Build Back Better Act Continues Dissolving As Manchin & Sinema Do Their Little Hitler-In-Paris Jigs

Larry Kudlow loves them even if Democrats don't-- drawing by Nancy Ohanian

You remember when, during the 2020 primary campaign, Biden said that nothing will fundamentally change? That's one campaign promise he seems ready to keep, slashing crucial parts of the Build Back Better Act to please Manchin, Sinema and a pack of rabid corrupt conservatives in the House, led by Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Jared Golden (Blue Dog-ME)...

Congressman Don Beyer is a moderate Virginia multimillionaire with statewide ambitions. A New Dem, he represents VA-08, the state's most progressive district. Trump only got 21.1% of the vote in the diverse Beltway suburbs that make up his district. The PVI is D+27, by far, the best in the state. Beyer isn't nearly as progressive as his district. His ProgressivePunch scot is "C," not the "D" or "F" you might expect from a New Dem multimillionaire, but... he could be doing much better. And sometimes he does to much better. Today he led a letter to Biden urging him to not abandon paid family and medical leave in the Build Back Better Act.

Beyer, and his 104 co-signatories wrote that "The need to take leave is inevitable over the course of a lifetime, whether to care for a loved one with a serious medical condition, welcome a new family member, as in the birth or adoption of a child, or to handle a personal health crisis. Without universal paid leave, as our population ages, more and more workers will find themselves forced to choose between dealing with family and health challenges and staying in the workforce. Yet, the United States is the only Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country that does not require paid leave for new mothers, is one of only two OECD countries that does not require paid medical leave, and is increasingly out of step with its peer countries who now offer caregiving leave... Furthermore, we cannot ignore the economic benefits of paid leave. Enacting paid leave also means that families will continue to earn some income at the very time when they need it most-- when a family is growing or a member is sick and needs medical care. Workers will be able to continue to earn a portion of their wages, allowing them to continue to meet their basic needs and pay bills before returning to work. Moreover, lack of paid leave has meant that workers lose an estimated $22.5 billion in wages each year when that could have been used to keep a family afloat and spent in local economies."

I looked through the members of Congress who signed the letter. There are plenty of moderates like Beyer, aside from people who you would expect to sign this kind of letter, from AOC, Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu, Nanette Baragan, Barbara Lee and Rashida Tlaib to Mondaire Jones, Andy Levin and Marie Newman. There's not a single Republican on it. Arewhere are th Blue Dogs? I see just one on the list. Conservatives-- regardless of whether they have an "R" or a "D" next to their names-- are not on the side of American families.

Orange County progressive Mike Ortega is running for a seat held by one of Califiornia's most reactionary-- and corrupt-- career politicians, Lou Correa, who is actively hekping his No Labels pals water down the Build Back Better plan. "This," Ortega told me today, "is at the heart of why we’re fighting for our movement in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Orange. Our people work for a living, and our jobs don’t always provide a way for us to care for our families when we’re sick, injured, or are welcoming a new life to this world. While the House Ways and Means Committee has watered down the provisions since it was in the FAMILY Act, it's still imperative that we include them in this bill. No one should be an elected leader of the hard-working people of our district and not fight for this bill and to make it stronger. This is yet another example of why Lou Correa absolutely does not represent the values of his constituents-- throughout the negotiations in Congress this year, he's fought against significantly lowering prescription drug prices, against fairly raising the corporate tax rate, and has refused to support necessary advancements in the Green New Deal. We've had enough of his campaign against working people. That's why our people-powered movement that refuses corporate-PAC money will win out."

Last week, another California progressive, San Fernando Valley's Shervin Aazami, publicly confronted corporate Dem Brad Sherman "to ask if he will join progressives in withholding his vote on infrastructure in the absence of a secured deal on the Build Back Better package. He dodged the question and said the 'tactic' changes every day. I'd like to see Brad Sherman look working families in the San Fernando Valley in the eyes and explain why he won't fight for paid family leave, for universal child care, for tuition-free college, for public housing, climate policy, and so on. But truthfully, I'm not surprised Brad isn't a signatory to this letter-- you can't be an advocate for working people when you're sitting on a $3.7 million war chest from defense companies, private equity firms, and Wall Street banks."

