Dem Civil War Erupts With Name-Calling, Leaks

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Chaos has erupted within the Democratic Party after a member of Congress leaked the contents of a caucus meeting Friday as moderate and left-wing members work toward passing an infrastructure bill and a social spending package.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initially promised a group of moderates, led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, that she would hold a vote for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) on Thursday. However, Pelosi delayed the vote after failing to reach an agreement with left-wing members of her party, who will not vote for the package unless the Senate passes the as-yet unwritten Build Back Better Act through the reconciliation process.

House Democratic leaders will confiscate cell phones from members ahead of a Friday afternoon full caucus meeting with President Joe Biden, after one member leaked the entire contents of Friday morning’s full caucus meeting to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman.

California Rep. Jared Huffman, a member of the left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), slammed the leaker as a “schmuck” and a “coward,” while moderate Abigail Spanberger of Virginia suggested that Democrats hold caucus meetings in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).

The leaks were the latest salvo in a two week period of late nights, tensions and name-calling, as party leadership attempts to pass the IIJA, the Build Back Better Act and a debt ceiling increase. President Joe Biden signed a temporary government funding bill on Thursday, which avoided a government shutdown. (RELATED: Democrat, Republicans Accuse Rashida Tlaib Of Anti-Semitism As Iron Dome Debate Devolves Into Shouting Match)

Moderate Democratic senators Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have taken the brunt of the criticism from left-wing Democrats, and have fired back with shots of their own. After Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar accused Manchin and Sinema of being closet Republicans, Manchin slammed her priorities as “fiscal insanity.”

“He’s saying that the president is insane,” Washington Rep. and CPC chairwoman Pramila Jayapal shot back.

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, also a member of the CPC, has made jokes about both Manchin and Sinema for their concerns about the Build Back Better package.

Pocan asked if Manchin “also demand[ed] only green M&Ms” after his requirements for the reconciliation package were made public.

“Half of Manchinema has now shown us something. Waiting for the other half to show us something other than a designer purse,” Pocan quipped to Forbes after Manchin’s requirement that the reconciliation package cost no more than $1.5 trillion was made public.

Deputy Whip Debbie Dingell issued pleas for respect and told CNN’s Brianna Keilar that name-calling is “not a useful thing,” and that she believes lawmakers “should treat each other civilly.”