House Democrats will be clinging to a razor-thin majority during the upcoming session due to the party’s underwhelming performance in congressional races across the nation in November. Nevertheless, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to retain the position without a significant challenge.
Some in her party’s far-left wing, however, hope to make Pelosi’s continued speakership contingent on her bringing a “Medicare for All” package forward for a vote on the House floor, according to Fox News.
“Millions of Americans are struggling”
The fledgling movement is gaining traction via social media with the hashtag #ForceTheVote, and it reportedly has support from prominent progressives in Congress who plan to withhold their support for Pelosi unless she promises to hold a vote this month on the ambitious plan to implement socialized healthcare nationwide.
In a statement, the initiative called this “a rare moment where Pelosi needs something from progressives,” promising to make the most of the opportunity.
“We put the Squad and House progressives in office to stand up to Nancy Pelosi, establishment Democrats, and the insurance corporations that fund them,” the organizers said.
A related website is promoting an upcoming town hall discussion among left-wing thought leaders who will be making their case directly to progressive lawmakers.
“Tens of millions of Americans are struggling without health care in the middle of a pandemic and we have a fleeting opportunity to bring Medicare for all to the floor of the House for a vote,” the post asserted.
“Cuts both ways”
The group went on to claim that the proposed legislation “is overwhelmingly popular and forcing the vote has enormous support in the progressive movement.”
As explained in one section of the website, the initiative’s goal is crystal clear: “We demand that every progressive in Congress refuse to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House until she publicly pledges to bring Medicare for all to the floor of the House for a vote in January.”
As The Dispatch explained, Pelosi is attempting to unite two divergent schools of thought within her party. While some analysts believe she and the establishment wing will tighten their grip of power even further, others see a possibility for the growing progressive faction to band together, thus forcing party leaders to make significant concessions on policy issues like healthcare.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told The Dispatch that her party’s slim congressional advantage “cuts both ways,” describing it as “tough because we have to make sure that we cobble together a winning majority, but also it’s solid because we’re able to push a little bit more.”
In the immediate aftermath of Election Day, however, Pelosi expressed confidence that she will receive another term as speaker, describing herself as “the best person to go forward to unify, to negotiate” on behalf of her caucus, as The Hill reported.