The Media Has Missed the Story: Biden and the Dems are on the Verge of Another Major Success.

The New York Times does it again: “House Delays Vote on Infrastructure Bill as Democrats Feud.” On the homepage they call it a “Big Setback for the Biden Agenda.” Really? Really? A day? A couple of days? The media is getting this story 100% wrong. 

This is not Dems in disarray. Less than $3.5 trillion is not a defeat for Biden. The Democrats are working tirelessly to shape a massive bill that will transform the lives of millions of Americans for the better, strengthen the country, improve the environment. Is that disarray? 

Biden laid out a big vision. Every sane, intellectually honest political professional knew it was an opening bid, an effort to initiate a conversation and get a Congress that exclusively served the needs of the rich under the GOP to actually do something big for the American people. 

Biden knew that differences between factions in his own party would produce a negotiation and that is exactly what is happening now. The news of yesterday is that the likely outcome is going to be something between $1.5 trillion and perhaps $2.1 or $2.2 trillion. 

Passing such a bill would not only be a massive victory for Biden and Democrats but, far more importantly, it would be one of the biggest pieces of social legislation in the United States in many years. And it is far from, as the press reports, the whole Biden agenda. 

Biden already passed, without GOP help, a $1.9 trillion rescue package earlier this year. It was just a few months ago actually, but everyone has forgotten. He got vaccines to every American who wanted one. He battled the pandemic even as the GOP took the side of the virus and death. 

He restarted the economy and produced more jobs in his first six months than any president in history–more than Trump or Bush did in their entire terms. He got America out of a disastrous 20-year war, got us back into the WHO and the Paris Accords. 

He is leading the most significant strategic reframing of US foreign policy since 2001 with concrete measures to make our focus US leadership and security, counterbalancing major powers like China, prioritizing the Pacific and making it safe through elevating ideas like the Quad. 

And his core national security-foreign policy initiative is truly a “foreign policy for the Middle Class”.  Instead of spending trillions in Afghanistan or Iraq, he is moving to invest those trillions in the United States and the real source of our strength–our people. 

Is it the Dems in disarray? When Biden has already passed a $1.9 trillion package, is certain to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and likely to soon pass a $1.5 trillion-$2.2 trillion Build Back Better package? (For those of you keeping count, that’s about $5T in help for each of us…in 10 months.) 

Are the Dems the ones in disarray when they are crafting specific programs while the GOP offers up only cynical Tweets and obstruction? The only GOP agenda items are voter suppression, defending the worst president in history and when they have power, pushing tax cuts for the rich. 

Yes, the GOP had a $5 trillion bill to their credit when Trump and they controlled the Congress–it was a tax cut that almost exclusively helped the wealthy and big companies, was unpopular politically and blew up the deficit. 

Biden and the Democrats have sought to have this BBB package entirely paid for, have been fiscally responsible throughout, want to make the tax code in the US fairer. More importantly they are not helping the 1% but you, your family, your neighbors, the rest of us, the 99%, the people the GOP have forgotten, the ones they seek to exploit by tapping into their fears and their worst selves, but the ones who end up being hurt the most by their policies. 

Is it Dems in disarray when none in the GOP supported the rescue package, just a handful have signed up for the “bipartisan” infrastructure package (that would not pass without Dems), and there are none supporting the reconciliation package?  

(Heck, just a couple of folks in the GOP were willing to stand up to defend democracy, to call out a president who incited a coup attempt.) The GOP has nothing, does nothing but harm…but sure, sure, tell me again it is the Dems in disarray. 

The Dems don’t personally benefit from the package they are currently negotiating (as GOPers did from tax cuts). They are working around the clock to find ways to support President Biden’s vision for investing in America and Americans. 

Personally, I am a progressive. I’d like to see a bigger bill, whether it was Bernie Sanders’ original $6 trillion idea or the president’s $3.5 trillion investment program. And as both of them would, I would like to see it paid for with fairer taxes on the rich and big companies. 

Big initiatives like that, fully paid for, are not inflationary, do not harm us fiscally (like the GOP tax cut did), and in fact, generate growth and new revenue. Leading economists confirm this repeatedly. That’s why these ideas are–as the press would have you believe– “spending bills” or “social safety nets.” They are not, as Joe Manchin suggested “fiscally insane.” They are much needed investment programs that would only serve to help America lead and grow in the future (and catch up to the programs most other developed nations have).

But political reality says those bills can’t happen now. But the President, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Dem progressives (with great leadership from the likes of Representative Pramila Jayapal in the House) are hammering out a way forward.

They are not going to quit until they do as much as humanly possible for the American people. In so doing they will demonstrate how public service really works, the difference between negotiation and hysterical play-by-play and color commentary in the media. 

They will produce as much as they can & then they will focus on what they can do next-whether that’s finding a way around the GOP desire to destroy the financial standing of the US and our economy or standing up for voter rights against GOP efforts at systematic voter suppression. 

And soon they will look for ways to advance the elements of this plan that did not get through this time. In short, they will continue to be the one political party in America that is working for the American people, that has a plan for our future. 

They will continue to be the one party seeking to defend our democracy and ensure our rights and strengthen our country at home and abroad. Does that sound like disarray to you? If it is, I’m all for it. We need it. It is the only path to our growth & survival as a country. 

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