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Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46) speaks at a press conference as his fellow Blue Dog Coalition co-chairs, Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), stand behind him. Photo: Courtesy of the Blue Dog Coalition

Moderate Democrats in Congress are asking President-elect Joe Biden for classified, bipartisan briefings about the recent Russian cyberattacks on the U.S. and for intel assessments of how China may be seeking to exploit the pandemic.

The big picture: These are among the Blue Dog Coalition's recommendations in a letter to Biden that calls on Democrats to stick to legislation both parties can get behind, around the pandemic, economic recovery, government reforms after the Trump era and holding foreign adversaries accountable for interference.

  • "The 117th Congress is going to be narrowly divided, with a slim Democratic majority in the House, and at best, a narrow Senate majority," said the letter signed by 15 of the group's members.
  • "Our nation faces major challenges as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Americans are sick of Congress playing partisan games."

Between the lines: The letter is as notable for the long list of progressive policy priorities it doesn't mention as for what it does.

  • The coalition, which lost seats in the last election, is comprised of lawmakers who represent politically moderate districts throughout the country.
  • The rise of progressive activists could further threaten moderates in the 2022 midterms if their swing-district constituents believe Democrats aren't getting enough done or are being pulled too far to the left.
  • "Pursuing partisan legislation that cannot make it to your desk for your signature will not only hinder the nation's recovery, it will further feed into the divides in our country," the letter said.

What they're saying: "If we have a five-seat majority, any five people can get together and block something, right?" Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who signed the letter, told Axios.

  • "The question is — can you actually get something done, is — a whole different issue... it's gonna take building coalitions of those who want to govern. So to do that you're gonna have to work with both sides.
  • "It might mean that in instances, in the House, that we say, 'Listen, we're gonna lose five members of the far left, but we can pick up five Republicans.'"

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

McConnell defends filibuster: "You don’t destroy the Senate for fleeting advantage"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.

Top Democrats introduce bill to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2025

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A group of top Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years.

Why it matters: The policy, which has widespread support among Democratic lawmakers, aligns with what President Joe Biden has called for in his emergency COVID-19 relief package. It would more than double the current minimum wage of $7.25.