Real Clear Politics | January 6th, 2022


"As congressional Democrats struggle to breathe new life into their stalled legislative agenda, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week told 'VIP' donors on a leaked private phone call that all party members need to brag about the House-passed version of the Build Back Better bill even as she cautioned her colleagues not to describe the multitrillion-dollar spending measure’s impact as too sweeping.

'So, this is transformative. But people tell me, don’t use the word ‘transformative.’ Just say it lowers costs,' she told supporters on the call. 'It lowers costs for health care — costs for families across America; it lowers cost of child care; it enables so much more to happen. So, we're very, very proud of the legislation. Now we just have to get it passed.'

It’s a message that Democratic leaders have been unsuccessfully pushing for months amid Senate gridlock on the “human infrastructure” bill they view as companion legislation to the $1.2 trillion traditional infrastructure measure enacted in November.

Recent polls, however, show that the flagging economy is the top priority for the majority of Americans who worry that President Biden’s agenda will continue stoking inflation – one of the main reasons why key Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin opposes Build Back Better. A CNBC Change Research survey released this week found that a whopping 73% of voters believe the economy is in “poor” or “not so good shape,” and 60% disapprove of Biden’s economic record.

In light of those numbers, there’s little wonder why some Democrats in tough election battles this year aren’t heeding Pelosi’s call to sing the praises of progressives’ vast social spending measure. With the party facing serious headwinds in the November midterms, five Democratic House challengers have been noticeably mum about their position on BBB, failing to publicly tout Biden’s top legislative priority, with no mentions of it on their otherwise active social media sites.

Christina Bohannan, a Democratic state legislator from Iowa City who is running in her state’s newly drawn 1stCongressional District, is one example. Although the Iowa Democratic Party has been vigorously promoting Build Back Better, Bohannan has been conspicuously silent on the measure to the point of not even mentioning it on her Twitter account. She didn’t return repeated requests from RealClearPolitics to say whether she supports the bill. Instead of promoting her party’s top legislative priority, in December Bohannan tweeted about her endorsements, nursing shortages across Iowa, severe weather and her recent comments on education and abortion issues.


Likewise, Liz Mathis, an Iowa state senator who is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson, has only one BBB Twitter reference, and it dates back to 2013. Mathis tweeted out a photo from a fundraiser event for Bruce Braley, a former Democratic congressman who ran a losing campaign for Senate against Joni Ernst in 2014.

'BBB (Braley Backyard Bash) fundraiser for @BruceBraley,' she tweeted.

Instead of promoting passage of the social spending bill, Mathis on New Year’s Eve acknowledged that 2021 has been 'a hard year.'

'I’m so grateful for the support we’ve received, but there’s no denying 2021 has been a hard year,' she tweeted. 'The insurrection at the capitol on 1/6, the COVID crisis, and challenges facing the economy have all made certain that this campaign couldn’t be more important.'

Mathis did include a description of the Build Back Better measure in a newsletter her state Senate office released in late November. The BBB section appears under the heading 'Federal Initiatives Invest in Iowa' and is listed after news of a state roundtable examining a teacher shortage."

Read the full story here.


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