Nov 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jayapal touts power of progressives after big midterm gains

A group of incoming Progressive Caucus members takes a selfie at the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A group of incoming Congressional Progressive Caucus members takes a selfie at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on Sunday highlighted incoming members of her group and touted the CPC's growing power within the House Democratic Caucus.

Why it matters: Jayapal has been a central player in Congress' legislative fights over the last two years —even withholding her caucus' votes in order to get a vote on progressive legislation.

What they're saying: During an event at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., Jayapal said that 15 of the 18 candidates the CPC's political arm had won their elections as of Sunday, with another win potentially on the way.

  • “There’s no question this will be the most progressive Democratic Caucus in decades,” Jayapal said, adding that they will have over 100 members in the 118th Congress compared to their current membership of 99.

By the numbers: Jayapal was joined at the press conference by nearly a dozen incoming members.

  • They were: Morgan McGarvey (Ky.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Robert Garcia (Calif.), Shri Thanedar (Mich.), Maxwell Frost (Fla.) Jasmine Crockett (Texas), Jill Tokuda (Hawaii), Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Greg Casar (Texas), Becca Balint (Vt.) and Jonathan Jackson (Ill.).

What caught our eye: Jayapal didn't offer a direct answer when asked if she would support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for another term as Democratic leader — or if she herself planned to vie for leadership.

  • “We always consider all the people who are running very carefully, and we usually have a set of things we ask for as the Progressive Caucus," she said in response to the question about Pelosi.
  • She also laid out parts of the CPC's legislative agenda: Abolishing the debt ceiling, reinstating the Child Tax Credit, expanding Medicaid through budget reconciliation, antitrust reform and DREAM Act immigrant protections.

What they're saying: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a Progressive Caucus member who was at the event, told Axios of Pelosi, "She's just moving a step at a time and continues to say we have this path to victory, dealing with an attack on her husband, she has a few things on her plate."

  • "So my sense is she has not reached out, really, to anybody in a serious way" about running again, Schakowsky said — though she added that younger members waiting in the wings are "of course" laying the groundwork to run if Pelosi doesn't.
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