The Biden-Harris Administration

BlueRidge

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Here's a good look at the different ways liberal Dems and conservative Dems are looking at economics:

Democrats Divide (NY Times)

In the last few decades, researchers have used novel statistical techniques (including those that won a Nobel Prize last week) and rich new sources of data to try to determine what long-term benefits they might offer to the overall economy.

Take, for example, spending that keeps children well-fed and out of poverty, such as school lunch programs and assistance payments to low-income parents. These appear to have long-lasting benefits for future employment and earning power — creating supply-side benefits, or increasing the economy’s overall potential.

“If we give people more resources when they’re young, they can eat better and do better in school, and this could have lasting impacts,” said Hilary Hoynes, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of extensive research along these lines. “It doesn’t seem like such a crazy thing to assert, but we had no evidence on that 15 years ago.”

This is part of the thinking beneath major elements of Democratic legislation under consideration, including universal preschool and an extension of a child tax credit.

For the mainstream of the Democratic Party, the evidence supports the change in thinking and these programs. Conservatives like Manchin are sticking with the old ideas, as conservatives do.

If we invest robustly in our society will we be better off? Or if we limit our investments in children and social enrichments will we be better off? Seems obvious to me, but I'm not a conservative. Manchin is, and they should call him what he is. Its not a pejorative to call someone conservative and it distorts how things are reported to call him a moderate which implies he is between extremes when he is on one edge not in the middle.

Editing to add some more information from a Katrina Vanden Heuvel column in the Post:

Even though the United States is the richest country in the world, we rank 39th globally on the “child flourishing index” — which measures children’s well-being based on health, education, nutrition and other living standards. Meanwhile, in a UNICEF report card of child well-being in 38 wealthy countries, the United States ranked 36th — with about 30 percent of its children living in poverty. Worse, both of these reports are based on data from before the *********-19 ********* exacerbated America’s systemic failures.
 
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Artistic Skaters

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Funny, not funny, commentary about Joe Manchin -
Almost Heaven, Wet Virginia from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night:
Almost SeaWorld, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains will be a coral reef soon
It'll be wet there
Wetter than a lake
Bought this boat with
The coal profits I make
Country roads on my boat
Or my car if it can float ...
 

clairecloutier

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Vagabond

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rfisher

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Funny, not funny, commentary about Joe Manchin -
Almost Heaven, Wet Virginia from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night:
Almost SeaWorld, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains will be a coral reef soon
It'll be wet there
Wetter than a lake
Bought this boat with
The coal profits I make
Country roads on my boat
Or my car if it can float ...
Ironically, coal had done itself it. AEP has a major coal powered plant in WV that is going to require a multimillion dollar upgrade or will have to close in about 5 years. Originally, the cost was going to be shared between KY, WV and VA customers, except KY and VA's state utility commission has withdrawn from the agreement leaving the entire cost to WV. No way the residents can absorb this big a hit to residential customers. Manchin is responding to one of his big donors who wants to squeeze the last $$ out of the state. But, he's also in trouble with other donors. He's kind of screwed. I'd be "oh, isn't that too bad", except, it's likely a good GOP candidate can beat him and that is a loss for the Democrats unless they pick up senators in other states. He's desperate at this point.
 

Artistic Skaters

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Tim Ryan (OH) raised the most funds this quarter of all the candidates for Senate. Sherrod Brown endorsed him last week. He's running against a crapload of bad GOP candidates with baggage and things are looking up for candidates who can get a lot of union support.

He's a sure thing for the Dem nomination against Morgan Harper. She is a very intelligent and well spoken progressive who tried to primary Joyce Beatty last time around and lost in a landslide and this will be another misguided mission. I don't know why Ohio Dems haven't set her up to be the Stacey Abrams of OH, because she would be ideal for that. Then she could have a real chance at a seat once she has more statewide recognition. It's their loss to continue to work against her rather than help her along and support a worthwhile placement for her.
 

