Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar complained that she “did not envision having Republicans as part of our party” while talking about two fellow Democrats to reporters in the Capitol on Monday night.
“It is saddening to see them use Republican talking points,” Omar said of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. “I hope that they will understand that Democrats need to be united behind the president’s agenda and we need to have urgent conversations about how to get this agenda done.”
“We have about twelve members in the House, in the Senate, in the Democratic Caucus who are, you know, an obstacle to getting this done,” Omar followed up during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. “They would like to make the public believe that the Progressive Caucus is blocking these bills from passing. It is the opposite. We know that if we don’t pass these two bills, the president’s agenda will not pass. So we are consistent in having the president’s back and supporting the whole agenda.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed the Senate 69-30, with 19 Republicans supporting the legislation. However, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, has made clear that it will not provide the votes necessary for the $1.2 trillion package to pass the House of Representatives unless the Build Back Better Act passes first. (RELATED: ‘They’re Not All Candyland’: Ocasio-Cortez Threatens To Tank Infrastructure Deal)
In response, a group of moderate Democrats led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer has made clear that they will not support the $3.5 trillion social spending package, expected to pass the Senate via the reconciliation process, until the IIJA passes the House.
Manchin and Sinema have also expressed concern about the Build Back Better Act, including the package’s overall price tag and specific provisions such as a subscription drug pricing mechanism and a carbon tax. Manchin even suggested that Democrats should wait until 2022 to pass the Build Back Better Act due to inflation concerns.
Despite their closed-door negotiations and Omar’s claim that Manchin and Sinema are “Republicans,” the two senators have actually voted with Biden more often than Omar and her fellow “Squad” members, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley. Manchin and Sinema have voted with Biden’s position 100% of the time during his presidency, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, while Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley have voted with him 91.4% of the time.
Most recently, the four left-wing representatives held up a government funding resolution due to its provision of Iron Dome funding to Israel. The funding ultimately passed in a separate vote, 420-9.