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President Biden: You Have Wanted to Be This For Half of a Century. So Do it Right.

After months of insisting that passage of both the corporate-backed bipartisan infrastructure deal, and Biden’s build back better plan must be linked, the House congressional progressive caucus, led by Pramila Jayapal blinked. The $1.2 trillion ($550 billion in new spending) bipartisan infrastructure deal passed the House 228-206, with 13 Republicans voting for the legislation, and 6 Democrats against. In return, for their votes, Jayapal has apparently received verbal promises that the greater part of Biden’s agenda in the build back better legislation, will still be passed over in the next few weeks.

We’ll find out just how much those promises were worth in the coming days, but as Congresswoman AOC explained casting her no vote, the calculus hasn’t changed, by passing the bipartisan bill alone, progressives lost nearly all of their remaining leverage. Even if a second bill does pass, there is nothing stopping the corporatists anymore from stripping every remaining good provision out of the bill.

That the corporate backed bill was passed during COP26, was both extra galling and symbolic. While the United States supported symbolic, non-binding commitments to phase out coal at COP26, they passed over a trillion in infrastructure spending, with no focus on the climate crisis, and now real emission reductions. What better way to demonstrate America’s real priorities?

While we can be sad, disappointed, and even angry at the progressive caucus for folding when their bluff was called, the Biden administration’s behavior in Glasgow at COP26, and his activities at home point to a larger problem which progressive democrats alone can’t solve: Biden (and conservative democrats) just aren’t focusing on the right issues.

So far, would you say Joe Biden (has had the right priorities), or that he (hasn't paid enough attention to the country's most important problems)?

Has the right priorities: 42%

Hasn't paid enough attention to most important problems: 58%

Ultimately, as frustrating as the failure of the progressive caucus was to hold firm, the majority of the blame lies at Biden and Democratic leadership’s feet for failing to fight for their own stated agenda. Time and again, the Biden administration has ignored the people’s most desperate needs, in favor of process and political comradery. Biden has allowed the most popular provisions of his agenda, like paid family leave, and negotiating prescription drug prices, to be publicly stripped from legislation by members of his own party, while he barely lifts a finger. Instead, he seems to prefer hiding behind the sanctity of bureaucratic process to excuse his embarrassing failure.

The survey above, makes it clear the American people see what’s happening, and they aren’t pleased.

There is still some time for Biden to turn things around and start focusing on the issues that actually matter to Americans, like those we cover every week at DSOT. He could still mobilize and fight for the build back better agenda, using carrots and sticks to convince Manchin and Sinema to get on board. Or barring that, there are a plethora of executive orders, like eliminating student loan debt, that Biden could pursue without waiting for Congress.

We at DSOT certainly hope that Biden and other Democrats do begin to rise to the occasion, if only for their own political survival, but experience tells us, they won’t. At least not without a big push. The death grip of corporate control is simply too pervasive for Democrats to fight on their own. To defeat the donor class and get Biden’s or any administration actually focused on the issues that matter most its going to take mass political and economic organizing. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity, as we build our economic cudgel and work to take back our government from the donor class!

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