BlueRidge

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Wheee!

Five veterans tapped to advise Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, resigned from their posts on Thursday, publicly accusing her of “hanging your constituents out to dry” in the latest sign of growing hostility toward a centrist who has emerged as a key holdout on President Biden’s agenda.

In a scathing letter obtained by The New York Times, the veterans took Ms. Sinema to task for her refusal to abolish the filibuster and her opposition to parts of Mr. Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social safety net, education, climate and tax plan, stances that have stymied some of his top priorities.

“You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people,” the veterans wrote in a letter that is to be featured in a new advertisement by Common Defense, a progressive veterans’ activist group that has targeted Ms. Sinema.

“We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming,” they added.

 

BlueRidge

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Is anything meaningful still left in the Build Back Better bill? Do Democrats actually get anything or demand anything in return for throwing stuff out that Manchin doesn't like or do they just nod when Manchin says that he doesn't want something and get rid of it?
Yes there is still meaningful stuff left in the BBB bill. And no they don't just nod when Manchin says he wants something.

Please, let's not ignore that the Senate is 50-50, the Democrats have the thinnest possible control. How do they pass anything if Manchin won't vote for it (with Sinema running interference for him)?

That they are close to getting legislation passed is testament to incredible hard work by Democrats in the House and Senate and to Biden in a very difficult situation.

It is frustrating but there were half a dozen Senate seats we thought Dems could win in 2020 that they did not win. If they had we wouldn't be in this situation. No one should mistake it for a situation where Democrats have any room to maneuver.
 

BlueRidge

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Sorry for the double post but the reporting on Biden's package is just coming out. What I gather is that this is the final deal Biden is going to stake himself on, and he's going to tell Dems on both the left and right of the party that this must pass if his presidency is to be successful. Here is what the NY Times says is in it:

The key provisions of the proposal include:

  • $555 billion to fight climate change, largely through tax incentives for low-emission sources of energy.
  • $400 billion to provide universal prekindergarten to 3- and 4-year-olds, and to significantly reduce health care costs for working families earning up to $300,000 a year.
  • $200 billion to extend an expanded tax credit for parents through 2022, and to permanently allow parents to benefit from the child tax credit even if they do not earn enough money to have income tax liability.
  • $165 billion to reduce health care premiums for people who are covered through the Affordable Care Act, to provide insurance for an additional 4 million people through Medicaid and to offer hearing coverage through Medicare.
  • $150 billion to reduce a waiting list for in-home care for seniors and disabled Americans, and to improve wages for home health care workers.
  • $150 billion to build 1 million affordable housing units.
  • $100 billion for immigration streamlining, in part to reduce a backlog of 9 million visas. The House-passed version of the bill advanced last month included provisions to address the legal immigration system, including a plan to recapture hundreds of thousands of unused visas various administrations failed to use over several decades. The investment would also expand legal representation for migrants and streamline processing at the southwest border, officials said. Mr. Biden has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for his handling of migration to the border.
  • $40 billion for worker training and higher education, including increasing annual Pell grants by $550.

What has been pulled is expansion of Medicare benefits to include dental and vision, free community college, and family and medical leave. The child tax credit is only extended for one year. Its a huge compromise from what progressives already compromised down to in the 3.5 trillion package, but now is the time for everyone to accept that this is what they can pass.


Critically it does not include the plan to reduce prescription drug prices which Sinema opposed, nor the Clean Energy Standard that Manchin opposed. Is that awful? Yes it is. But we have to win more elections to be able to pass more ambitious proposals.
 

Vagabond

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Interestingly, one of the few things known about Sinema's position is that she was insistent on including hearing care in the Medicare expansion. And the Biden Administration told Manchin that dental care, which he wanted, would have to go if he insisted on his $1.5 trillion cap. It looks like both of bargained their way out of getting things that they wanted.
 

clairecloutier

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According to this WaPo article, hearing benefits are currently still in the plan. But who knows, that could still change.

