- Polls show broad support for the many provisions of Build Back Better.
- Still, Democrats are trying to cut the bill to appeal to Republican brass.
- Instead of cutting back on popular legislation, Democrats should pass the bill now.
- Karen Dolan leads the Race and Poverty Criminalization Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
After Republican Glen Youngkin won the Virginia gubernatorial race in a state Joe Biden won handily, a few conservative Democrats are questioning their party’s mandate to bring about transformative change.
In the balance lies the Build Back Better Act, an ambitious attempt to create jobs, strengthen America’s social safety net, and tackle climate change that Democrats are still struggling to finalize. The package has been reduced several times to appease conservative Democrats, but even its reduced form would make it the most important anti-poverty program in half a century.
Still, some in the party are trying to pump the breaks. “No one elected Joe Biden to be FDR”, said the representative of Virginia. Alison spanberger. “He was elected to be normal and to stop the chaos.”
Spanberger is wrong. Polls show broad support for the plan’s provisions, including more affordable health care, prescription drugs, childcare and senior care, as well as monthly payments for parents, investments in clean energy, etc.
The bill has now been passed by the House. As he heads to the Senate, Democrats need to focus on passing the bill, not withdrawing it.
Pay for itself
An overwhelming majority of Americans support these measures, including a majority of independents and nearly 40% of Republicans polled. So it’s not just Biden’s platform, it’s the new normal that the majority of American voters desperately want.
Yet Youngkin won where he shouldn’t have, the Democratic Governor of New Jersey was narrowly re-elected and only Donald Trump was Following unpopular at this point in his presidency than Joe Biden is.
Much of the problem is that most voters just have no idea Democrats are trying to do all of this. Instead of telling voters what’s really on the agenda in Washington, the mainstream media has focused almost exclusively on the “cost” and infighting between progressive and “moderate” Democrats. Neither of the focus is accurate or honest.
The same polls that show overwhelming support for the elements of the Build Back Better Act also show that barely a third of voters believing that anything in this will help them. People do not know what is in the bill a problem big enough that Senator Bernie Sanders held a online seminar titled “What’s in the Damn Bill?”
In contrast, many more voters have heard of the cost of the bill. 60% say they know the bill cost $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years in its original form, now closer to $ 1.85 trillion.
Leave aside for a moment that these investments represent a fraction of what we spend on the Pentagon, and barely a drop in the silver sea versed in militarism since September 11. The actual net cost of the law is closer to $ 0.
Because the bill increases income by taxing millionaires, billionaires and profitable corporations, the plan is more than paid for. In fact, over the next 10 years it generates enough income to start to pay federal debt.
What’s more, 15 Nobel Prize-winning economists agree the plan will not help inflation. In fact, by creating good jobs and making it easier for Americans to pay for child care, food, shelter, prescription drugs, and some medical bills, bill offers much needed help to voters worried about inflation.
Once you know what’s really in the bill, the coverage of the debate on it becomes even more frustrating.
On the one hand, the obstructionism of Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema is not “moderate”. By limiting the Bill’s ability to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, raise tax rates for billionaires, and guarantee American workers paid family and medical leave, they have cut themselves off. positioned well outside the American mainstream. This opposition to widely popular ideas is radical and not moderate.
But on the other hand, negotiation is the raison d’être of democracy. Lawmakers should do what they do: listen to voters and advocates, integrate the data, and represent voters. The sensationalist 24/7 cable infotainment industry has turned the perception of this process into a dysfunction rather than a democracy.
If Joe Biden were elected to ‘be normal’ and ‘stop the chaos’ then this program would take the first step towards a new normal and away from the chaos of poverty, uncertainty and climate change that many of us know.
Democrats shouldn’t back down from the hugely popular programs in the Build Back Better bill. Instead, they need to embrace it and make sure voters actually know about it.
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