Home Agenda Progressives promise to ‘push really hard’ to prevent agenda from being emptied beyond recognition

Progressives promise to ‘push really hard’ to prevent agenda from being emptied beyond recognition


Representatives Ro Khanna, Ilhan Omar and other House progressives stressed on Monday that they will fight for the inclusion of dental, hearing and visual benefits, as well as a host of other popular measures, in the Build program. Back Better put on the block hash by corporate Democrats.

Echoing the weekend remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) That a proposal to extend Medicare benefits – one of the most popular provisions of the pending legislative package – is not “coming out” of the reconciliation bill to appease right-wing Democrats, Khanna (D-California) Recount Democracy now‘s Amy Goodman that the Vermont Independent “is absolutely right”.

“Now it is up to progressive lawmakers to ensure that the final bill on Biden’s agenda does not end in a hollowed out shell that will not significantly help anyone.”

“This is actually the most popular part of the Build Back Better program,†said Khanna. “It’s not an opinion; it’s a fact, if you look at the polls.”

Polls show 84% of American adults, including nearly nine in 10 Democratic voters, support Sanders’ long-standing proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision care for tens of millions of people. Older Americans.

“It’s not coming out,” Khanna added. “We are going to push really hard to make sure he stays in it. I know this is a top priority for the senator, and it is a top priority for the progressives in the House.”

Khanna’s comments came in the wake of a Saturday night news dump of Politics, who reported that President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders consider removing the extension of Medicare, as well as guaranteed paid family leave, from the Build Back Better Act in order to meet Senator Joe Manchin’s demand (DW.Va .) Reduce the 10-year reconciliation bill spending level from $ 3.5 trillion to $ 1.5 trillion.

The original Build Back Better Act is hugely popular, and while the legislation is immune to GOP obstruction, its passage through the budget reconciliation process requires the support of the 50 Senate Democrats and all Democrats across the country. the House except three.

After a weekend of White House negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Said CNN Sunday that Democrats are set to finalize the bill, which she and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) want to conclude this week.

“Now it’s up to progressive lawmakers” Daily posterby Andrew Perez wrote Monday, “to make sure the final bill on Biden’s agenda doesn’t end with a hollowed-out shell that won’t significantly help anyone.”

In her interview, Khanna suggested that House progressives intended to push back conservative obstructionists in the Democratic Party, who significantly weakened the Build Back Better Act by threatening to prevent it from passing.

Asked about paid family leave, which was already on the verge of being reduced to four weeks before it was reported that the number could actually be zero, Khanna said: “It’s absurd to have it at four weeks. “

“This is an area, again, where progressives are pushing very hard,” Khanna continued. “We say do the 12 weeks, do what all the other democracies and rich nations are doing, all the other OECD countries are doing.”

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The New York Times reported Just over a week ago, Democratic leaders are set to cancel the Clean Electricity Performance Program – the most important mechanism in the reconciliation bill to promote renewable energy and decarbonize the country’s electricity grid – to get the support of Manchin, a coal profiteer and first beneficiary of Congress. Big Oil money.

According to Khanna: “If we do away with the climate energy agenda, it’s the strong program of mandates and incentives to get us to a 50% reduction by 2030 – that’s the president’s goal – if we remove that, we must have an alternative to achieve the president’s goal. This negotiation is in progress. Several ideas have been proposed: global subsidies to states, sanctions for industrial polluters.

Khanna reiterated that House progressives remain opposed to a vote on the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill passed by the Senate, “which contains almost no climate provision unless there is agreement on the bill. of reconciliation law “.

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) Suggested Monday that the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) could also suspend support for the Build Back Better Act if the package continues to be unrecognizablely gutted.

“Let’s be clear”, Omar tweeted. “Votes must be won.”

“Progressives are fighting to tackle the climate crisis, expand medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing, and secure family leave in America,†she added. “These are the investments that great countries make in their communities and so can we.”

Representative Andy Levin (D-Mich.) Also pointed out that no deal has yet been reached.

Saturday’s report that expanded Medicare benefits and paid family leave benefits could be on the chopping block came just a day after Politics reported that “Congressional Democrats are watering down – and may completely abandon – a plan to have the government directly negotiate certain Medicare drug prices to help strike a deal on their massive social spending program.”

Although the polls indicate that voters want the federal government to take action against Big Pharma’s murderous profits – and the party has promised for years that he would do something to alleviate the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, for which Americans pay twice as much as people in other countries – industry-funded corporate Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) and Representatives Kathleen Rice (NY), Scott Peters (Calif.), Kurt Schrader (Oregon) and Bob Menendez (NJ), oppose Medicare being able to negotiate lower prices.

Neither Khanna nor Omar addressed the Medicare drug price negotiation, but eliminating it would significantly reduce the reconciliation program’s ability to raise revenues, as did Sinema’s opposition to increasing tax rates. businesses and high net worth individuals. One possible source of income that emerged during the Build Back Better negotiations is the introduction of a tax on the country’s 745 billionaires.

Perez argued that “none of these developments should come as a surprise, thanks to all the leeway progressives have given their fellow Conservative Democrats and business leaders.”

He continued:

Yes, progressives in the House recently opposed holding a vote on the bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal sculpted by lobbyists, a move that kept the larger bill alive on the Biden agenda. But it was only a narrow victory, in part because progressives have stubbornly refused to make specific and public demands on what needs to be in the broader reconciliation bill to secure their votes – giving Democratic companies all the space they needed to clear the legislation.

And when you look at the demands progressives have made more quietly in press releases, it’s clear that party leaders think they’re not at the table, but rather on the menu.

“The only way to change those expectations – and to actually wield power – is for CCP members to commit to voting no on a hollowed-out shell, and finally to expressing their demands clearly,” Perez wrote. “If they don’t, they will likely be launched, and no barrage of tweets or press releases or email blasts will mask this preventable outcome.”


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