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Jeffries is no ‘budding star’ | READER COMMENTARY

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., right, talks with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during the eighth vote in the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th U.S. Congress in Washington, on Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

As a member of Progressive Democrats of America, I read the recent article, “Jeffries basking in his moment as a budding star in Congress” (Jan. 12), with apprehension. Yes, Hakeem Jeffries is not Kevin McCarthy. However, Jeffries is a corporate Democrat.

For example, he started Team Blue PAC with conservative U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Terri Sewell of Alabama. They used the political action committee to support corporate Democrats in the 2022 Democratic primary elections, all of whom faced challenges from progressives who campaigned on broadly popular economic justice and climate policy proposals. The donors to the PAC included Comcast, New York Life Insurance Company, NextEra Energy and trade associations representing realtors and consumer creditors. You can guess what these corporations wanted in return.

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Another concern I have is the congressman’s lack of interest in public housing. He did not sign a letter that all other New York City House Democrats sent to Nancy Pelosi urging her to protect $80 billion for public housing in the Build Back Better Act in 2021. Finally, he has supported legislation that would penalize companies and citizens who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

I will be watching Jeffries, the House minority leader, as I am quite concerned that he may not respect a constitutional right for freedom of speech.

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— Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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