“We didn’t flip Georgia Blue for Biden to air strike Syria,” left-wing activist Ja’Mal Green tweeted. “We flipped Georgia Blue for our $2,000 Stimulus Checks.”
“And for $15 minimum wage,” he wrote. “And for $50,000 of student loan debt to be canceled.”
The two Georgia Senate races shifted the Senate to Democratic control after Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president on Jan. 20, giving the party the White House and majorities in both chambers of Congress.
For liberals, this was a sobering reminder that Democrats have only razor-thin margins in each chamber, especially compared to their majorities when former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama took office, and that, on some issues, there are countervailing voices inside the new administration.
“[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer, and Biden need to be perfect,” Democratic strategist Rodell Mollineau said of passing legislation through the 50-50 Senate and closely divided House.
The Senate parliamentarian ruled that budget reconciliation could not be used to increase the minimum wage, effectively raising the number of votes required for passage from a simple majority of 51 to the 60 necessary to end a filibuster.
“We will not be deterred by an archaic Senate process that throughout history has been used to delay or deny progress for Black and brown communities while allowing multi-trillion-dollar tax cuts for corporations,” said Maribel Cornejo of the Fight for 15 group in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner. “Winning elections means talking to voters about the issues that matter to their lives and then delivering on those promises. Voters don’t want to hear excuses about process, procedures or parliamentarians.”
The minimum wage hike was a top priority for liberals, some of whom hold out hope that Harris will overrule the Senate parliamentarian. Biden’s Syria strikes also elicited liberal blowback.
“This makes President Biden the seventh consecutive U.S. president to order strikes in the Middle East,” Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, said in a statement. “There is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization.”
“Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutionally absent extraordinary circumstances,” added Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
The Biden administration claimed the strikes were necessary because Iranian proxies have been firing rockets at forces battling the Islamic State outside Iraq.
“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“The president is sending an unambiguous message that when threats are posed, he has the right to take an action at the time and in the manner of his choosing,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. “He also is going to take those actions in a manner that's deliberative and that has the objective of de-escalating activity in both Syria and Iraq.”