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Wheels Still Spinning as Sanders Urges Progressives to Hold Their Ground

Progressives and moderates still seeking common ground as September has come and gone.
Author:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi3

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a bill by the end of September. After several negotiation failures, September has come and gone.

The WSJ reports Democrats Try Again to Pass Infrastructure Bill

House Democratic leaders had planned on bringing the public works legislation up for a vote on Thursday, but a progressive rebellion against the central element of President Biden’s agenda forced lawmakers to push the vote to Friday. Progressive Democrats are insisting that the party first unite around and pass the social policy and climate proposal, using their threat to oppose the infrastructure bill as leverage in the separate negotiation with other Democrats.

Top Democrats and White House officials held a marathon session of negotiations on Thursday to try to break the impasse, with more meetings expected Friday. Central to the discussions are centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), who have each opposed the $3.5 trillion price tag for the social policy and climate bill.

Mr. Manchin said on Thursday that he could support spending $1.5 trillion on the social policy and climate bill, far below what progressive Democrats have pushed for. Some aides expect the new agreement to be worth roughly $2 trillion.

We’re going to come to an agreement. I’m trying to make sure they understand I’m at 1.5 trillion. I think 1.5 trillion does exactly the necessary things we need to do,” Mr. Manchin told reporters after a meeting with White House aides late Thursday night.

“It is an absurd way to do business, to be negotiating a multi-trillion dollar bill a few minutes before a major vote with virtually nobody knowing what’s going on,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), urging House liberals to hold their ground.

Some liberal Democrats were unfazed by Mr. Manchin’s demand. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said that negotiations among Democrats would focus on the specific initiatives that they could unify around.

Still No Outline

Need I point out there is still no outline of the $3.5 trillion spending proposal. Nor can there be as long as there is no agreement on a price.

If Mancin stick to $1.5 trillion and Sanders sticks to $3.5 trillion it does not matter one iota is there is agreement on $1 trillion worth of items.

Full Speed Ahead

Flashback September 10, 2021: Democrats "Moving Full Speed Ahead" Says Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"We're moving full speed ahead," Schumer told reporters, when asked about the suggestion last week from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to have a "Strategic Pause" .

Where's the Outline? Details? Plan?

Democrats have been working on a proposal for months and we still do not have an complete outline to criticize.

All Democrats have managed to do is float ideas they cannot get consensus on themselves. 

Pelosi wants this all done by the end of September when we still do not have an outline.

Full Speed Merry Go Round.

This is not moving ahead, it's a full speed merry go round complete with three carnival barkers (AOC, Biden, and Pelosi) all making demands "my way or no way."

We are at the same place we were at on September 10, August 10, July 10, and June 10.

Manchin Defends Stance 

Please note Joe Manchin Says His Spending, Climate Stance Should Be No Surprise.

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“People pretty much know where I’ve been all along,” said the West Virginia lawmaker, whose state went for former President Donald Trump by 39 points in 2020. “I’ve never been a liberal in any way, shape or form. There’s no one that has ever thought I was.”

For months, Mr. Manchin has criticized the $3.5 trillion price tag of Democrats’ social-policy and climate bill. But he provided his most complete accounting of his positions Thursday, as the party struggles to bridge disagreements between its centrist and progressive wings on President Biden’s agenda.

Mr. Manchin called for shrinking Democrats’ education, healthcare and climate package by more than half, to $1.5 trillion. He also laid out his terms for the climate portion of Mr. Biden’s agenda, insisting on preserving fossil fuel subsidies and avoiding penalties for coal, gas and oil; that position amounts to a break with progressives on the substance of the agenda in addition to the price tag.

In a July memo written by Mr. Manchin and signed by Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Mr. Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he wanted his committee to have exclusive jurisdiction over a so-called clean energy standard that is the foundational piece of Mr. Biden’s climate agenda. Mr. Manchin also questioned why the government would give utilities grants outright, suggesting that low-interest loans would be a better approach.

Mr. Manchin’s statements also highlight his divide with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who on Thursday reiterated his backing for climate legislation and his desire for an even bigger price tag.

We face an existential threat regarding climate change,” Mr. Sanders said. “Three-and-a-half trillion is actually a conservative number given the crisis that we face in climate.”

Existential Threat Nonsense

Sanders repeats the never ending existential threat nonsense debunked in spades. 

And he calls on the House Progressives to hold firm. 

So do I. I don't want the Progressives to give an inch on anything especially the price tag and climate.

Then as long as Manchin holds firm, nothing can pass.

Nothing Beats Nothing

None of the packages being debated are better than doing nothing at all. And as long as the Progressives and Manchin hold firm, nothing will get done.

Unfortunately, I suspect there will be a compromise by Manchin and a package closer to $2 trillion will get passed with Sanders and AOC screaming every step of the way, until something is approved. 

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