The rift between the moderate and far-left Democrats in Congress only grows deeper by the day.
The latest defeat for divided House Democrats is the fact that they were unable to reach an agreement on a relatively mundane budget caps deal, a humiliating development for Speaker Nancy Pelosi just shy of the 100-day mark of her new Congress.
Budget cap bill pulled prior to vote
Politico reported that Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders were forced to pull the bill from the floor prior to a vote once it became clear there would be no agreement among the caucus to pass it.
The problem stemmed from a fundamental difference of opinion on federal spending between the leftists of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the more moderate Blue Dog Coalition.
While the proposed bill would have raised spending caps for both defense and non-defense spending, the higher limits weren’t enough for the progressives, who demanded tens of billions more in non-defense spending.
On the other hand, the moderates balked at the increased spending in light of their concerns over the annual deficit, which is set to exceed $1 trillion.
Democratic wings split
Making the failure all the more stunning is the fact that this bill wasn’t even really meant to ever become law. In essence, it was little more than an opening bid in budget negotiations with the Republican-controlled Senate, according to Bloomberg.
The failure to reach an agreement on something as mundane as spending caps sent the divided caucus back to the drawing board to hammer out their differences.
In an email, House Budget Committee chair John Yarmuth told Bloomberg, “There are further conversations we must have to reach consensus between the wings of our caucus, left and right.”
Meanwhile, as the House Democrats attempt to reach an agreement among themselves, Pelosi is set to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for discussions of their own on a two-year deal that would increase spending caps.
Threat to Pelosi’s leadership?
How Pelosi’s move past the caucus to negotiate with Senate Republicans will be accepted when her own base is wracked with discord remains to be seen. While the power move could succeed in ending the internal debate — for now — there is certainly a risk that it could ignite even more in-fighting and rebellion.
As of right now, however, things don’t look good for Pelosi’s continued hold on power, and this defeat certainly doesn’t help matters for her.