I bear New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan no personal animosity. But I have to admit, I won't regret seeing her lose her seat next year. As I noted yesterday, Hassan, a complete waste of a Senate seat, only won in 2016 by a thousand votes-- 354,649 (48.0%) to 353,632 (47.8%). A conservative, status quo Democrat, she's already polling poorly, as she deserves to be. Yesterday, she and the other dimwit conservaDem from her state, Jeanine Shaheen, helped persuade Biden to lower the income cut off for COVID-rescue checks. If you are wondering when Democrats will wake up and figure out that it never, never, never helps them and always hurts them-- policy-wise and politically-- to negotiate with themselves, the answer is... have you ever waited for Godot?
Too pathetic to pass Medicare-for-All, the Democrats' Obamacare legislation started out as a decent bill-- never perfect-- but pretty good. Then Republicans started wailing about how socialistic it was and how unfair Democrats were for not making it more "bipartisan"-- and conservative Democrats panicked, took the bait and turned the bill into something that would be easy for the GOP to weaponize against them. By giving in to many conservative demands, they made the policy less functional and less beneficial to millions of Americans-- and promptly lost 63 House seats-- and control of Congress. The only good part of the story is that dozens and dozens of the conservative Democrats who forced the "compromise" (with Republicans who still all voted against it and all called it socialist and not bipartisan in the election) lost their seats. What a joy it was to see stinking, vile piles of Blue Dog and New Dem garbage lose their careers: Bobby Bright (AL), Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Jim Marshall (GA), Walt Minnick (ID), Melissa Bean (IL), Baron Hill (IN), Travis Childers (MS), Gene Taylor (MS), Bob Etheridge (NC), Chris Carney (PA), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)... and scores of others!
That's going to probably happen again next year-- and for the exact same reason. Weak, conservative Democrats are playing the same losing game. Pass the damn COVID-rescue package and stop watering it down. The bill is already too conservative; making it worse, isn't going to help. It will do the country and you NO GOOD at all-- quite the opposite.
Garbage Democrats like Hassan and Shaheen worked with Manchin and other conservative Democrats to persuade the easily persuadable corporate whore in the White House to narrow eligibility for the already watered down-- from $2,000 to $1,400 rescue checks-- bill. Will that win them any love from the American people? Will it win them any Republican votes in Congress or at the polls in 2022? What assholes! These imbeciles are using Republican Party framing about more "targeted spending," a losing game.
Writing for the Washington Post this afternoon, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein reported that that in "the plan passed by the House last week, individuals earning below $75,000 per year and couples making up to $150,000 per year would qualify for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. The size of that payment begins diminishing for higher earners. Under the House plan, individuals making up to $100,000 per year and couples making up to $200,000 per year would receive a partial payment less than $1,400 per person, scaled down depending on income. Under the new structure, the checks would phase out faster for those at higher income levels, compared to the way the direct payments were structured in Biden’s initial proposal and the version of the bill passed by the House on Saturday." The conservaDem plan cancels checks for anyone earning more than $80,000 annually.
Werner and Stein pointed out that that means "singles making between $80,000 and $100,000, as well as couples earning between $160,000 and $200,000, are newly excluded from a partial benefit under Biden’s plan." Originally, right-wing Democrats were demanding that no one making over $40,000 get anything.
A few congressional progressives will resist-- and then fall in line. Pramila gets it: "Further 'targeting' or 'tightening' eligibility means taking survival checks away from millions of families who got them last time. That’s bad policy and bad politics too." But will 6 House Dems just put their foot down and say Manchin doesn't run the party; we won't vote for this unless...? Nope-- and Biden knows it... which is why he's negotiating with conservatives, not progressives.
I asked some of the Blue America candidates what they would do if they were in Congress facing this now. Jason Call, the progressive running in a Washington district occupied by worthless New Dem Rick Larsen, explained his own perspective. "The Obama administration failed to adequately support the middle and working class coming out of the Great Recession, and Democrats paid dearly for it, losing state and federal seats all across the country. This failure unquestionably lead to Trump’s election. People were angry, rightfully so. They were presented an option, grotesque as it was, to express that anger and they took it. Means testing the upcoming stimulus checks is going to breed the same anger and resentment, and again it will be righteous. I fail to see how the Democratic Party will benefit politically from restricting eligibility from middle class families, many of whom have lost jobs recently and are also struggling to pay mortgages and bills. This is the most shortsighted move imaginable at this critical juncture where people are expecting the Biden administration to distinguish itself from Trump. Put simply-- and this goes for stimulus checks, healthcare, education, and the minimum wage-- give people what they need to thrive, not just survive. And if you’re worried about giving too much to the rich, take it back in taxes. It’s not that damn hard."
Shervin Aazami is also running against a corporate Democrat, Brad Sherman, but in California's San Fernando Valley. "When," he asked rhetorically, "was the last time we means-tested corporate bailouts? When was the last time we told the wealthy 'hey, we reduced your capital gains tax, so we're going to take away your inheritance tax exemption.' No. They get their cake and eat it too, while we balance the budget on the backs of working people. It is purely asinine that establishment Democrats are pushing these eligibility restrictions during a monumental crisis. And I haven't heard my opponent, Brad Sherman, say a single word in opposition to means-testing relief for working families. If Democrats want any hope of keeping their razor slim majority in 2022, then they need to stay true to their word. Passing a $15 minimum wage and recurring $2,000 survival checks are the bare minimum."
Mayor Colin Byrd is one of the progressives taking on Steny Hoyer this cycle. He told me he agrees with Pramila that "the decision to further narrow eligibility for stimulus payments was bad policy and bad politics. Fewer Americans will receive survival checks. That said, in all fairness, this additional narrowing of eligibility is largely the fault of conservative Senate Democrats, not House Democrats. However, as much as I'm concerned about Senate Democrats' position on eligibility, I'm even more concerned about the broken promise related to the amount. That's where the president and House Democrats-- and, especially, House Democratic leaders-- caved all by themselves. The promise was $2,000, not $1,400. That's what I'd be-- and would've been-- most focused on fighting for-- $2,000 checks. And, to be even more specific: monthly $2,000 checks. These are badly needed for people to survive financially. The pandemic is not ending anytime soon, and monthly bills are not ending anytime soon. I'd also be focused on fighting for the $15 minimum wage and holding the line at $350 billion (or more) in state and local government aid."