vote,” Politico says.
Pelosi reportedly offered such vulnerable Democrats a carrot to go with her verbal stick. She said those with the “courage” to vote against Republican motions to recommit would get more help from party leadership and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
But the sources say that freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), who represents a conservative district, supported Wednesday’s Republican motion, “grew visibly emotional when speaking and pointedly said courage looks different to different people.”
Progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) “suggested she would alert progressive activists when Democrats are voting with the GOP,” according to Politico’s sources.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ocasio-Cortez said such procedural votes are “an extension of Trump’s tactics into the House, and we cannot legitimatize it, and we cannot allow for it, and we cannot support it.”
Also after the meeting, Pelosi said Democrats should always vote against the GOP motions because doing otherwise gives Republicans political “leverage.”
Politico notes that Republicans “stuck together” and never lost a single such motion between 2011 and 2019, when they controlled the House.
“There was one victory for Democratic leaders amid all the drama Thursday,” Politico says, they “easily defeated” a Republican push to amend legislation extending the deadline for federal background checks for gun purchasers.