Politics House Democrats name 32 members to Frontline program for reelection help
The $15 minimum wage could be the first major test of Democratic unity
Democrats may soon have to confront divides in their caucus on the minimum wage.On the procedural front, Democrats need to convince the Senate parliamentarian — an in-house expert who advises on the rules of the upper chamber — that the $15 minimum wage has a significant enough effect on the budget that it can be part of the reconciliation process. Because of a practice known as the Byrd Rule, any policy that’s not seen as sufficiently budget-related can be flagged for removal by the parliamentarian. (Democrats don’t have to abide by this decision, but there have been few breaks with such guidance in the past.
House Democrats will be on the defensive in the midterm cycle after narrowly holding onto their majority and losing many of their most vulnerable members in November.
They marked the terrain they’re going to work hardest to protect in that fight Monday with the release of 32 incumbents who will receive extra resources and support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Democrats sought to impeach conservative populism instead of Trump
Democrats must have conservative populism end with Trump; the best way to ensure it does is discredit it by linking it exclusively to him. To understand the threat, look again at the last two presidential contests.In 2016, Trump pried key states out of Democrats' Midwestern blue wall, allowing him to overcome a significant popular vote deficit. In 2020, Trump came close to doing so again despite impeachment, a pandemic, an economic crash worthy of the Depression and being seen by many as unacceptably divisive. Even facing those obstacles, Trump increased his vote percentage (from 45.9 to 46.
The list of members added to the DCCC’s Frontline program, provided exclusively to Roll Call, includes six whose districts voted for former President Donald Trump in November and 13 in districts that President Joe Biden carried by less than 5 percentage points. Eighteen of the incumbents on the list won reelection themselves by less than 5 points.
“As we head into this midterm election, House Democrats are prepared to hold our Majority by showing the American people we are delivering for them in this pandemic,” DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney said. “Meanwhile, our opponents voted against stimulus checks for working families, and instead of coming up with solutions to help the middle-class, they’re busy defending the violent extremists in their party.”
Stimulus bill: When will Congress pass Covid relief?
The major order of business for President Joe Biden and Congress is to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package before the round of unemployment benefits and other aid approved in December lapse, again leaving millions of Americans short of help. © Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images The Capitol is seen on a cold winter evening in Washington, DC, on February 18, 2021. What's riding on this negotiation is the $1,400 stimulus checks proposed by Biden even before he took office, as well as that extra federal unemployment money. Democrats have said they will get a bill signed by mid-March.
Two members who werewere dropped this time around. Jason Crow, in Colorado’s 6th District, won his race by 17 points and Biden carried the district by 19. The margins were closer for Josh Gottheimer, in NewJersey’s 5th District, but he finished the year with in the bank, plenty of money to start the next cycle in a strong position.
The DCCC added four members to the list who were not on it last cycle. Carolyn Bourdeaux’s 3 point win in November flipped Georgia’s 7th District. Peter DeFazio is in his 18th term in a district that was considered safe last cycle but that Biden only carried by 4 points. Vicente Gonzalez won his 2018 race in Texas’s 15th District by over 20 points but squeaked through by less than 3 points in November. Ron Kind, in Wisconsin’s 3rd District, was a Republican target in 2020. Trump won the district by 5 points.
Congress is writing up Biden’s stimulus plan. Here’s what’s in it.
Stimulus checks and UI, but not a $15 minimum wage: the state of the House’s stimulus bill so far.The House of Representatives has drafted and passed its version of the budget reconciliation package, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for those making up to $75,000 and $400 expanded weekly unemployment insurance benefits through August 29. It also contains a restaurant rescue fund, money for reopening schools, and Democrats’ long-sought-after funding for state and local governments, among other items. House Democrats included a $15 minimum wage provision in their version of the bill, but that’s a non-starter in the Senate.
Net 11 seats lost last year
House Democrats lost a net of 11 seats from the previous Congress, with 13 of their incumbents defeated. Eleven of them were Frontline members. Democrats also lost an open Democratic seat and picked up three open GOP seats. No House Republican incumbent lost.
