Five new arrivals are drawing inspiration from the liberal squad and preparing to shift the party leftward. Rep.-elect Summer Lee (D-Pa.), one among two Justice Democrat-backed politicians to win, said legislators determine the agenda.
It’s to rule, develop policies, and make the best case to convince others. She said that’s what liberals must do, majority or minority — enhancing what’s possible will be powerful.
If Summer Lee is "looking to the squad," I'm looking to see her primaried. After the crap they pulled foolishly voting against infrastructure, offering threadbare excuses, I question their judgement and I have absolutely no use for so-called progressives against actual progress. https://t.co/jHJMaYNmAP
— Seth Warren (@illusionofjoy) December 29, 2022
They’ll join a youthful, diverse, and liberal Democratic Caucus. It’s possibly friendlier than four years ago when the initial group of four progressive members was a target for Republicans and moderate Democrats.
Lee and other politicians look to the six-member group as a model of the power similar-minded senators can hold while having little congressional authority.
Rep.-elect Greg Casar (D-Texas), the second Justice Democrat-backed candidate to be elected last month, said many in his class and alignment were energized because they knew they would recapture the House by a majority in two years.
They contribute liberal energy, particularly among minorities, working-class groups, and young people, he said.
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), Reps.-elect Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Becca Balint (D-Vt.), Lee, and Casar have a text thread where they discuss news stories, policy ideas, humor, and puppies.
Rep.-elect Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress, is jokingly called “Mr. President,” and Rep.-elect Morgan McGarvey (D-Ky.) is their bourbon supply.
“nine newly elected members, all of whom were endorsed by Our Revolution. That includes: Summer Lee, Greg Casar, Delia Ramirez, Maxwell Frost, Becca Balint, Andrea Salinas, Jasmine Crockett, Jonathan Jackson, and Val Hoyle. “ ~ Joseph Geevarghese December 2022@JosephGeev
— David Peterson (@PetersonForCA) December 21, 2022
Ramirez and Lee plan to house together in costly D.C. to save money. Ramirez, who earns a six-figure congressional income, spoke frankly about her financial troubles, which required a roommate.
She cited credit debt, medical bills from two miscarriages, her freelancing spouse, and a mortgage. Many members-elect mentioned the liberal group as a template for how they wished to rule.
First-term Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) camped on the Capitol steps last year to protest the expiration of an epidemics eviction moratorium. The Biden administration continued the freeze days after her protest.
Bypassing the Opposition
With a GOP-controlled Congress, passing liberal legislation will be difficult. Instead, they’re ready to press the Biden administration to accomplish policies through administrative measures, however short-lived.
Casar said he wants tighter overtime restrictions and worker safeguards from the Biden administration. In the next term, he’ll be CPC Whip.
Casar is used to battling the GOP and exploiting loopholes. His time on the Democratic City Council in Austin, Texas, was highlighted by statewide Republicans’ attempts to bypass much of their local laws.
This includes when the legislature pushed local authorities to enable police to question suspects’ immigration status. Casar claimed the city nullified the GOP-led measure by implementing the legislation.
In the minority, the group plans to set Democratic goals and drive harsh intraparty talks. Lee wants to stop outside expenditures to discredit progressive politicians, for example.
She faced a torrent of outside funding in her run, especially from the pro-Israel organization AIPAC, which made her bid surprisingly competitive.
She added the flood of money affects progressives, black and brown people, and women who are attempting to break into a challenging system.
“It’s disadvantageous.” She continued, “Money must be prioritized in politics. The party’s progressives are under siege.”