WASHINGTON DC – The Congressional Black Caucus helped pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Bill last week. President Biden called it a victory, as did the New York Times.
Six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) voted against the Infrastructure Act because the popular Build Back Better Bill was not voted on at the same time.
The deal that Biden negotiated with Conservative Democrats and the CPC allowed for a vote on the infrastructure bill with a promise by five Conservative Democrats that they would get them no later than the week of the 15th until a financial report was submitted to the Congressional Budget Office.
Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner called the pledge made by Conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives “stupidity” and said that if they pledged to vote for BBB, “no later than November 15, they can do it now.”
The BBB has much in it that the majority of Americans support: childcare, paid vacation, health care, climate protection, housing, education, and a citizenship roadmap for the dreamers. The Infrastructure Bill was passed easily with support from some Republicans. It’s a business friendly bill.
Conservatives can resist voting for the BBB until November 19, as the CBO may not deliver their report by then.
Anyway, at least 20 progressive Democrats don’t trust them to keep their word and say it’s a red herring because none of those conservatives voted against the infrastructure bill and the CBO said it is expected to add $ 250 billion to the deficit.
Spend and revenue analysis by the U.S. Treasury Department, the White House, and the Joint Tax Committee all found that the BBB is either neutral or can actually reduce the deficit.
If the BBB gets to the House of Representatives by Thanksgiving and survives further cuts – the original BBB was $ 3.5 trillion and has already been reduced to $ 1.75 trillion – it has yet to pass the Senate. Senators Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia are two Democrats-in-Name-Only (DINOS) who could block the passage.
As all of these maneuvers and dramas unfold in Washington, voters across the country are concerned about when or whether the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act or the For the People Act (HR 1) will come to the vote in Congress. These two invoices were not included in last week’s transaction.
“Democracy is in danger. There are too many in this country who fail to see the urgency of the moment, ”said Wade Henderson. He is CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the oldest civil rights coalition in the United States.
Henderson told ethnic media reporters he was “deeply disappointed” that the Senate failed to advance the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last week. He found that between January and September this year, 19 states passed 33 new laws restricting freedom of choice.
He said the leadership conference had published 13 state reports documenting “chapters and verses of ubiquitous and pernicious racial discrimination in the election.”
“The evidence couldn’t be clearer that Senate action is needed to restore the proxy law,” Henderson said.
In the past, voting rights were supported on a non-partisan basis. Republicans backed the re-enactment of the Suffrage Bill in 2006 by 98 votes to 0. Thirteen incumbent Republican senators voted to be re-elected as members of Congress.
“Your unwillingness to endorse the legislation today shows how bipartisan long-standing bipartisan support for voting rights has been superseded when we need it more than ever,” said Henderson.
There are structural barriers to voting in Indian reservations. People don’t have house addresses for the mail and if you want to vote you have to drive for hours on bumpy dirt roads to vote outside the reserve. Since many Native Americans are poor, they don’t have good transportation, and many Indians just don’t care.
“The simple fact is we need federal protection in the Indian country,” said Jacqueline De Leon, Personnel Attorney, Native American Rights Fund. She said two lawsuits in Montana that had forced voting on reservations had immediate effect.
“The turnout rose from a frightening 30% to 70%. Locals vote when given a fair chance, but all too often they are not given that chance, ”she said.
Indian activists in Alaska stood up for Senator Lisa Murkowski, and because of her efforts, Murskowski voted to put the voting law up for debate in the Senate.
A political science professor at Indiana University was baffled that the Democrats failed to associate the BBB with voting rights.
Jeffrey Isaac works in an ivory tower and doesn’t expect anyone in Washington to read his blog, but maybe they should. He has a very compelling solution to the impasse between Biden and the Republicans.
“It’s simple. Why can’t Progressive Democrats get together with the Congress leadership and the White House and then announce a bespoke proposal for Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema:
You will agree to support the heavily discounted Build Back Better plan of $ 1.75 and vote for the immediate passage of the “non-partisan” infrastructure bill in exchange for the immediate passage of Freedom to, designed by none other than Joe Manchin Vote Act.
Some people don’t like ambitious social programs? Okay for now.
Don’t some people think family vacations are the right way to reconcile? Okay for now.
Some say they care about the right to vote and believe in the Freedom to Vote Act?
Fine. Then let him agree to override the Senate’s obscure filibuster rule now for this urgent legislation in the name of constitutional democracy and moving forward in social law.
Manchins can now have their “physical infrastructure” bill, and progressives can now have meaningful voting and electoral legislation. And the details of the “Build Back Better” law can be worked out in the coming days and weeks.
The Freedom of Choice Act is a fairly simple law. If the Democrats are serious, they can pass it in both houses within a few days and then pass the Infrastructure Act at the same time, with the stipulation that “Build Back Better” will follow soon. “
That didn’t happen in Washington last week, but you never know. Maybe someone there is paying attention to other ideas than their own.