Democratic leaders believe they will always have unified support in their caucus – no matter how small – to pass a series of carefully negotiated bills on good governance, prescription drug pricing, drug testing. universal track record for gun purchases, voting rights, and new protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“We did a lot of work in the last Congress to learn more about these bills, to socialize them, to talk to our constituents, and we all voted on these bills,” said Representative Katie Porter of California. , an outspoken progressive who just won a second term in a traditionally conservative Orange County district. “It makes it much easier to move these bills to the next Congress.”
That may be true, but most of them were written with little hope of gaining Republican support or becoming law. If Democrats are to legislate next year on possible consensus issues such as infrastructure, prescription drug pricing or criminal justice reform, they will need to incorporate the contribution of a Democratic White House with its own preferences. and Republicans whose support in the Senate would be crucial. to any legislative achievement.
Things could quickly get complicated. Complex bills require a careful balance between interests and compromises, and any change threatens to overthrow it, reigniting fights between Democrats.
And the situation in the Senate, where Democrats will have a majority of one vote at best and a supermajority of 60 votes is needed to move most major laws forward, makes matters even trickier. But while Senate control will only be decided after two January ballots in Georgia, the party’s competing power centers in the House are positioning themselves to wield maximum power regardless of the outcome.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the group of nearly 100 of the most liberal members of the House, recently passed rules in an attempt to centralize operations around a single leader in order to exert more influence within the Democratic ranks. . While its members reject comparison to the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, which banded together when Republicans had a majority to hold major bills hostage, the changes raise the possibility that what had been a relatively amorphous group from like-minded lawmakers can grow into a more disciplined group. voting block.