A Lesson Democrats Continue To Ignore: Incrementalism
Why Moderates and Progressive alike will both cost Democrats the majority in Congress if they continue on the path they find themselves on.
Since taking office in January, President Biden has been working with Democrats in Congress to pass his broad and expansive Build Back Better agenda which includes many popular agenda pieces (a permanent Child Tax Credit, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, universal pre-k, paid family and medical leave, etc.) as well as some agenda pieces that might not be as popular. These negotiations have recently taken a turn as moderate democrats in the Senate, Senator Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Sinema (D-AZ), as well as a select few in the House, continue to push for a scaled-back spending bill while Progressives argue that the current $3.5 trillion bill being negotiated IS the compromise price down from $10 trillion over 10 years.
As a proponent of many of the provisions in the Build Back Better agenda, I stand with the Progressives in guaranteeing expanded pre-k, paid family and medical leave, expanded Medicare, and a variety of other policy platforms. But I also understand the reality we face with 50 votes in the Senate and a 3 vote majority in the House: we need every vote we can get and cannot afford to lose any members. This requires compromise and my message to elected Democrats across the spectrum is simple: pass SOMETHING, expand the majority, and pass the rest later on.
I understand certain provisions, like those that address climate change, cannot wait. We must fight tooth and nail to include those provisions but should we dig in our heels and refuse to budge, potentially destroying the prospect of any bill that may pass before the 2022 midterm elections? We really cannot afford to do anything, literally. If Democrats in Congress fail to deliver a bill to President Biden for his signature, Democrats will have no chance of overcoming the decades-old political rule that the incumbent party loses seats in Congress in response to a new President. By passing something, Democrats will be able to campaign on their accomplishments as well as push for expanding on those accomplishments to include components of the Build Back Better agenda that was stripped from the original legislation.
Along with passing the Biden agenda, there are higher stakes if Democrats fail to deliver and either keep or expand the majority in the Senate but especially the House. A Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would absolutely impeach both President Biden and Vice President Harris, reject the electoral votes in the 2024 Presidential election, and do everything he can to exercise his power in favor of the Trumpist ideology that has plagued the Republican party since former President Donald Trump came on the American political stage in 2016.
I am calling on you, the person reading this, to take action. Call your Senators and Representatives. Tell them to support President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda including not just the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that was passed earlier this year by the Senate, but the reconciliation bill currently being negotiated in both chambers.