Does this sound complicated? Democrats can do the right thing-- the popular thing that people elected them to do-- say, lower the cost of drugs and the Medicare eligibility requirement and increase the minimum wage, to name just 3-- and ride that into the midterms. Instead, the Democrats have chosen to unmask themselves as a party incapable to govern and unfit to lead. The last time the Democrats voted to raise the minimum wage was one minute after midnight on July 18, 2019. 228 Democrats + 3 Republicans voted for the Raise the Wage Act and 193 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted against it. The Senate refused too take it up so it died. But lets get back to "6 Democrats voted against it." These were the 6:
Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY)
Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC)
Kendra Horn (Blue Dog-OK)
Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Xochitl Torres Small (Blue Dog-NM)
They jeopardized the Democratic Party and the party's entire brand by voting no. The following year, voters went to the polls and defeated 5 out of the six-- Brindisi Cunningham, Horn, McAdams and Torres Small. Only Schrader survived-- and there is every reason to believe that this year Jamie McLeod Skinner will crush him in a primary.
The other 5 were defeated after Pelosi decided that the DCCC and its allies should waste millions of dollars trying to save their worthless asses. Anthony Brindisi outspent his crackpot extremist opponent $5.7 million to $2.7 million and the DCCC and its allies put another $8 million into his race, trying to savers ugly career. Joe Cunningham outspent Republican Nancy Mace by over a million dollars and the DCCC and satellite groups threw in another $6 million. Kendra Horn spent $5.9 million to Stephanie Brice's $3.5 million, with the DCCC and company kicking in close to $8 million more. Ben McAdams spent about half a million more than Republican Burgess Owens and the DCCC and allies wasted another $7 million. Torres Small spent $8.5 million to Yvette Herrell's $2.9 million while the DCCC and allies put $11 million into trying to save this anti-worker piece of shit.
Kurt Schrader didn't have a serious opponent. Republican Amy Courser only raised $231,624, less than a tenth of what Schrader's corporate donors gave him. The DCCC didn't have to spend any money on that race, Center Forward, the Blue Dog PAC funded by Big PhRMA put over $50,000 into the race anyway, as did the National Association of Realtors PAC, which helped fund Republicans and corrupt right-wing Democrats.
Schrader is the only Democrat left in the House who voted against raising the minimum wage. A Pfizer heir, this cycle he has put most of his energy into preventing the Democrats from passing a robust program to lower the price of prescription drugs. If you want to help Jamie McLeod-Skinner primary him, please click here and contribute what you can. This morning, Politico reported, probably inaccurately, that the "Democrats are close to making good on long-held promises to lower prescription drug costs and make health care more affordable. The rub? Voters won’t feel much of it until after the 2022 elections." The bill is:
a- not very robust
b- likely to be killed in the Senate by Manchin and Sinema
Still, Politico pointed out without explaining a or b that "The party is increasingly banking its midterm prospects on passage of the president’s domestic agenda in the coming weeks, convinced that it can help counteract concerns of inflation and inaction in D.C." That would be possible if the program was robust, if Manchin and Sinema weren't working for Big PhRMA and if the Democrats had passed the bill in time for it to impact drug prices before the midterms.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told Politico that the party’s physical infrastructure bill that Congress recently sent to Biden’s desk isn’t enough and pointed to the health provisions of the still-pending $1.75 trillion social spending bill as the types of measures that could win over voters.
When people see the roads and bridges in their communities, when they see water systems being created ... and they see the $65 billion in broadband expenditures, that is a big, big deal,” he said. “But if you do that and do that only, what would you have done for prescription drugs? Nothing, that's in the other bill.
“So Build Back Better has got to get done because the highest polling thing yet is the prescription drugs,” Clyburn added, referring to the name of the social spending bill coined by the White House.
But most of those measures aren’t slated to go into law upon passage. Indeed, by the time voters see their impact, the election will have passed. Penalties on drugmakers that hike prices faster than inflation and a new $35-per-month cap on insulin won’t begin until 2023. A $2,000 cap for all out-of-pocket drug spending for seniors won’t be implemented until 2024, and the lower prices Medicare will negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for some of the most expensive drugs won’t be available until 2025 — with a full phase-in coming in 2028. Coverage of hearing aides under Medicare, another one of the provisions most popular with voters, will similarly not begin until 2024.
Some of these provisions aim to lower the cost of the drugs themselves, while others shift the burden onto insurance companies and the governments, and still others aim to simply slow the speed at which prices increase.
“It may all feel a little theoretical rather than tangible for voters, and that poses a challenge for Democrats in the midterm elections,” said Larry Levitt, the executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Any time when there’s a gap between a bill passing and it going into effect, that gives opposition forces time to mobilize. The Affordable Care Act, for example, had a long lag between its passage and when it took effect, and the opposition certainly mobilized during that time. It’s still standing, but Democrats took a big political hit.”
The lag in implementation could complicate the sales job for Biden and down-ballot Democrats as they try to sell the impact of the president’s sweeping package to aid families, boost child care and combat climate change. Currently, voters in multiple polls say they don’t know what's in the president's package. GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, have zeroed in on the prescription drug provisions, echoing industry arguments that they would hamper the invention of new medicines and drive U.S. pharmaceutical companies to move overseas.
The decision to push back some of the benefits in the Build Back Better legislation to the latter years was driven by the time needed to set up new programs and by the pressure to keep the cost of the bill under the threshold necessary to pass it without Republican votes.
“There are realities we’re up against, including scoring,” Ways and Means Chair [and corporate corporate whore] Richard Neal (D-MA) lamented. “Arithmetic can be pretty stubborn.”
It echoes a similar dilemma the party confronted 12 years ago when it passed the Affordable Care Act. That law set up health care exchanges and accompanying subsidies to purchase insurance that were not available until well after the 2010 midterms. That was largely because it was difficult to craft those markets from scratch, but operatives subsequently concluded that Democrats were hurt by backlogging the law’s positive elements while front-loading its new taxes.
The party got crushed in those midterms. But the health care law subsequently became widely popular. And pledges to defend it against GOP repeal efforts and make health care less expensive helped the party win back the House in 2018 and the Senate and White House in 2020.
Among the House Democrats who put the party in this position were 4 particularly corrupt Blue Dogs who have viable primary candidates Ed Case (opposed by Sergio Alcubilla), Lou Correa (opposed by Mike Ortega), Henry Cuellar (opposed by Jessica Cisneros). It would be worth supporting the 4 challengers and one way to do that is to contribute what you can to their campaigns. That's why I included the 2022 Blue America "Primary A Blue Dog" thermometer on the left. Give it a tap and contribute what you can to any or all of the candidates. Let's end this shit before Republicans do it for us.