Re: “The case for speaker Jayapal” [Nov. 24, Opinion]:

In lauding the negotiating role of U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D.-Wash., in the infrastructure debate, columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel overlooks the chance of total failure that loomed.

While I totally agree with all of the policy positions of Rep. Jayapal and the robust infrastructure plan backed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that she chairs, her bargaining strategy was faulty. I wish all of the plan could be passed. But threatening to vote to defeat the physical infrastructure part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which the caucus supported, as a bargaining chip in trying to get the social infrastructure part of the package to a vote put the entire package at grave risk. In any bargaining situation it is foolish to make obviously unrealistic, unachievable demands. Faced with such demands, the other side is likely to walk away or lose faith in the sincerity of those making the demands.

As it turned out, realism set in and both parts of the plan were eventually severely compromised down to achievable levels where they were both passed in the House, thereby exposing Rep. Jayapal’s strategy as a foolish gamble and a dangerous bluff.

Jerry Cronk, Shoreline