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C'mon Senate: Do Your Job

Unrepresentative Policy of the Week: Don't Listen to Deficit Hawks, Pass the Full Infrastructure Package

What a rare and promising turn of events, to find Nancy Pelosi, house leadership, and the DCCC turning the screws on corporatist democrats, instead of their favorite target, progressive lawmakers. The expected pressure by “moderate” Congressional Democrats to immediately pass the bipartisan skinny infrastructure passage before voting on the larger reconciliation bill, has been met with the sort of scorn and dismissal from Pelosi, normally reserved for policies like the Green New Deal, or Medicare for All. She was recorded on a phone call with donors, calling the attempt “amateur hour.” Meanwhile, the DCCC seems to be threatening fundraising support for intransigent members of the party.

Speculation abounds as to the impetus for this shift by Pelosi, et. al. Those feeling generous can chalk it up to Pelosi seeing a last opportunity to help children through the expanded EITC. She did, after all, champion CHIP years ago. Even this generous view, however, implicitly suggests that many Democrats view this as their last chance to pass policy. This may be because they are nearing the end of their careers, or because they already believe 2022 will see them lose control of Congress, leaving them one last hail mary pass to get the job done.

Polling also suggest that the size of the infrastructure bill doesn’t affect support among Americans, de-fanging the fiscal deficit hawks. Even their own voters support the reconciliation bill

Lawmakers in Congress recently introduced a $_____ trillion proposal to increase access to health care and child care, expand the use of clean energy, and increase educational opportunities.

Do you support or oppose this proposal?

$3.5 Trillion. $2.5 Trillion. $1.5 Trillion

Support 62% 64% 65%.

Oppose 32% 28%. 27%

Some lawmakers have proposed a new $3.5 Trillion "Build Back Better" proposal that would expand Medicare benefits, lower healthcare costs and prescription drug prices, and expand access to affordable caretaking services for children and the elderly. This plan would also take action to address climate change and extreme weather, create clean energy jobs, and reduce pollution.

Do you Support or Oppose this proposal?

Support: 63%

Oppose: 33%

All of this assumes that Pelosi et. al actually want to pass the larger infrastructure package. They certainly should, it’s good policy and politics. As we’ve seen so often, that is rarely what determines the legislation that passes. Another explanation lies in the growing power of progressive lawmakers, and their wise use of leverage. Progressive Democrats came out early as a unite block, promising to block the bipartisan bill without first voting on the reconciliation deal. This was excellent politics and negotiation, something we had hoped they would employ earlier during the Covid relief bill. Thankfully lawmakers like the Justice Democrats, seem to be learning that when they’ve got the people on their side, it’s possible to wield real power.

The ball is not across the goal line yet, and there is still time for Democrats to bungle it by buckling to elite pressure. Regardless of their personal dispositions to this or that policy, without support from the people this, and future, legislation will be slow walked and watered down to oblivion. With how slowly Congress works, we cannot let that happen. We must raise our voices and demand our politicians follow through on the promises they made to us. And further, we must organize economically, to fight the powerful elites who fight tooth and nail to prevent this much needed policy for the America. So join us each Tuesday to create this economic cudgel, and let’s rebuild America together!

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