Jeffries Aide Slams DSA for “Discovering” Progressive Politics

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
(Photo by Tsubasa Berg)

An aide to U. S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Central Brooklyn, Queens) yesterday took off the gloves against the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for claiming in an internal report that they pressured Jeffries into co-sponsoring the Medicare for All Act (HR 1384).

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

In an internal DSA strategy document called NYC-DSA Tasks and Perspectives for 2020 that KCP acquired, the well-organized leftest non-profit political arm of the Democratic Party claims that Jeffries, the 4th-ranking Democrat in Congress and likely successor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), only signed onto the measure after considerable resistance because of pressure from the DSA Heathcare Working Group (HCWG).

According to the document, the HCWG pressured Jeffries and other congressional targets with a two-pronged approach that included deepening relationships within and expanding the coalition in Brooklyn, and educating and mobilizing community members around Medicare for All to demonstrate widespread support for single-payer healthcare.

The HCWG utilized five main tactics, according to the report, to pressure Jeffries, and through the NYC-DSA efforts this resulted in contact with thousands of Brooklyn residents over a roughly 5-month period, an estimated +1000 calls to his office, over 800 petition signatures, and a large town hall held in coalition with nearly all of the coalition partners.

“The Healthcare Working Group also worked with numerous community organizations, many of which had ties to Jeffries, which we believe had an amplifying effect. Jeffries finally buckled under the pressure, and sponsored the bill,” according to the report.

But Jeffries’ Spokesperson Michael Hardaway dismissed the NYC-DSA report as taking credit for something they don’t deserve, and that the congressmember has long been on the progressive cutting edge.

“Rep. Jeffries has co-sponsored Medicare for All legislation for years,  including every single one of the four terms he has been in Congress. He first supported Medicare for All legislation in 2014 during his freshman term, when Congressman Jeffries signed onto the bill carried by former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), long before any so-called lobbying effort by some in gentrifying parts of Brooklyn. Those are the facts. That said, Rep. Jeffries looks forward to continued engagement with all of his constituents, including those he regularly meets with on a street corner near you.” said Hardaway.

The NYC-DSA document also notes the success the organization has had in the recent state elections where several of its candidates beat incumbents, adding to its growing clout on the legislative level. The organization now intends to play a larger role in the citywide elections next year when  35 of the City Council’s 51 incumbents, as well as the mayor, comptroller, and all five borough presidents, will be ineligible for reelection due to term-limits.

The NYC-DSA, which has close relationships to at least one controversial nonprofit property management and development company that were involved in the taking of Black and Brown-owned property, stated in the document it hopes to diminish property values further through its #CancelRent initiative in the hopes of further socializing and having residential property publicly owned and run.

The document also calls for further defunding of the police.