Republicans are optimistic that they can build on that performance in the coming months, aided by the historic advantage of the out-of-power party during a midterm cycle.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the DCCC’s counterpart on the right, announcedlast month. Democrats have yet to release their offensive targets, but the majority of the DCCC’s spending so far this cycle has focused on Republican-held districts that Biden won.
With results of the 2020 census delayed, it will be a while before a clear picture of the vulnerable House members emerges. Data showing how the 435 House seats would be apportioned among the 50 states, originally due on Dec. 31, is not expected until the end of April, and it will be several more months until states get detailed local data needed to redraw district boundaries.
Democrats wrong to attack Senate parliamentarian
The path forward on the minimum wage is not procedural wizardry but leveraging the proposal’s broad public popularity.Democrats have known all along that some provisions they wanted to include in the relief bill might not meet the requirements for budget reconciliation. Chief among these was their proposed stepped increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Superficially, that looks more like a regulatory initiative rather than a fiscal one.
Campaigning begun on virus package
The Frontline announcement comes after House Democrats notched their first big win of the new Congress,over solid Republican opposition that the Senate plans to pick up this week.
The measure has already become central to campaign messaging on both sides of the aisle, within competitive districts that seek to portray the package as laden with unnecessary spending that benefits special interest groups.
Democrats, in turn, released videos attacking Republicans in 10 competitive districts Monday for voting against the measure.
“With their vote against the Democrats’ plan to get badly needed stimulus checks to the American people, Washington Republicans are once again refusing to take this pandemic seriously,” Maloney said. “From denying the seriousness of the virus, to refusing to follow the public health recommendations from Dr. Fauci and medical experts, to refusing to give American families the aid they need, they’ve made clear that they’re unable to lead us out of this crisis. House Democrats are making sure the American people know it.”
Here’s a full list of the Frontline members announced Monday:
Third stimulus relief plan: Here's what's in the Senate stimulus plan
The Senate on Saturday passed its version of the Democrats' massive coronavirus relief package, after the House passed its package last week. © Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images The U.S. Capitol building is seen at sunrise on February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers made several changes throughout the legislation, but three were particularly notable -- narrowing eligibility for the stimulus checks, trimming the federal boost to unemployment benefits and nixing an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Much of the Senate legislation, however, largely mirrors the $1.
- Tom O’Halleran (1st District, Arizona)
- Josh Harder (10th District, California)
- Katie Porter (45th District, California)
- Mike Levin (49th District, California)
- Jahana Hayes (5th District, Connecticut)
- Lucy McBath (6th District, Georgia)
- Carolyn Bourdeaux (7th District, Georgia)
- Cindy Axne (3rd District, Iowa)
- Lauren Underwood (14th District, Illinois)
- Sharice Davids (3rd District, Kansas)
- Jared Golden (2nd District, Maine)
- Elissa Slotkin (8th District, Michigan)
- Haley Stevens (11th District, Michigan)
- Angie Craig (2nd District, Minnesota)
- Chris Pappas (1st District, New Hampshire)
- Andy Kim (3rd District, New Jersey)
- Tom Malinowski (7th District, New Jersey)
- Mikie Sherrill (11th District, New Jersey)
- Susie Lee (3rd District, Nevada)
- Steven Horsford (4th District, Nevada)
- Antonio Delgado (19th District, New York)
- Peter DeFazio (4th District, Oregon)
- Susan Wild (7th District, Pennsylvania)
- Matt Cartwright (8th District, Pennsylvania)
- Conor Lamb (17th District, Pennsylvania)
- Lizzie Fletcher (7th District, Texas)
- Vicente Gonzalez (15th District, Texas)
- Colin Allred (32nd District, Texas)
- Elaine Luria (2nd District, Virginia)
- Abigail Spanberger (7th District, Virginia)
- Kim Schrier (8th District, Washington)
- Ron Kind (3rd District, Wisconsin)
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Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 .
Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, announced on Monday that he won't run for reelection in 2022 — marking the latest high-profile retirement for Senate Republicans. © Greg Nash Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) "After 14 general election victories - three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections - I won't be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate next year," Blunt said in a video. Blunt, 71, said that he will finish out his current term, which runs through 2022. He's the fifth Senate Republican expected to not seek reelection.Sens.