Oregon Blue Dog Kurt Schrader was the last Democrat in the House to vote against raising the minimum wage and one of the last to oppose lowering the cost of prescription drugs. He was defeated in a primary by a woman who is strongly for raising the minimum wage and strongly for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Running in a newly-created swing district, McLeod Skinner is now up against a well-funded MAGA Republican, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who opposes raising the minimum wage and opposes lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
This afternoon, Jamie told me that "Working people are struggling because the cost of living has gone up and wages have not kept pace. Corporate price gouging is part of the problem. I don’t take corporate PAC money so I’m accountable only to voters. Lowering the cost of health care is a top priority for me in Congress and an immediate way we can help Oregon families."
Of course Chavez-DeRemer is hardly the only GOP zombie opposing lowering the cost of medicine and healthcare. This morning, Axios reported that “Some key House Republicans are calling for the repeal of Democrats' newly-passed drug pricing measure if the GOP flips control of one or both chambers of Congress next year… Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, indicated repealing the drug pricing law is a likely agenda item. ‘Because those drug provisions are so dangerous, by discouraging investment in life-saving cures, I would imagine that will be a top priority for Republicans in the new session,’ he said. Rep Buddy Carter (R-GA) replied ‘yes’ when asked if he backed repeal of the drug pricing law.” It’s vaguely part of the GOP’s sad sack, so-called Commitment to America publicity stunt.
Democrats are daring the Republicans to try to repeal the popular lower pricing law— something that will, in any case, never get through the Senate and never be signed by Biden anyway.
Bernie and other progressives in both Houses have been arguing for years with corrupt conservatives in the Democratic Party that strong policies that help working families also happens to be good politics. Voters want know what their representatives are going to do for them to make their lives’ better, not what the representatives are doing to further their own careers and further ideological agendas.
Arguing about the Republicans’ efforts to block Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, Bernie noted during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC that “I have the radical idea that good policy is good politics. And it is good policy to cancel student debt in this country… What Biden did is the right thing— I would have gone further. It's what the people want. I'm not going to tell you it's 100% popular. But it is what the people want. And you know what? If you do what the people want, and not what the corporate world wants or billionaire campaign contributors want, you win elections… A strong majority of the American people think we should cancel student debt. If Senator Cruz and others want to challenge that," he added, "I think that's gonna hurt them politically.”
In his MSNBC appearance Tuesday, Sanders argued that while Biden's student debt forgiveness plan is a positive step, the White House and congressional Democrats must stress that it's just part of a broader working-class agenda that includes Medicare expansion, a minimum wage increase, and other popular policies if they're to be successful in upcoming elections.
"If Democrats are going to do well in 2022, in my view, they've got to stand up very firmly for working families, make it clear that we are seeing unprecedented levels of corporate greed, unprecedented levels of concentration of ownership in this country, all the while working families are struggling and in many instances seeing a decline in their standard of living," said Sanders.
"Now is the time, if you want to win an election, to say you know what? I'm on the side of the vast majority of Americans, Black, white, and Latino. I'm prepared to take on greedy powerful corporate interests who are enjoying record-breaking profits while you Americans can't afford healthcare, can't afford to send your kids to college, and are working for starvation wages," the senator continued. "That, to my mind, is how you go forward and win."