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Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.

The speaker is also...

The speaker is also giving voice to an undercurrent of resentment among Democratic lawmakers toward Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her group, whom they see as using their megaphones to sow intraparty divisions and burnish their own brands without achieving any results for Democrats.

Ms. Pelosi seemed to allude to that on Monday when she was asked to clarify her remarks to Ms. Dowd.

“It wasn’t dismissive; it was a statement of fact,” Ms. Pelosi told a reporter in San Francisco on Monday, saying while most House Democrats had “voted to protect the children” by supporting the House’s humanitarian aid bill, the squad had chosen not to. “They were four who argued against the bill, and they were the only four who voted against the bill. All I said was nobody followed their lead.”

“They have a following in the public,” Ms. Pelosi added. “I’m just talking about in the Congress.”

The foursome has helped to redefine their party’s message, pushing multi-trillion-dollar ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and tuition-free college that have drawn broad rhetorical support, including from Democratic presidential candidates. But they have yet to translate their vision into concrete legislative achievement.

The squad and its allies argue that they are tapping into the real energy in the Democratic base with their uncompromising and unapologetic stances.

“Representing the movement that actually helped to put everyone in Congress into office and give Pelosi her gavel is a critical role, and they’ve been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Congress,” said Leah Greenberg, the executive director of Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group.

Liberal activists tried to use the speaker’s comments to stoke outrage — and to raise money to mount primaries against incumbent Democrats they deem insufficiently liberal.

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