Preschool programs are the main family benefit that still seems to be included. I don't know how the amount for it compares to what was originally requested, but it doesn't seem to have been slashed as badly as other initiatives.

Interestingly, either WaPo or NYT had a piece a few weeks ago where they asked a group of social science researchers which program they considered most universally beneficial for families, and more researchers chose universal preschool than the other options.

I'm seeing a lot of anger on Democratic Twitter this morning. The smart ones know that Manchin and Sinema are to blame. But it doesn't make it any easier to accept. Personally my level of anger and grief around this "Democratic" Congress is significant to say the least. :cry:

I've also seen news bits from different Dem MoCs saying this isn't a done deal yet.
 
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BlueRidge

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Greg Sargent flags this: "Child-care funding that will ensure that families of four earning less than $300,000 per year will pay only up to 7 percent of income on child care for kids under 6 years old." That seems like something, but I'm not knowledgeable on this issue.

Anger and grief are absolutely justified because this is not the bill we need, or rather together the two bills do not do what we need. I'm not feeling anger because I think the situation is what it is. I am feeling grief over what might have been, we were close to taking the steps to transform our economy over the next decade to one not dependent on fossil fuels, and that will not happen.

But I'm more concerned about people giving up rather than fighting on. Yes elections are skewed and Dems win less power with more votes, but we still can contest elections and we can win in 2022. I don't want to see people discouraged into thinking voting doesn't matter.

And of course this is not a done deal. I don't think progressives will be tricked into passing the bipartisan bill first but if they were, I am quite certain the social bill would never pass.
 

DORISPULASKI

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Frankly, Biden has put together three huge bills: ********* relief, bipartisan infrastructure, and this new bill.

I thought with such a narrow majority, he would be lucky to clean up some of the Trump messes. 3 huge bills I did not expect.

Getting discouraged because the media has been preaching solid doom & gloom, not to mention Democrats in Disarray, since Labor Day is just wrong.

Hint: what else does the media do? Ever?

"Yes, Virginia, the game is rigged, but if you don't play, you definitely will not win."

So please preach celebration and happiness on Twitter? This is pretty awesome! Especially pre K and child care cost limitation. This will help women get back to work if they want! And extends the child credit too, which is a help if they would rather stay home with the kids.

And remember, Biden has three and a quarter more years and 3 more reconciliation bills to go.

So Organize, Vote, and Celebrate!
 

DORISPULASKI

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Frankly, Biden has put together three huge bills: ********* relief, bipartisan infrastructure, and this new bill.

I thought with such a narrow majority, he would be lucky to clean up some of the Trump messes. 3 huge bills I did not expect.

Getting discouraged because the media has been preaching solid doom & gloom, not to mention Democrats in Disarray, since Labor Day is just wrong.

Hint: what else does the media do? Ever?

"Yes, Virginia, the game is rigged, but if you don't play, you definitely will not win."

So please preach celebration and happiness on Twitter? This is pretty awesome! Especially pre K and child care cost limitations are amazing! This will help women get back to work if they want! And the bill extends the child credit too, which is a help if they would rather stay home with the kids.

And remember, Biden has three and a quarter more years and 3 more reconciliation bills to go!

And, remember, it is not necessary to pass stuff in such huge bills.

Call for a number of small bills on popular subjects, and make Senators vote on them. Perhaps:
  • A Let Seniors Hear Bill
  • A Dental bill
  • A vision bill
  • A Negotiate Drug Price Bill
  • The highest polling climate option that was left out.
All of that can be done in the house. If the bill is short, it is easier to sell if it is a popular choice. And it is harder to run away from if you did not vote for it.

When stuff is getting done, 11 Republicans here and there may not want to be seen as being against particular items that are very popular in their stated.

"Senator Foghorn Leghorn? He voted against puppies and kittens! Vote him out."

So Organize, Vote, and Celebrate!
 
