A group of progressives will issue its own response to President Joe Biden’s upcoming speech to a joint session of Congress, NBC News reports.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., will speak on behalf of the Working Families Party, a progressive group sometimes referred to as the left-leaning equivalent of the conservative Tea Party movement, following Biden’s address next week.
The congressman, who last year defeated 16-year Democrat incumbent Eliot Engel in a primary battle, told NBC that his speech is intended to highlight the president’s achievements and to point to where progressives want him to go next.
“It’s a balancing act. He’s already done a lot that I love. And he’s going to say a lot of things that I like, as well,” Bowman said. “But if we relent, it doesn’t mean that what’s been going on so far is going to continue. It’s important for us as progressives to continue to push and continue to organize.”
WFP national director Maurice Mitchell added, “We desperately want this president to succeed and to make that Rooseveltian transformational change he has promised.”
He recounted an old story, which he admitted may have been exaggerated or invented, about President Franklin D. Roosevelt telling some activists, “You’ve convinced me. Now go out and make me do it,” implying that Biden essentially made the same challenge during the 2020 presidential election.
Mitchell said, “The worst thing we could do in a moment like this, where we feel like we have momentum, is to slow down — to misread the moment and think we can sit back now. He laid out this agenda to be big and bold, and we’re saying, ‘Game on.'”
NBC notes that typically, the party that does not hold the White House issues a response to a speech made by the president to Congress, but Republicans have yet to announce who will deliver theirs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to the White House earlier this month inviting Biden to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, which is the day before the 100th day of his administration.
“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way,'” she wrote, according to NBC News. “Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!”
Pelosi went on to ask the president to unveil his “vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”
The White House said in a statement: “The President has accepted the invitation of the Speaker of the House to address a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, the night before his 100th day in office.”