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Progressive lawmakers reflect on wins and losses in Biden's first 100 days

May 1, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.7%. 2 min read.

Progressives in the House were apprehensive when Joe Biden stepped into office -- the President was an unabashedly moderate Democrat and ready to cut deals with Republicans, many of whom he had known longer than some progressive members of Congress had been alive.

Multiple progressives in Congress have told CNN they feel that they have more than just an ear with the White House, with multiple meetings, behind the scenes negotiations and a keen President resulting on what many believe was a win on the president's first priority -- a coronavirus relief package.

"It's pretty remarkable," the progressive congressman told CNN, adding that Klain's responsiveness is not unique to him -- he has heard the same from other progressives since Biden entered the White House.

These relationships, said Khanna, helped the Biden administration when passing their first priority, a Covid relief package, even if the package did not include some key progressive priorities like a $15 minimum wage.

Ocasio-Cortez echoed that sentiment -- "I think a lot of people thought the Covid bill was going to be worse, I'll be honest," she said -- but the progressive champion added that there were serious conversations about the caucus withholding their votes when a minimum wage hike was stripped from the overall package.

Ocasio-Cortez said the saga highlighted how progressives in the House are focused on "fights that we can win," an acknowledgment that overcoming the eight Democratic votes in the Senate opposed to a minimum wage was too high a bar for the caucus to defeat.

And despite the warm feelings between House progressives and the Biden White House over the first 100 days in office, a minefield of issues loom over the relationship, highlighted most recently by the Biden administration's less-than-clear approach to Trump-era caps on refugees entering the United States.

The most pressing of those looming fights -- and one that will be a test for the working relationship between the White House and House progressives -- is the Biden administration's latest push on reforming the nation's infrastructure.

The fate of the ongoing relationship between progressives and the White House becomes increasingly precarious when considering progressives are feeling the pressure of needing to deliver on their campaign promises made to voters ahead of the 2022 midterms.

A key reason for that is because of pressure from outside progressive groups, many of whom have organized to both hold progressive leaders to their promises and push the Biden administration to listen to those progressive lawmakers.

"It's clear that the Biden-Harris administration was listening" Mitchell said, referring to the organizing done that resulted in tangible progressive wins in the American rescue plan.

by summa-bot

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