How Stephanie Murphy, a refractory to Biden's agenda, helped get him back

After Mr. Biden hangs up, Rep. Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado and a member of the management , contacted Ms Murphy and moderate lawmake...


After Mr. Biden hangs up, Rep. Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado and a member of the management, contacted Ms Murphy and moderate lawmakers to discuss the details of the statement. He was soon heading to Ms Murphy’s office with a few colleagues, including Representative Jimmy Gomez from California, who had previously been approached by Ms Pelosi for negotiations; Representative Mondaire Jones of New York, a freshman; and Mr. Pocan, a former leader of the Progressive Caucus who once accused some of the moderates of child abuse during a heated debate on border aid.

After weeks of polarized meetings where moderates and progressives were housed separately in the White House, this was one of the few times the factions had met. Lawmakers leaned over a laptop in Ms Murphy’s office to edit what would ultimately be a 123-word statement, debating the semantics, down to the tiny differences between terms like “vote for” and “support.” They haggled over whether to set a specific date for a vote to reassure progressives that the social policy bill would not be delayed for long, setting the week of November 15.

“We act like we are enemies and we are not – we should have sat down to talk to each other long before that,” said Representative Kathleen Rice, New York Democrat and close friend of Ms Murphy. “It came to both of us saying that.”

Ms Pelosi, who had put her personal reputation on the line when the two laws were passed, kept tabs on the talks from afar, filling lawmakers’ voicemail boxes with harsh messages urging them to side with the Bill on infrastructure and collecting updates from worshipers as they squeezed in and out of private meetings.

Shuttle diplomacy became urgent as the day wore on. At one point, Representative Sara Jacobs, a freshman Democrat from California, took off her shoes to walk the marble hallways, carrying messages between leaders and representatives snuggling up in the Longworth House office building in across the street. And ultimately, the joint statement – from personal Twitter accounts – was enough to get the votes needed to pass the infrastructure bill the next morning and the social policy measure before Thanksgiving.

For the lawmakers who helped negotiate the deal – many of whom are widely viewed as likely candidates to lead the party in the years to come – it was a validation of their ability to bridge internal divisions and a reminder that sometimes best solutions come from the bottom up.

“In the future,” Ms. Rice said, “it will be difficult for grassroots members not to be heard.”

Catie edmondson contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: How Stephanie Murphy, a refractory to Biden's agenda, helped get him back
How Stephanie Murphy, a refractory to Biden's agenda, helped get him back
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