The United States should allocate much more than that $ 3.5 trillion to address fundamental economic, social and environmental challenges that existed before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and that have only become more consistent over the last few years.
“That $ 3.5 trillion [figure] is already the result of a big, big compromise, and this bill should at least be $ 3.5 trillion, ”said Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Vermont Senate Budget Committee, which meets with the Democrats, of the reconciliation measure it is promised Tried to achieve with 50 Democratic votes and a tie boost from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Unfortunately, not every Democrat agrees with Sanders, or the many Senate Democrats the Vermont Senator says shares his view that a $ 6 trillion commitment would have been better policy and better policy.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the Democrat who made it his business to toss wrenches into the Democratic machine, says he cannot accept the $ 3.5 trillion figure. Echoing industry lobbyists particularly opposed to taxes on multinational corporations and billionaires who would fund the plan, Manchin suggests he see a drastic cut from the number agreed in the summer by Sanders, the Senate majority, CEO Chuck Schumer (DN .Y.) And President Joe Biden.
Some talk of bringing the number down to $ 1.5 trillion maybe just $ 1 trillion.
Such a shift would unburden the corporate interests that have so generously supported Manchin’s political career – he has picked it up in the past five years alone more than $ 1 million from donors associated with the securities and investment industries, according to Open Secrets. At the same time, this would seriously undermine the ambitious budget agenda, proposals to expand Medicare to include visual, hearing and dental needs, guarantee family and sick leave, extend child tax breaks, educate community schools for free, extend child tax allowance and fund initiatives to create jobs and combat climate change.
All of these suggestions are necessary says Natalia Salgado, the Working Families Party’s federal affairs director. “We can’t afford to lose a single cent of that $ 3.5 trillion,” she says. “Every single penny will count.”
The Rev. William Barber II is more blunt. “Stop being a political coward!” He thundered after Manchin suggested that Democrats take a break to “get big” on social safety net issues. “If you are afraid of the donors, say so, but don’t say that we have done enough and made the framework more balanced.”
The Co-Chair of the Campaign for Poor Peoples has labeled Manchin’s attempt to reduce democratic ambitions to “sinful, immoral and some form of political misconduct”.
That is a message that President Biden, the man who ultimately has to settle Democratic differences over the budget, needs to recognize and embrace.
The core components of the budget are coordinated extremely well. A solid majority of Americans and over 90 percent of Democrats supported the $ 3.5 trillion proposal end of August USA today/ Suffolk University survey. That should matter to even the most cautious Democrats, as their party needs to maintain electorate enthusiasm for the difficult 2022 election cycle.
“Failure to pass a bill with so many popular articles would shoot us in the foot for the 2022 elections,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which opposes any cut to the $ 3.5 trillion plan. “It is just negligent not to pass this law.” Chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus Congress Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) warns“If we don’t deliver, then I think all the people who came out and voted for the Democrats will take control of the House, the Senate and the White House.” [in 2020] walk [to say in 2022], ‘that’s it.'”
This is one of those moments when the morally necessary is also politically necessary. To convey that logic, however, activists need to turn the media narrative on its head, which presents this as nothing more than a political rumble between Manchin and Sanders – or, worse, a debate about how deep the Democrats can go. Sanders explains, “When it comes to personalities and negotiations, the Washington people are frustrated. But when it comes to what’s on the plan and how it meets the needs of working families, people love it. ”
That excitement could tip the balance for the $ 3.5 trillion plan. But for that to happen, it can’t just be an inside-the-belt debate. The members of the Senate need to hear from the grassroots. To this end, 94 labor, environmental, religious, judicial, and community-based organizations – including the AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, People’s Action, the Sunrise Movement, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Institute for Policy Studies – have issued a call to action urged Congress to “stand up to pressure from lobby groups representing affluent and big business and adopt President Joe Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan.”
The groups explain, “This down payment to the needs of our communities is beginning to cover the full extent of our country’s climate, poverty and inequality emergencies and to reform a tax system that has been rigged for the benefit of the rich and big,” the groups say:
Adopting this plan would be an important step in addressing the interlocking crises of poverty, inequality, climate change and racism. Ultimately, our nation needs one 3. Reconstruction to ensure living wages, strengthen our democracy, curb violence and militarism in our communities and give priority to the millions of poor and low-income people in the country and their needs. To move closer to that goal, Congress must do what is right and meet its constitutional and moral obligations to create justice and general welfare. Now is not the time to let entrenched corporate lobbyists get in the way of making important public investments in an economy that works for all of us.
As Manchin and his “centrist” compatriots parrot Republicans about debt and deficits, the groups push back, arguing, “The legislature’s desire to pay for this investment in full shouldn’t detract from the size or scope of the package. Congress can easily generate more than $ 3.5 trillion in revenue from corporations and the wealthy whose profits and assets have soared for decades. The wealth of the country’s 708 billionaires alone rose $ 1.8 trillion, or 62 percent, during the pandemic – enough to pay half the ten-year cost of the $ 3.5 trillion package. ”
That’s a strong message. If Joe Biden is sincere in wanting to be as brave as former Democratic presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, he should embrace it, reinforce it, and get it going – to West Virginia and every other state that has a Democratic senator Lobbyists to give in instead of delivering for the American people.