Meet the Mod Squad

You’ve heard of The Squad. Now, meet the Mod Squad.

Nine moderate House Democrats — Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA), Ed Case (D-HI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jared Golden (D-ME), Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Filemón Vela (D-TX) — have sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi explicitly stating for the first time that they “will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.”

For those who believe in two-party solutions and don’t want to risk seeing the Senate’s hard work on the infrastructure measure go to waste, this is a move as bold as it is exhilarating.

There will surely be more twists and turns but the Mod Squad has made an important move. The Progressive Caucus will surely have its say as well. But the right thing for the country is to fulfill the will of the people, President Biden’s agenda, and the bold action of the Senate and get the bill to the White House as the next action of the House.

Punchbowl says the letter “is going to get the House Democratic leadership’s attention. … This is as firm a threat as this group of moderate Democrats has made. And if they hold together, they can prevent Pelosi from passing the House Democratic budget resolution” this month.

The NYT calls the pledge “a major rift that threatens the carefully choreographed, two-track effort by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to enact both a trillion-dollar, bipartisan infrastructure deal and an even more ambitious — but partisan — social policy measure.”

Pelosi can afford to lose only three votes in all, and with progressives threatening to block the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate bill is not also advanced, the NYT says “it would appear that Ms. Pelosi faces a stalemate.”

The choice for legislators interested in making actual progress on these much-needed infrastructure upgrades is clear: Hold a vote on the Senate bill — passed on a wide bipartisan vote — as soon as possible, on its own merits.

A straight up-or-down vote on the popular Senate bill has the chance to be another bipartisan achievement.

There are plenty of things in the Senate bill that should appeal to House Republicans. In 16 key House districts held by Republicans, solid majorities back the legislation, according to our recent No Labels poll. The bill is backed by both major business groups and influential unions, and will create millions of jobs over the course of the next decade.

Republicans have proudly backed infrastructure investments and upgrades for decades. Dwight Eisenhower built the interstate highway system. Ronald Reagan lauded “the outstanding network of roads and highways that spreads across this vast continent,” and called “freedom of travel and the romance of the road…vital parts of our heritage and they help to make America great.” Reagan warned, “We simply cannot allow this magnificent system to deteriorate beyond repair.”

President Biden also has an incentive to press Pelosi to hold a House vote on the Senate bill as soon as she can. Biden has touted his devotion to bipartisan solutions, but passage of bipartisan legislation in a president’s first year has become less and less common. This is Biden’s chance to prove that commitment.

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