All Thursday I was torn over whether the House Progressive Caucus should accept a “framework” for a reduced “Build Back Better” bill in exchange for its members’ votes for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the House Speaker should accept , Nancy Pelosi put to the vote again yesterday. Together, the two bills would represent an investment of nearly $ 3 trillion in our future. And while many key priorities were removed from the BBB framework, what Pelosi called “transformative” was actually left. Universal pre-kindergarten, investments in childcare and care for the elderly, health care financing, half a billion climate protection programs, an unexpectedly progressive tax plan and more. I always thought that the progressives would end up accepting the BBB’s “framework” instead of asking for a vote on the bill to move on to a vote on infrastructure.
It may be that they did at some point in this long process. But since Senator Joe Manchin, D-Fossil Fuel Industry, announced that he wanted to cut the $ 3.5 trillion legislation to about $ 1 trillion, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-My Own Planet decided that she struggled with the law’s tax provisions, and alarmingly, the progressives who let Medicare negotiate drug pricing with Big Pharma have been trying to figure out how to get the two Senate objectors on board some that would be similar to President Joe Biden’s agenda.
And until Thursday, when the Democrats in the House of Representatives again delayed a vote on the infrastructure bill, they couldn’t. The Big Two were sociopathically stubborn, gaslighting progressives – and apparently the president – rather than negotiating. Although Biden announced Thursday, before embarking on a multi-stop trip to Europe, that an agreement had been reached on a BBB “framework” – which seemed to imply that Manchin and Sinema were on board – it turned out found out that it did not come to be true. Reporters followed the duo through the Capitol 24/7 and could never clearly say they supported the framework as Biden announced.
So the progressives had no choice but to reject a vote on the Infrastructure Act until the Senate voted on the BBB legislation. Throughout the day, cable news reporters talked about a “trust deficit” as if it were some mysterious force of nature or a problem between teenage girls. It’s real and it’s valid, but it only works one way. Progressives, led by their group leader, Pramila Jayapal, have negotiated painstakingly and in good faith. They accepted a bill that was roughly half the $ 3.5 trillion they wanted – which was itself a compromise from the $ 6 trillion first announced.
In the meantime, Manchin and Sinema have considered what they will support over and over again. Even if they ended up saying they would support the bill – and they wouldn’t even say that on Thursday – these two self-serving senators have proven they are breaking their word. Unfortunately, I can well imagine them saying they support the framework and then rejecting the bill when it finally got to the Senate. They would find a “reason” – the legislation was not exactly what they thought the framework meant, yadda yadda yadda. Can anyone doubt that? I can already imagine Sinema’s curtsey followed by a thumbs down in the Senate.