Cohen on progressives: ‘My car is older than quite a few’ of them

Greg Nash

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) criticized progressives in his party for displaying what he said is a lack of experience and willingness to compromise as House Democrats negotiate a massive spending bill encompassing much of President Biden’s agenda. 

“I don’t want to suggest the progressives are wrong. They have good attitudes and good instincts and good goals. But they haven’t been legislators, most of them, for a very long period of time and a lot of them have been activists and try to get things in other ways,” Cohen said Thursday during an appearance on CNN.

“I’ve been a legislator for 44 years, I’ve got cars, my car is older than quite a few of the progressives,” he said.  

“You’ve got to get things done for the American people and it takes compromise,” Cohen, 72, added. “And I’m willing to do it, and I’m a progressive with a capital P.”

Cohen’s rebuke of lawmakers on the party’s more liberal wing comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership attempt to navigate a stubborn stalemate over the larger social benefits package amid a fight on infrastructure spending in the House. 

Pelosi has scheduled a vote on the infrastructure package for Thursday after postponing one Monday following signals from leading progressives in the House they would block the measure. 

“We already put out our vision, and we’re going to stick to that vision,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said this week. 

“If she brings it up, it won’t pass,” said another liberal Democrat on Wednesday. 

Pelosi has said crafting a reconciliation bill that is supported by both Biden and Democrats in the Senate is pivotal to moving forward with infrastructure legislation in the House. 

“We come to a place where we have agreement in legislative language — not just principle, in legislative language — that the president supports,” she said on Wednesday. “It has to be his standard.”

Tags Democratic Party Joe Biden Legislators Members of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Pramila Jayapal Pramila Jayapal Steve Cohen Steve Cohen

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