Pelosi, the moderates and the progressives: Speaker’s shifting alliances as she pushed Biden’s spending plans
“At the end of the day, things change, situations change,” R Street Institute senior fellow James Wallner said of Pelosi’s rapidly changing alliances. “What lawmakers are concerned about is outcomes, and they think about this is – anything is OK as long as it gives you that outcome… They’re just changing their means to reach the same ends.”
But Wallner said that delay was eventually key to infrastructure passing first.
“I don’t think that the New York mayor’s race turned on the… House not passing infrastructure, or tying it to a reconciliation bill… The New Jersey race, the Virginia race, these races weren’t about that,” Wallner said. “But the way we interpret it matters. And so far as members of Congress, they’re interpreting it as if it was about them, and it was about the kind of overreach of the progressives.”
“Pelosi ended up, you know, I think she had enough information at that point, and she basically called the bluff of the progressives,” Wallner said.
Of her reversals between pushing for both bills at the same time, then for infrastructure first, then for both, then for infrastructure, Wallner said, “That’s not hypocritical.”
“I think from a leader’s perspective, their policy preferences kind of recede into the background. And what they’re really concerned about is just success in any shape or form that they can sell, that they can then claim credit for and win elections,” Wallner said. “And so you just change whatever it is you need to do to get wins.”