Dog Unmoved by Alien Invasion Prank_ Funny Dog Maymo vs AliensYou know, it's like a gut punch to millions of people," Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the House Progressive Caucus, said about the $15-an-hour minimum wage coming out of President Biden's COVID-19 relief package. But she says her vote will be based on the bill as a whole, even though it doesn't include the wage hike.
Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET
President Biden wasn't many progressives' first, second, third — or maybe even 20th — choice in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
But ever since winning the party's nomination last spring amid the onset of the global pandemic and economic downturn, Biden has vowed to govern as the most progressive president since Franklin Roosevelt. He's even made a large portrait of FDR the centerpiece of his Oval Office to underscore that goal.
Many progressive lawmakers and activists say they're largely pleased with the early weeks of Biden's presidency, and the open doors, phone lines and Zoom sessions they've been met with by the White House.
Progressives are "strong partners in everything we do in this White House," said Emmy Ruiz, Biden's director of political strategy and outreach. "We view them as critical and key partners in the White House. They're an important part of that broad coalition that elected Joe Biden."
"Understanding I'm grading on a curve — it's not Bernie Sanders' agenda, and it's not Medicare For All, and it's not going to be a wealth tax. It's not going to be anything like that right now," said Faiz Shakir, an adviser and onetime campaign manager to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. "But in the areas where we can get the 50 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House and see how progressive we can be with it, well, I think we're getting near-best-possible outcomes."
Shakir played a role in urging Biden to record a video this week encouraging a unionization effort among Amazon warehouse employees in Alabama — a step that went far beyond how previous Democratic presidents have engaged in specific labor disputes. It led to big cheers from progressive quarters.
But whether Biden should seek 50 or 60 Senate votes for his priorities is now the source of the most public rift yet between a president who built his reputation on compromise and working with Republicans, and the progressive base he's spent the past year courting and drafting policy with.
Biden made a $15-an-hour minimum wage — a long-sought progressive goal — a part of his $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan. The House included the increase in the version passed last week with a party-line vote. But the Senate's parliamentarian ruled the proposal doesn't fit within the narrow and complicated rules that govern the chamber's budget measures, which can pass on simple majorities, rather than the 60 votes needed for most other bills to advance.
California Rep. Ro Khanna has led a House Democratic effort to pressure Vice President Harris, who also serve