A departing Democrat in the House slammed her party’s leadership for pandering to the far left at the expense of more moderate members. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), the chairman of the party’s “Blue Dog” caucus who declared in December that she will not seek a third term, told Politico that party leaders sought to “beat moderates into submission” during discussions over President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
For example, the party’s moderates resisted attempts by party leaders to persuade them to support a $1.8 trillion social expenditure package tied to a $1 trillion infrastructure measure. Though both finally passed the House independently, the former proposal has faced overwhelming Democratic moderate resistance in the Senate, with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin stating in December that he could not support it.
“I believed from the beginning that was a failed tactic,” Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, said of efforts to link the infrastructure and social spending bills. “I also felt that you can’t offer rainbows and unicorns when you know you won’t get the votes.” She also stated that, with Democrats having slender majorities in Congress, the party’s leaders had little “tolerance” for members voting in ways that may assist them to retain their moderate districts.
“It’s disappointing because I believe that in order for Democrats to maintain a majority, you have to be able to win in areas like mine as well as redder ones.” That means you have to give your members a little more leeway when it comes to voting in their district,” Murphy noted. “This march toward party unity will be damaging to our capacity to lead this country’s agenda.”
According to National Review Online, 31 House Democrats have indicated plans to retire before of the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans are expecting to reclaim the House majority following a succession of high-profile elections, including Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor campaign.
Rep. Ted Deutch, also of Florida, became the 31st House Democrat to declare his intention not to compete for reelection. “After more than 15 years of public service, I have chosen not to run for re-election in November.”
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My father, who received a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, instilled in me the value of public service, and it has been an honor to represent the people of Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Congress since 2010. “I am eternally thankful to my constituents for their love and support,” Deutch said in a statement.
“Serving the people of Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Congress has permanently changed me,” he concluded. “Since 2013, my colleagues have chosen me to oversee our vital Middle East foreign policy effort… This international policy activity has been a logical extension of my extensive links to the American Jewish community and my long-standing advocacy for the US-Israel alliance.
“Aside from foreign policy, we have witnessed an unprecedented surge in antisemitism in our own nation and overseas, and as the founding co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Combating Antisemitism, I have been at the vanguard of the Congressional response.”
This essential job, as well as the chance to accomplish it on a worldwide scale, is why I am announcing that I will not compete for re-election to Congress, as I have accepted an invitation to serve as the next Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee,” he said.
Several recent polls suggest positive news for Republicans seeking to retake control of Congress in the November midterm elections, including a big survey released last week by The Wall Street Journal, which showed the party making unprecedented gains among minorities.