Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib is set to give an official response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address March 1, according to Politico. She is expected to call out members of her own party for leaving parts of Biden’s agenda “unfinished.”
The speech will be hosted by the Working Families Party (WFP), a left-wing group that endorses left-wing members of the Democratic Party and rarely runs its own candidates. Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman offered WFP’s rebuttal to Biden’s 2021 joint congressional address. At the time, he praised Biden’s vaccination drive, while calling for a Green New Deal.
Tlaib is “going to be clear about how and why [Biden’s] agenda is incomplete. There are particular political actors, of course Republicans, but then a very niche, small group of obstructionist Democrats. And we’re going to name names,” Maurice Mitchell, the national director of WFP, told Politico, which first reported Tlaib’s speech.
Those Democrats will likely include Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, as well as Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, according to the report. Manchin and Sinema both objected to key provisions in the Build Back Better social spending package, while Gottheimer led a group of representatives in demanding a repeal on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap, which allows individuals living in high-tax states to pay lower federal taxes. (RELATED: ‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Manchin Blasts Build Back Better Negotiating Process)
Tlaib and fellow “Squad” members publicly fought with both Manchin and Sinema amid Build Back Better negotiations. Tlaib accused the Arizona senator of trying to make friends rather than “fighting for her residents’ future,” and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar claimed that both senators were actually Republicans.
“No one fought harder for Build Back Better and a pro-democracy agenda than progressives,” Tlaib told Politico. “The work is unfinished and we’re not giving up on what our communities deserve. We need to get as much done for the people as we can this year, and elect a majority that can deliver for working families in 2023.”
Left-wing members of Congress also served as roadblocks to key bills in 2021. The Congressional Progressive Caucus threatened to block the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) unless it was voted on at the same time as Build Back Better, delaying a vote on the IIJA for months. When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi brought the IIJA up for a vote, she was only able to pass it after thirteen Republicans voted in favor, since Tlaib and five other left-wing Democrats voted against it.
Tlaib was also one of eight Democrats to hold up a vote on government funding by refusing to include money for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. She later was rebuked by members of her own party for what many viewed were anti-Semitic remarks on the House floor.