With Reconciliation Hacked in Half, Sanders Warns US Democracy Is “in Danger”

The White House released this Thursday morning: a new framework for the Democrats’ reconciliation bill, investing a mere $1.75 trillion into social and climate programs over 10 years and cutting key proposals like paid medical and family leave. The bill would cost $175 billion per year, which is less than half the Senate’s amount. has taken for the defense budget for next year — even though the original reconciliation draft was entirely paid for.

The bill is being cut by drastic measures, slashing its $3.5 trillion price tag to half. Overwhelmingly popularThe bill now excludes proposals such as paid leave, free community colleges, and tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. Also, provisions to allow Medicare prices to be negotiated and to cover vision, dental, and vision are gone. The Clean Energy Payment ProgramAlong with electric vehicle financing, the former central component of the climate plank has been dropped.

President Joe Biden is in the midst meetings with Congress on ThursdayIn an attempt to convince the Democratic caucus support the new draft. As negotiations drag on, the official draft text of this bill has not been completed. Provisions could still be added to or subtracted. After months of negotiations, however, the outlook is grim for progressives and the members of the public who voted for the bill as it was originally presented.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has emphasized to reporters that the bill isn’t just a race between politicos in Congress; it’s about protecting the public against huge corporations and special interests that have spent at least tens of millions lobbying against proposals that will improve Americans’ lives.

“The challenge that we face in this really unusual moment in American history is whether we have the courage to stand with the American people and take on very powerful special interests,” Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. “If we fail — in my view, if the American people do not believe that government can work for them and is dominated by powerful special interests, the very fabric of American democracy is in danger,” he continued. “People will no longer believe — have faith that their government represents them. That’s what this issue is about.”

Two conservative Democrats in Congress were responsible for most of the cuts to the bill. Lobbyists and lobbyists are very close friendsThey have become household name because of their obstruction: Senators Kyrsten SInema (D–Arizona), Joe Manchin, (D–West Virginia).

Late Wednesday, a frustrated Sanders blasted Sinema (and Manchin) for scrapping the bill he had written earlier this year. have “sabotaged” and “destroyed”The bill.

Manchin, in particular, has been on a warpath this past week, cutting electric vehicle creditsA billionaire tax that would have only affected the Wealthiest Americans: 0.0002 PercentThe bill is essentially a bill. complete frivolity.

“They talked about electric vehicles spending, $80 million building charging stations,” Manchin saidRecently, I made a wildly false equivalence. “I said I’m having a hard time with that. I don’t remember the federal government building filling stations when Henry Ford invented the Model T.” Of course, the Model T was invented in 1908, when there were only about two cars per thousand peopleAnd when people didn’t know about the rapidly worsening climate crisis that electric vehicle provision aims at addressing.

Manchin had earlier this year stated in a secret memoHe wanted a bill of $1.5 trillion. If cutting the bill has been the lawmaker’s goal this whole time, then he has largely succeeded: Progressives had originally proposed $6 trillion, or even $10 TrillionTo pass a social- and climate spending bill. Manchin is only required to give up $25 billion annually, even though they must compromise by trillions.

Sinema on the other hand has been deliberately opaque about her demands. Most absurdly, she demanded that the Republican-supported, dismally low corporate tax rates and wealthy be maintained at their current, Republican supported levels. She has also succeeded in getting the plan to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices removed from the bill entirely — despite the fact that the proposal had a whopping 88 percentThe public approves of the project at a high rate.

Certain provisions remain in the bill which could have a negative impact on climate change and slightly increase the social safety net. The White House claimsClimate experts doubt that the $555 billion allocated for climate provisions such as clean energy credits will reduce emissions by 50 to 52 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. However, climate experts believe that this is unlikely. the climate provisions will work withoutMechanisms for enforcement

Although universal pre-kindergarten funding and child care funding are still included in the bill, child care funding is not. no longer universalAs it was in previous drafts. The bill extends for one year the expanded child tax credit, even though it was under threat of being cut completely. severely means testedManchin was the one who made this possible. The original framework would have provided funding for the expanded child tax credit for another ten years.

The bill will likely still contain the following: fossil fuel subsidies — over a hundred billions’ worthIf Manchin, the deficit hawk, gets his way. The coal baron hasAlso included were funds for the coal industryThe bill. As chair of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Manchin is in charge of crafting the energy provisions of the bill, despite his cozy relationship with Exxon lobbyists — meaning that funding for the coal industry may well make it into the final draft.