A Friday morning interview on CNN with a top House Democrat revealed that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “had no knowledge” until this week of an understanding signed between West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in late July.
Democratic Deputy Whip and Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell revealed to CNN anchor Brianna Keilar that the deal reportedly struck between Manchin and Schumer was kept hidden from Pelosi.
“She did not know that,” Dingell said. “She had no knowledge of that until this week.”
The one-page document, obtained and released in a report by Politico on Thursday, detailed Manchin’s position on the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, including a $1.5 trillion cap for its total cost and a proposal to raise the income tax rate to 39.6 percent, the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent.
He also noted a condition that any revenue exceeding $1.5 trillion should be used for deficit reduction.
Schumer signed the document, but under his signature he scrawled, “will try to dissuade Joe on many of these,” Politico reported. The outlet did not specify which “Joe” Schumer meant — President Joe Biden or Manchin.
So far, Schumer has not made any statements explaining why he reportedly kept the late July understanding hidden from Pelosi, but it’s clear that his alleged decision to keep her in the dark has contributed to frustration and infighting inside the Democratic Party.
“Ten days ago, two weeks ago, she thought she was working with an agreement that was 3.5,” Dingell told Keilar during the interview. “I think a lot of people wish that they had known what’s being dealt with.”
“Any number in between” $1.5 trillion and $3.5 trillion is being discussed for the reconciliation bill, Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell says.
— New Day (@NewDay) October 1, 2021
Still, Dingell insisted that Pelosi is a master negotiator who will deliver on both the infrastructure and spending bills, currently totaling over $4.5 trillion.
“This is a woman who takes what’s been handed to her — the lemons — and ensures that it gets made into the lemonade that we’ve got to do,” Dingell said.
However, the representative acknowledged that infighting and name-calling within the party is a problem that erodes the American people’s trust in their government.
“One of the problems right now is that people don’t trust the United States Senate as to what they really will agree to,” Dingell said.
It also highlights the distrust that seems to be growing among the Democratic lawmakers.
this document reads to me like a sign of lack of trust on the Hill, a far cry from a time when a handshake was enough pic.twitter.com/K5G2HZLvSq
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) September 30, 2021
Referring to moderate Democratic holdouts Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Manchin, AOC said, “Their lack of homework is creating instability in the process. What we are seeing from the conservative side, this small cadre of people, is a fundamentally unserious pattern of negotiation.”
Manchin added to the tension in a statement he made on Wednesday, calling the $3.5 trillion spending bill “the definition of fiscal insanity.”
Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen criticized the progressive wing of his party for their activist mentality and unwillingness to compromise, citing inexperience as a major factor.
“My car is older than quite a few of the progressives,” Cohen said in a CNN appearance on Thursday, MSN reported. “You’ve got to get things done for the American people and it takes compromise.”
The squabbles led conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt to tweet a message to Republican leaders in the House. “Do nothing, say nothing, vote for nothing. When other side is busy tearing themselves to pieces, just get popcorn,” he wrote.
Hoping @HouseGOP knows to do nothing, say nothing, vote for nothing. When other side is busy tearing themselves to pieces, just get popcorn. Don’t provide votes for the infrastructure bill. They did the jam down, they should live w/ the jam down. https://t.co/YRy2erSZey
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 1, 2021
To add fuel to the fire, Pelosi described the Democratic discord as “amateur hour” in a private phone call in August, Politico reported.
NEW: In leadership call tonight, Speaker Pelosi is undeterred by threats from the Gottheimer gang to vote against budget resolution
“This is no time for amateur hour,” she said, according to multiple sources familiar w/ the call
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) August 17, 2021
Dingell told CNN that she hopes tensions settle so compromises can be made.
“We should treat each other civilly,” she said. “We should be working together bipartisanly, and name-calling is not a useful thing.”
“I just hope we can all really work hard to listen to each other, to respect each other and to figure out how we’re going to get this done together.”
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