Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms

Briahna Joy Gray, former national press secretary for the 2020 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal MORE’ (I-Vt.) argued that President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE may face the grim reality of losing the Democratic majority in Congress in next year’s midterm elections if he fails to deliver on progressive priorities.

Gray, during a Wednesday appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” said progressives have been pushing Biden since his January inauguration to follow through on campaign promises that Democrats can help sell to voters during the 2022 midterm elections.

But Gray said Biden has so far failed to deliver in many policy areas championed by progressives. That includes instituting a $15 federal minimum wage and pushing Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. 

Biden had called on Congress to pass the legislation by the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death in May, but the bill never passed the Senate and police reform talks later collapsed in September.

“It’s not necessarily that you’re going to get another round of protests or people out in the streets angry again, but you also can’t expect them to get out in the streets and vote for you,” Gray said of racial justice protests that spanned the country last summer.

When it comes to Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, Joy said recent discussions to scale back a long-term expansion of the child tax credit and other proposals in the framework have been “so frustrating” given their popularity. 

“What you see is a lot of corporate, conservative Democrats and their allies going on TV to explain that the way to right this ship is in fact to move more to the right,” Gray said.

Another area where Joy said Biden could exercise his executive power is taking action to forgive some student loan debt, echoing the notion that while his administration has asked whether he alone has the legal authority to do so, many believe he could institute such a policy with the “flick of a pen.”

“We have a continued handwringing that seems only geared towards setting the party up for justifying continuing to ignore what the people on the ground actually want,” Gray said.