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BlueRidge

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I am certainly very impressed with what Biden has accomplished so far with these bills, however, I will hold my breath until the reconciliation bill actually passes.

If it doesn't of course people need to understand the message: we need to elect more Democrats and more progressives. We still have a democracy and we still can vote. Are there mounting problems with the system? Absolutely. But we just need to double down on winning more seats next year.
 

DORISPULASKI

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What I want to see is a fleet of mini voting bills. Put Senators on the record for each and every provision they oppose. When they oppose discussing it, they can't hide behind other parts of the bill.

Have at least one a week. Make Tuesday Voting Day. Every single week. Make it clear that Republicans are making it hard for everyone to vote, and make it clear every week.

Or do something smarter and better.

If you get rid of the filibuster on a cut out, the Republicans will just repeal it on a filibuster with a cut out. It will be just like executive orders. They don't work past one presidency.
 

once_upon

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I'm disappointed/disgusted with the Democrat House and Senate. They have not learned from the Republican House and Senate.

The Republicans embraced Trump no matter what they might think about him because it was unity and gaining control. Supporting the rich because that was/is their only concern - reelection and loyalty.

I dont think Democrats should pledge loyalty to Biden, but if they don't compromise within the party and work together, they might as well give up, quit fund raising and hand over the government to the Republican/dictatorship.

It's not just Joe and Kristen -they just learned to be the nastiest sharks, but the progressives.

We are stuck in a world where no one wants to compromise/work together. I dont think any elected official in Congress has any interest in governing.
 

BlueRidge

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It's not just Joe and Kristen -they just learned to be the nastiest sharks, but the progressives.
Progressives support both bills; they've announced support for the final compromise package which is far from what they wanted. They will vote for both bills. Their only demand is that both be passed at once because they fear that the reconciliation package will fail without that.

If you think that's not the fault of Sinema and Manchin, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Progressives have been constructive throughout. Of course the media message is always that they are the extreme causing trouble by not caving into everything the centrists want. That's bs.
 

clairecloutier

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If it weren't for progressives, there wouldn't be any Build Back Better bill at all.

The infrastructure bill would have passed, and Manchema would have refused to vote for any new programs in the reconciliation bill. And there wouldn't have been any leverage to force them into it if they had already gotten infrastructure.

The Progressive Caucus saw this and insisted that the bills go together. If they hadn't done that--nada on Build Back Better.

Progressives are supporting the policies of this Administration. The Democratic caucus has actually been pretty united through all the major votes and bills this year. EXCEPT FOR JOE MANCHIN AND KYRSTEN SINEMA.
 

BlueRidge

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There is nothing progressives have been against, it is a matter of getting as much as they can. ONLY Joe Manchin blocked the key climate change provision, the clean electricity standard. Doing that took out the foundation of Biden's climate strategy.

Bernie Sanders who is chair of the Senate Budget Committee began with a $6.5 trillion dollar proposal. He is strongly backing the legislation that Biden put out yesterday for $1.75 trillion.

I see nowhere that the progressives have been unconstructive. Sure they could have just let the bipartisan infrastructure bill pass and let the reconciliation bill remain a distant dream, but that's not what they were elected to do and we are on the cusp of getting both. Still the only question of them both passing is whether Manchin and Sinema will vote for reconciliation or not.

Its a bit obscene to blame progressives as far as I'm concerned.
 

Vagabond

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For all their disagreements and given the constraints, the Democrats in Congress have managed to work together fairly well, with the exception of two Senators, Manchin and Sinema.

Biden has staked his Presidency on a $1.85 trillion environmental and economic spending bill, and it appears that every Democrat in the House and forty-eight Democratic Senators would vote for it. What, exactly, do Manchin and Sinema have to gain by torpedoing this bill? Scuppering the Biden Presidency is not going to win them Democratic votes when they run for re-election, and they will need Democratic votes, especially Sinema in a primary.
 

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