Cori Bush and Jamal Bowman, two incoming Democratic representatives, wouldn’t say Sunday if they were going to back Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in her bid to remain the highest-ranking member of the House. Instead, the two Democrats offered odd answers in which they suggested that they first needed to consult with their communities.
“What I’m going to do is make sure that the voices of the people of St. Louis are heard, and that we have what we need, and so you’ll find out then,” Bush, who has been called the latest addition to the “Squad,” told CNN host Dana Bash after offering a mild chuckle. “I’m working with my community,” she added.
Incoming progressive Congressman Jamal Bowman (D-NY), who was also featured in the interview, answered the Pelosi question in the same way. “You will find out when my vote is tallied. And again, organizing with our community to figure out what’s best.”
The CNN host tried to push the duo on what exactly they were waiting to hear from their communities about before committing to a speakership vote but ran out of time for Bush to answer after the duo talked over each other twice. Bowman simply blurted out that the country needs reparations for slavery, a jobs guarantee, and Medicare for All.
Pelosi, who is running for her fourth term as speaker, has been facing the prospect of a divided and anemic Democratic majority. However, no major figure has stepped up to challenge Pelosi for the job.
Bush, asked in her CNN interview how she would balance a progressive agenda with the realities of the slim Democratic majority, said that she was primarily focused on bringing the voices of St. Louis residents and grassroots activists to Congress as a self-described “politivist.”
“I’m the activist and the politician, so I’m using what I learned on the streets of Ferguson and every other protest, every other movement I’ve been a part of — that Moxie, that desire to apply pressure, being bold and fierce — bringing that to Congress,” she said.
Bush also questioned whether anyone can compromise without knowing “exactly what’s happening on the ground in our communities” and emphasized that she would be bringing her “lived experience” to the table as a new member of Congress.
Earlier this month, Bush invoked so-called lived experiences as the reason for why she should serve on the House Judiciary Committee — an assignment for which she has been nominated — even though the majority of committee members have studied law.
“No degree can teach you what it feels like to experience an officer’s boot stomping your head,” said the incoming Democratic Congresswoman in a tweet balking at her lack of a legal degree. “The expertise of my community’s lived experiences will drive my work.”
Some people in my mentions are saying I need a law degree to serve on the Judiciary Committee.
No degree can teach you what it feels like to experience an officer’s boot stomping your head.
The expertise of my community’s lived experiences will drive my work.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 19, 2020