Dem congresswoman says she’s not leaving D.C. without a stimulus deal — and then leaves?

Something fun that’s circulating on political Twitter this afternoon. It’s too amusing not to post but a little checking suggests that it’s misleading. A nice try by the Congressional Leadership Fund, though. Watch, then read on.

“I just knew that I was not going to go back to my district and walk around and go to the grocery store and have people ask me again about the state of the latest COVID emergency bill and tell them that because of politics we couldn’t get in a room together,” Democrat Elissa Slotkin tells Jake Tapper. Who’s the “we,” though? Is it Congress, in which case the CLF has her dead to rights on skipping town early?

Or is it the Problem Solvers Caucus in the House, of which she’s a member? The PSC, a bipartisan group composed mainly of pols from purple districts, just produced a $1.5 trillion bipartisan stimulus plan for coronavirus relief, which is bigger than the Senate GOP’s “skinny” stimulus and a bit shy of the $2 trillion Pelosi and Senate Dems are willing to consider as a rock-bottom offer. Various Democratic House committee chairs rejected the PSC proposal immediately after it was introduced this week, not wanting to give Republicans an opportunity to lowball Pelosi with an offer that has the patina of bipartisanship.

But the members of the Problem Solvers Caucus knew their offer would be rejected. The caucus exists so that vulnerable members can give each other political cover ahead of tough reelection bids. Slotkin represents Michigan’s Eighth District, which leans R+4. She’s afraid of being blamed by her red-leaning constituents this fall if no COVID relief package passes before November and the public’s suddenly in a “throw the bums out” kind of mood. She and her colleagues in the PSC wanted something tangible they could point at as proof for voters that they’re doing everything they can to deliver stimulus funds to the public. The result: The PSC’s middle-ground stimulus plan. Now Slotkin can tell Republican voters in MI-8 that she refused to be taken prisoner by the evil Nancy Pelosi and joined with 25 Republican friends to produce a plan that would satisfy people on both sides.

Skip to 4:50 of the clip below and watch her full interview with Tapper. Right after she talks about how “we” need to get in a room together to hash this out, she says, “So, the Problem Solvers, we got together, we started talking…” All she means, I think, is that she couldn’t in good conscience go back home to her district until she had done something to work with the other side to produce a plan. She did that with the PSC. So now off she goes to the airport.

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