Progressive caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal had to explain to CNN's Dana Bash why she's not going to negotiate with herself in public on final number for Bidens' Build Back Better bill.
October 3, 2021

The media has been doing their best to paint the very large progressive caucus as outliers on support for President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. The truth of the matter is, they're in line with the majority of the party, and it's the so-called "centrists" that are the very tiny minority, and causing all the trouble. Furthermore, the media loves the "Dems in disarray" narrative, and drumming up controversy where there is none. Both of those impulses were on full display during this interview this morning with the chair of the progressive caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and CNN's Dana Bash.

After opening the segment opining over whether Biden's "siding with the progressives" may have "caused real damage with the moderate wing," Bash asked Jayapal what all of this means about the progressive wing of the party. Jayapal reminded Bash it's progressives who are supporting what President Biden has said he wanted, and that it's actually a tiny minority of Conservadems causing the problems, so Bash moved onto the negotiations.

Bash asked about the $2.1 trillion number being floated by some in the party, and continually badgered Jayapal over whether that number was her "absolute floor." Jayapal repeatedly reminded Bash that what mattered more than the numbers was whether their priorities remained in the bill, that that was going to be the focus of their negotiations, and that they needed a counteroffer before she was going to talk numbers.

Bash tried one more time before Jayapal again had to explain to her why it would be foolish for her to negotiate this in public:

BASH: So, if we're not looking at numbers, what about 1.5, like, what Senator Manchin...

JAYAPAL: Well, that's not going to happen.

BASH: But why is that...

JAYAPAL: So it's going to be somewhere...

BASH: Why won't it add up to that number?

JAYAPAL: Because that's too small to get our priorities in.

So, it's going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5. And I think the White House is working on that right now, because, remember, what we want to deliver is child care, paid leave, climate change, housing.

BASH: Yes.

And I want to get to that, but I just -- so, 1.5 is too small, but you won't say if $2 trillion is too small?

JAYAPAL: Because I don't have a definite number yet. I mean, I don't have a counteroffer.


JAYAPAL: It would be like buying a house, Dana, and going into make an offer, and then somebody says, well, what's the lowest number you would take? Why would I do that?

BASH: Yes. OK.

The press cares more about the drama than the substance of what's in the bill, or why the so-called "moderates" have issues with portions of what's in it. It's much easier to concern troll over the top-line number as Bash did here than challenge Manchin and Sinema about their priorities.

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