Voices: Elizabeth Warren sounds off on Republicans and finds her voice again for the Roe battle

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Elizabeth Warren (AP)
Elizabeth Warren (AP)

In a quick chat with your dispatcher that captured where many Democratic voters are these days, Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday went off on Republicans – laying into them both on aid for Covid-19 and on abortion legislation.

Ahead of the House’s passage of aid to Ukraine, which came without Covid-19 relief after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appealed to President Joe Biden to separate the two, the Massachusetts Democrat laid the blame for breaking up the packages squarely at Republicans’ feet.

“I feel very frustrated with Republicans who won’t let us pass these two essential pieces of legislation together,” she said. “I remain hopeful that we will get both of them but in separate votes.”

“I don’t know what the dates will be on this,” she said. “But I think it’s important, it’s urgent, that we get aid to Ukraine and it’s urgent that we fund the purchase of orders for vaccines next fall. It makes no sense to delay getting money into the vaccines.”

Similarly, Ms Warren lit into fellow New Englander Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who has announced her opposition to Democrats’ proposed Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify the protections in Roe v Wade. The vote on the legislation will happen on Wednesday after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion showed that the court is likely to overturn the 1973 decision that seeking an abortion is part of the right to privacy guaranteed in the Constitution under the 14th Amendment.

Ms Collins has raised objections and in turn has begun crafting alternative legislation with Mr Kaine since she said it could force people and institutions with religious objections to perform abortions – a claim that Democrats deny. Ms Warren for one is clearly unimpressed.

“The bill that we’ll be voting on tomorrow reinstates Roe,” she said. “We should not be compromising on women’s equal protection under law.”

Since the 2020 election, Ms Warren has landed in a peculiar spot compared to her fellow presidential also-rans. Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris, who competed with her for the support of college-educated white voters, both joined the Biden administration; Senator Bernie Sanders, her fellow progressive, has emerged as Senate Budget Committee chairman, while Senator Amy Klobuchar is Rules Committee Chairwoman who earned Mr Biden’s trust by endorsing him at a crucial moment.

Even Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado saw his expanded Child Tax Credit become a major part of the American Rescue Plan before Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia summarily killed the Build Back Better package.

By contrast, Ms Warren was all but overlooked – not selected to be Mr Biden’s running mate, nor his Treasury Secretary, nor a Senate appointment to reflect anything about her campaign. But now, as friends of the newsletter Andrew Solender and Sophia Cai over at Axios have reported, she’s become a leading voice for Democratic anger amid fear that Roe could be overturned. Progressives keenly seek out her endorsement, and many of her former staffers populate the Biden administration.

In her resurgent form, Ms Warren once again resembles the onetime populist warrior who, as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel after the 2008 financial crisis, grilled Wall Street bankers and government officials for their misdeeds. She was able to voice the frustration many progressives felt toward the Obama administration, and for a time, it made her a darling of the left. Now, she’s taking that role on again with gusto.

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