Another week gone, and here is October 2021 on us, already.
Every night all the calamities of the moment are covered by NBC Nightly News. In a way, the news is always the same.
We’re in a climate crisis.
Hospitals are still filled with Covid-19 patients.
We’re told America could be just weeks away from defaulting on its debt for the first time ever.
And as far as enacting President Biden’s policy agenda, we don’t have 6 major political parties in government, the way the Germans do. We have only two.
I would argue we actually have only the Democratic Party.
(The Republicans are AWOL. They very, very rarely work with the Democrats. They will kill American democracy— and kill us all— if they come back into power).
The moderates and the progressives in the Democratic Party are tussling over two big policy bills.
There’s the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and a $3.5 trillion social policy bill that includes measures related to climate change, family aid, and expansions to Medicare.
Here’s what Amber Philips writes in today’s Washington Post about the key players in the Democrats’ congressional battles.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.): Leader of centrist Democrats in the House
What he wants: A vote on the infrastructure bill on Thursday, which he didn’t get.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.): Leader of the progressive caucus in the House
What she wants: Centrist Democrats, particularly in the Senate, to get behind the $3.5 trillion spending bill that would be the capstone of Democrats’ control of Washington right now.
Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.): A centrist holdout in the Senate
What he wants: Democrats’ social safety net legislation to cost much less, around $1.5 trillion.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.): Another holdout in the Senate
What she wants: First off, for the House to pass the infrastructure bill. She helped negotiate that in the Senate, where 19 Republicans voted for it.
And like Manchin, she wants Democrats’ social safety net/climate change legislation to cost much less. But unlike Manchin, she’s been more quiet about what she could support, frustrating liberals who feel like they can’t negotiate with a moving target, or no target at all.