Please consider contributing to Shervin's and Mike's campaigns-- as well as Sergio Alcubilla's, Queen Johnson's and Jason Call's by clicking on the 2022 Blue America congressional thermometer below and donating act you. You can give to one candidate or two candidates or all the candidates-- to whomever appeals to you.

Honolulu Blue Dog Ed Case has a real opponent this cycle in Sergio Alcubilla who called him out today for his refusal to back Biden's efforts towards a more equitable economy and decent living conditions for working families. "We cannot continue to be the only major country in the world without a minimum paid medical and family leave. Not only is this good for workers and families but is common sense for businesses as well. As we've seen in the labor force lately, workers will no longer tolerate employers who don't care about them, their health, or their families. The lack of paid leave or even a sense of worker loyalty resulted in people missing out on those important few weeks spent with their newborn child or the last few weeks spent with a loved one. Workers have come to realize that if they drop dead at work, they'll be replaced in a few days. Those moments we have with our loved ones are precious and irreplaceable. I am disappointed but not surprised that Rep. Ed Case, our incumbent for Hawai‘i Congressional District 1 did not join Rep. Kai Kahele (HI-CD2) and over 100 other House Democrats in a letter urging President Biden to protect paid leave in the Build Back Better Act as a top priority. You cannot tell the people of Hawai‘i that you support President Biden and the Build Back Better Act but do nothing to fight for the priorities that will help so many workers and their families in our state. If you're going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk."

Hakeem Jeffries pretends to be a progressive and intends to follow Pelosi as the next leader of the House Democrats. His primary opponent, Queen Johnson, doesn't like the lack of energy she's seeing from Jeffries when it comes to working class policy priorities. This morning she told me she stands "in solidarity with the 105 members of Congress who wrote to President Biden in maintaining robust paid family and medical leave in the final reconciliation package. Having to choose between work and a family emergency is inhumane. I experienced unpaid leave for 12 weeks, and it caused financial stress. During that time off, I had no income coming in and I owed rent while going through a family crisis. What is the point of the reconciliation package if it doesn’t prioritize the people's needs? Paid family and medical leave is an urgency, in the workforce and should be left in the final reconciliation package. As I was reading the letter, I noticed my opponent Hakeem Jeffries didn’t sign to keep paid and family medical leave in the reconciliation package. This is not surprising, but it is disappointing because in NY-08 this is a sense of urgency. This only shows Mr. Jeffries is not on the side of the working families of Brooklyn and Queens."

Jason Call is running for the northwest Washington congressional seat occupied by useless corporate Dem Rick Larsen. Needless to say, he didn't sign the letter, nor would anyone who follows his record in Congress expect him to "Time and time again," said Call today, "when WA-02 corporate incumbent Rick Larsen has an opportunity to show up for working people, he takes a pass. His messaging is all about being a grassroots progressive, while his 3rd quarter FEC filings show 55% of his fundraising from Corporate PACs at an average drop of $1881, from his usual suspect friends at Raytheon and ExxonMobil. Failing to sign this letter is a slap in the face to the people in this district who are struggling to make ends meet, at a time when union membership is low and leave benefits can’t be bargained for, at a time when we still have many people catching covid and needing to quarantine just to keep their loved ones, their coworkers, their classmates safe. My own son just had to spend ten days at home quarantine for what was probably a false positive home covid test (the actual medical facility test was negative-- but they still wouldn’t let him back in school). Now translate that scenario to people in the workforce and you have an absolute nightmare for low income workers with no benefits. Not having paid leave available is going to force potentially contagious workers back into the workspace. Not only is Larsen anti-worker in failing to get behind this letter, he’s anti-science. But it’s quite in line with Larsen’s history of voting against benefits to working people and the poor. He routinely votes for stringent means testing on any assistance to the poor and middle class, if he doesn’t outright vote against that assistance. In fact, anyone taking even a cursory look at his voting record would wonder which party he is in. The voters of this district need better representation. Rick Larsen is a failure.