When Democrats first gained control of the House in 2018, conservatives expressed concern over how the new leadership of the key Financial Services Committee — namely, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) — would use the panel to press the left’s progressive agenda. But now, it isn’t just Republicans who are unhappy with Waters.
According to the Daily Caller, the congresswoman is taking heat from young Democrats in the house, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Katie Porter (CA), who worry that Waters isn’t progressive enough. (Yes, really.)
Waters: Too moderate?
According to the Daily Caller, a recent report from Politico highlighted the “squabbles” between the Financial Services chairwoman and freshmen members of Congress, which have come over everything from process and procedures to actual legislation, including one bill related to the Export-Import Bank, which provides guaranteed taxpayer-backed loans to U.S. companies that export goods abroad.
Republicans boycotted the bill, meaning Democrats would need to pass it largely along party lines, but some members of Waters’ caucus — including “Squad” members Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — voted against the measure.
The heat Waters is feeling from the left is perhaps ironic considering that the 81-year-old congresswoman, who has represented her California district since 1991, is a veritable liberal icon often affectionately referred to as “Auntie Maxine” who became a leading face of the left’s anti-Trump “Impeach 45” movement.
Unfortunately for Waters, she is apparently not far-left enough for the new members like Ocasio-Cortez and Porter, among others, who have grown dissatisfied with the manner in which Waters has headed up the Financial Services panel during this term.
Dissension in the ranks
“Some progressives have openly lamented the committee’s leanings toward more moderate, business-friendly Democrats who dominate its ranks,” Politico reported. According to the outlet, Ocasio-Cortez was “quite upset” at what she called “softball questions” from both sides to executives of major firms hauled in for testimony.
“There’s sometimes been some tensions,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with Politico. She later lamented how “very tough” it was to see Waters’ tendency to protect vulnerable swing-state members by, in her view, granting priority to “conservative seat needs.”
Indeed, though an aide to an unnamed progressive representative admitted that Waters and her staff have the difficult job of “wrangling a very wide range of perspectives in the caucus,” a growing group seems to view the chairwoman as too frequently deferring to moderates and Republicans and not hard enough on the financial executives brought in for questioning.
To be sure, it is unlikely that Waters will face too much open dissension from her Democrat colleagues; after all, she is still largely pursuing the left’s broader agenda by way of the committee’s work, and the freshmen progressives likely agree with the chairwoman in far more cases than they disagree.
That said, it is nevertheless worrisome to conservatives that the pushback Waters is facing may compel her to shift even further to the left.
Every day, it’s becoming more and more necessary for Republicans to win back the House in 2020.