During Joe Biden’s election campaign, he released his social spending agenda, which he now hopes to get passed before the winter holidays. Because of the tentativeness of democrats’ control over congress, he is conglomerating all of his policy agenda items into one big package which he has coined the name The Build Back Better Act.
This act is an economic package that includes a list of items that will help American families: free community college, an expansion of medicare, climate action, and universal Pre – K. These are just some of the goals democrats in Washington D.C. hope to accomplish within the next few months.
Biden’s agenda contains some truly sustainable and transformative measures, even though the items are not nearly as progressive as some would hope for. For example, upper-class citizens often have the benefit to make their own work hours, not to mention a large salary. But, this does not exist for those who make an unfair minimum wage, often less than $15 an hour.
Progressives also wish he would entertain the idea of significantly lowering the cost of public college and increasing the corporate tax rate.
The cost of child care can be outrageously high. When someone decides to start a family by having kids, they are often straddled with high costs of child-care. It does not make any sense for Americans to have to choose between making a good living and giving their children the resources they need to be successful.
Having kids and working are both seen as a contribution to society. Why should parents need to pay large amounts of money just to have both?
All being said, I am very happy with what Biden has proposed — this is truly transformative legislation that will help ordinary people and convert our energy system to clean energy.
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are both completely aligned with Biden’s agenda. While these two leaders and most democrats agree with President Biden on his social spending plan, there are two United States Senators who believe Biden is going too far in his legislative efforts.
It does seem odd that two conservative democratic senators, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona disagree with some of Biden’s policy items.
48 out of 50 democratic senators are on board with Biden’s plan. Despite any personal disagreements, the vast majority of democrats in Washington understand that you should not sabotage the agenda of your own party.
When asked why Manchin and Sinema disagree, they were unable to come up with meaningful or substantive responses.
In my opinion, the defense of their positions is lacking because they are advocating for policies that perpetuate their personal interests; not the interests of the country or the rest of the democratic party.
For example, Senator Manchin is involved with two coal companies. He receives about half a million dollars each year just from these companies.
Given this fact, it would make sense that Manchin does not support robust and transformative climate legislation since that would directly contradict the benefit of his coal companies and therefore his income and campaign contributions.
Senator Sinema, on the other hand, receives a large amount of money from the pharmaceutical industry. One of the main sticking points with Biden’s agenda is the lowering of drug prices. If she advocates for lower drug prices, she would lose the support of the pharmaceutical industry which would affect her income and future campaigns.
I strongly disagree with both Senator Sinema and Manchin. I could very easily understand if these Senators were more flexible in their opinion, if their opinions were shared widely across the caucus, or if it appeared as if their policy positions were formed as a purely ideological position, and not personal gain.
However, this is not the case. As it stands, the democratic party is very fragile. Republicans are projected to win a large number of seats in the U.S. Senate in 2022. Therefore, a strong economic agenda passing is pertinent to democrats’ legislative agenda.
The fact is, Senator Manchin and Sinema are roadblocks to good legislation. This creates a dangerous situation because the only way Biden’s agenda will pass is with their support.
Opinions are inevitably going to be expressed. But, their disunity with the rest of the caucus is a game not worth playing, if they truly want democrats to succeed in the executive branch.