Welcome Back, Madame Speaker

All: As Congress reconvenes this week, Speaker Pelosi is coming off her latest major defeat with even more hurdles in her way:

RACHAEL BADE: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has sort of always been known for her grip on her caucus in the House, is sort of seeing cracks in her armor right now and faces a tough July ahead. As we know, lawmakers left for the July 4th recess, she had suffered her first major defeat on a border package when she couldn’t get her centrists and progressives in her party to back a bill in the House and she got railroaded by the Senate GOP version bill. Now, she’s facing down timelines and deadlines for Defense Authorization, to basically approve a bunch of programs for the Pentagon. She wants to do a minimum wage increase to $15, and the party is still at war about what to do on immigration and how to sort of address what we’re seeing at the border, and right now, her party is super divided on these issues and she needs to get them through, or Senator McConnell, the Majority Leader, will have the upper hand in negotiations going forward. So big test for Pelosi.”

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: “And you look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter feed and you can see those  progressives getting much more bold then they were in the past. Fascinating to watch.”

That’s a pretty apt summary. Here’s more info on why these upcoming issues will cause headaches for the Speaker:

  • NDAA: While the Senate passed their version of the NDAA on a sweeping bipartisan basis (86-8) with the support of the White House, House Democrats are pushing a partisan bill that has a lower topline number and undercuts our military’s readiness. This puts Speaker Pelosi in the same box she was in on the border crisis, where the Senate has broad consensus, but the House is pushing a messaging bill instead of trying to actually get something done.
  • Minimum Wage: The Speaker has struggled for months, to secure the votes for this bill – after initially saying that this increase would happen 100 hours after they took back the majority. Even if she has twisted enough arms to get the votes for this bill, it will be a tough decision for many freshman lawmakers who know a hike like this would destroy jobs and hurt workers in their respective districts.

On top of all that, the Speaker’s emerging rift with the most influential member of her caucus is only getting worse:

  • In an interview w/ the NYT’s Maureen Dowd, Speaker Pelosi needled AOC and “The Squad,” saying that they, “have their public whatever and their Twitter world…but they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
  • That didn’t sit well with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who inevitably took to Twitter to criticize the Speaker for attempting to minimize her voice and the sentiments of their party’s socialist base:

Takeaway: The Speaker has a real problem. On the one hand, she has shown that under her control, the House is far more interested in playing politics than actually getting things done that would improve the country. On the other hand, the party base is increasingly upset with her and a growing feud between the Speaker and AOC – the party’s intellectual leader – only further complicates things for her tenuous leadership.

Combine that w/ the fact that 80 of her members want to baselessly impeach the President and make that their entire agenda, along with their party’s presidential candidates pushing for increasingly extreme ideas, like giving all illegal immigrants free health care or eliminating all private health insurance, and it’s not a hard to see why she has so many challenges as she tries to keep her caucus on the rails.