Show me your budget don’t tell me your values
Senate Democrats are again trying to get some form of their signature Build Back Better plan passed through reconciliation (a limited procedure to avoid the filibuster using budget procedure). The original framework for Biden’s domestic agenda was meant to be a transformation of our economy that would bring Democrats closer to the goals of The New Deal or Great Society with antipoverty and more pathways for the middle-class or a sustainable life for all who want it. But after failed negotiations to pair it with the infrastructure bill, Republicans holding the chips act hostage to stop any progress on Build Back Better, and Manchin cutting the size down the scope, and our aims don’t align.
Anonymous sources in Washington say Democrats have slashed the bill to 1 trillion over ten years. That is markedly smaller than the original plans of the party but not unsurprising and still leaves a lot of room to do some good. Democrats have a choice they can expand the safety net and bring costs down for Americans or continue to prioritize the rich; That choice will tell a lot about the party. I’ve been a long-time Democrat but seeing how much priority the party gives to top donors as opposed to voters is difficult to defend. The original bill failed over an attempt to shoehorn in a SALT tax deduction that was the most expensive part of the bill. The SALT TAX deduction can’t fit in this reconciliation attempt as the five-year costs are almost the entire 500 billion set aside for spending over a ten-year timetable they are trying to pass now.
So what are they going to prioritize? I’ve heard everything from healthcare, education, energy prices, antipoverty measures, and more, but I hope they use this to do right by their voters and continue the work of poverty reduction, social justice, and building economic mobility.