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$3.5 Trillion or Nothing? - Progressives Need to Compromise on Infrastructure and Build Back Better

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Senate Democrats and Republicans have passed a bi-partisan, $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill. President Biden supports this bill and would sign it. In a separate bill, moderate Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) appear willing to vote for an additional $1.5 trillion (but not the full $3.5 trillion) for the Build Back Better (BBB) bill. The proposed $1.5 trillion BBB plan would still include extending the expanded Child Tax Credit through 2025, which would greatly benefit lower and middle-class families. The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill, combined with a $1.5 trillion BBB Bill, would result in a total of $2.7 trillion for targeted Democratic priorities. Instead of taking the bird-in-the-hand $2.7 trillion and achieving a significant victory for the Democratic Party, progressives in the House of Representatives could derail everything. Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez (AOC) and other progressives have threatened to vote against the bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill unless fellow Democrats agree to support the full $3.5 trillion for the BBB. Given the slim Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, AOC and the progressives refusal to compromise and accept the lower $1.5 trillion BBB offer could result in the Infrastructure and BBB bills both going down in defeat. In my opinion, this would be a complete disaster for the Democratic Party. Most Democrats, and most lower and middle-class families, would much rather have half of something, rather than 100% of nothing.

Let's not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Progressives can always come back later and try to obtain additional funding for healthcare, education, climate change initiatives and other social programs (which I fully support). Right now, however, all Democrats need to come together and quickly approve the proposed $2.7 trillion (total) in the two spending bills. If both bills go down in defeat, it will demonstrate that Democrats care more about politics than people. In addition, Republicans will have a field day next year reminding Americans that House Democrats voted down bi-partisan efforts to address our crumbling infrastructure. At that point, every pothole in America will be the Democrats' fault... and there are an awful lot of potholes in Harris County.

For more on this developing story, please click on the links below:

UPDATE 10/4/21: Good news. While the Infrastructure and Build Back Better bills remain in limbo, it appears progressive and moderate Democrats are now willing to come together and compromise in order to pass those bills. Democratic leadership set 10/31/21 as the new "deadline" to pass those bills. For more on this story, please click on the links below.

UPDATE 11/5/21: The House passed the 1.2 trillion-dollar bipartisan Infrastructure Bill by a vote of 228 - 206. Almost all of the House Democrats, and 13 Republicans, voted for the bill. Of note, without the Republicans, this bill would not have passed. So, which six Democrats abandoned President Biden (and our Party) by refusing to vote for this critical bipartisan bill? Our most radical, left-wing progressives, of course (see the list below).

With the Infrastructure Bill complete, House Democrats will next debate the Build Back Better bill during the week of November 15, 2021. Before then, I hope the progressive democrats listed above will go buy a dictionary and look up the word "compromise." Again, half of something is much better than 100% of nothing.

For more on the Infrastructure Bill, please click on the links below:

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