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Columbia Democrat U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn warned Wednesday night that Democrats are in danger of losing their majority in Congress in 2022.
In a discussion with the Charleston Jewish Federation, Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, lamented the ideological divisions within the Democratic Party and what they might cost the liberal political wing.
“We are not going to do what we need to do next year until we build enough intestinal fortitude to start operating a little outside or beyond our comfort zones,” Clyburn said, reported by the Jewish Insider. “We’re not there yet. I’m hopeful that we can get there. Will we ever get there? That remains to be seen.”
All of the U.S. House seats and 34 Senate seats — including South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott’s seat — will be up for grabs in November 2022.
Democrats currently hold 224 seats in the House and 48 seats in the Senate. Two independent senators also tend to vote with the Democrats, giving them 50 votes, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker.
Clyburn said it’s possible for Democrats to maintain their seats during the upcoming election but acknowledged the challenge.
“I think we can. I’m not sure we will,” Clyburn said. “My dad used to say to me all the time, ‘Wherever there is a will, there is a way.’ I’m not too sure that Democrats have yet developed the will to win in 2022.”
Division between Democrats has slowed the progress of several of President Joe Biden’s initiatives, especially in recent months.
In particular, progressives have held up the progress of other bills, including a massive infrastructure bill that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support, over a social spending bill they want to pass. The spending bill would tackle initiatives such as universal preschool, climate change and health care costs.
Democrats have not been able to find common ground between moderates and progressives on the spending bill, especially over the high price tag.
The disagreements prompted Biden to hold a meeting with the caucus Thursday morning to try to iron out an agreement ahead of his trip to Rome for the G20 summit.
“Progressives have got to feel like they can take a chance on moderates,” Clyburn said Wednesday night. “Get outside of their comfort zone. Moderates have got to feel the same way about progressives.”