The four leftwing freshman lawmakers in the House have made headlines and earned “the squad” nickname in a consolidated effort to push the Justice Democrats’ leftist agenda.
An Associated Press (AP) report suggests that it’s not Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) but four more moderate freshman female lawmakers who could make an impact in 2020.
Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), for example, recently held a town hall in Culpeper where she never once mentioned President Donald Trump, not even when the discussion turned briefly to impeachment.
“This is a story about a different kind of squad,” AP reported:
Spanberger is part of a group of first-term female representatives with national security backgrounds who flipped Republican seats last year and matter most on questions of impeachment and Democratic control. The alternative squad consists of Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania and Virginians Spanberger and Elaine Luria — women possessing deep military and intelligence experience, now voices of moderation in a party often portrayed as veering sharply left.
Spanberger, whose district is anchored in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, and extends to the exurbs of Washington, D.C., was a CIA operations officer. Slotkin is a former CIA analyst and acting assistant secretary of defense. Sherrill is a former U.S. Navy pilot, Naval Academy graduate, Russian policy officer, and federal prosecutor. Houlahan is an Air Force veteran and engineer. And Luria is a former nuclear engineer in the Navy.
The women are part of a group within the caucus focused on the minutiae of election security, with a name that hints at how they see themselves: Task Force Sentry. They can often be seen shuttling through hallways together, engaged in quiet conversation, or sitting side by side in the House. They are not the first to speak inside private caucus meetings, but when they do, “people listen.”
“You don’t come from a national security background and have any kind of extreme views,” Cheri Bustos (D-IL) chairwoman of the Democrats’ campaign, said in the AP report.
Constituents “won’t stand for extremism,” Bustos said. “They elected these people to get something done.”
“Don’t even mention his name,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has advised Democrats.
“The advice applies most of all to the national security squad and the other 26 Democrats representing “red-to-blue” House districts, whose reelections are Pelosi’s top priority,” AP reported.
These four lawmakers said their constituents don’t care about impeachment but are concerned about health care, rural broadband, benefits for veterans, infrastructure, and pocketbook issues.
“Their ideas for legislation include preventing foreign financial support for U.S. campaigns and finding ways to identify threats,” AP reported.
“I don’t think we should be talking about our feelings,” Spanberger said. “I think we should be talking about legislation.”
“I just want to focus on (the price of) drugs and infrastructure and protecting the integrity of elections,” Spanberger said.
“What these women have managed to do is come to Congress as veterans with amazing national security expertise that would be valued in anybody,” Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) said in the AP report. “But it is also unique and interesting that they are women. … They are respected.”
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