No Labels-- and it's Problem Solvers offshoot-- has been one of the most destructive forces in Democratic politics over the last decade. Basically, it's a right-of-center, vehemently anti-progressive grifting operation by Nancy Jacobson and her husband, Mark Penn. We've been covering their perfidy for years. More than anything else, they have given Republican billionaires a way into Democratic politics and a way-- for a price-- to influence the direction the Democratic Party takes. Most recently they've been overtly trying to bribe reactionary Blue Dogs into opposing the Biden Jobs and Family plan, angered that it would modestly raise taxes on Americans making over $400,000 annually.
This morning, in his Hill piece, Business groups aim to divide Democrats on $3.5T spending bill, Karl Evers-Hillstrom never mentioned Penn, Jacobson, No Labels or Problem Solvers, although they are the key to his whole story.
"Business lobbyists," he wrote, "are increasingly optimistic that they can water down tax hikes and other measures in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan opposed by corporate America. Their confidence was boosted last week by an agreement struck between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 10 centrist House Democrats that ensures a Sept. 27 vote on the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this month. By agreeing to a stand-alone vote, Pelosi softened her stance that both bills must be passed together, a priority for progressives in her caucus. Business groups see that as a huge win, believing that progressives will lose some leverage over components of the reconciliation package if the House passes the $1 trillion infrastructure bill first."
That was the Jacobson-Penn strategy from Day One and why they have been encouraging the image of the "Unbreakable Nine" and why they offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to each member who would agree to spurn Pelosi. The "Unbreakable Nine" are led by Josh Gottheimer, a Penn-Jacobson puppet who heads their Problem Solvers operation. The other unbreakables include Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Kurt Schrdaer (Blue Dog-OR), Jared Golden (Blue Dog-ME), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX), Carolyn Bourdeaux (Blue Dog-GA), Ed Case (Blue Dog-HI), Filemon Vela (New Dem-TX) and was later joined by Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL). No Labels started circulating this before Murphy signed on:
Evers-Hillstrom noted that corporations support the conservative so-called "bipartisan" hard infrastructure bill but oppose the "soft" infrastructure bill, particularly because it includes tax hikes on the very wealthy to pay for popular items like child care, education and climate change mitigation. "Industry lobbyists," he wrote, "are confident they can chip away at the planned corporate tax increases and make significant changes to a Democratic proposal to overhaul international taxes on multinational corporations, arguing in both cases that such provisions would slow the U.S. recovery from the coronavirus recession. K Street is also eager to flex its muscle on Democratic plans to expand Medicare, increase taxes on capital gains, eliminate tax deductions for fossil fuels and allow the government to negotiate drug prices."
Their congressional vassals, led by Gottheimer, are arrogant enough to oppose popular proposals like expanding Medicare to include dental, hearing and eye care-- that progressives have been trying to pass for decades only to be blocked by conservatives-- in the hope that voters will forget their roles.
The corrupt lobbyists are backed by Manchin and Sinema in the Senate, of course, and Gottheimer is their cat's paw in the House. The Chamber of Commerce has been paying for digital ads for the right-wing Democrats. wooing them further into the Dark Side.
Key takeaway: "The Chamber and other business groups are preparing for potential progressive opposition to the infrastructure bill when it comes up for a House floor vote. In doing so, they’re rounding up GOP support for the measure to boost its chances of landing on President Biden's desk."
Big business may have time on its side. To beat the Sept. 27 deadline, Democrats will need to act quickly to finalize a reconciliation package that satisfies both progressives and moderates. Those efforts will come at a time when Congress also needs to pass government spending bills to avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown, not to mention the looming debt ceiling debate.
“[House Democrats] are probably going to blow by that September date,” said a lobbyist who used to work for House Republicans. “There is just too much on their plate right now.”
Pelosi last week committed to rallying Democratic support for the infrastructure bill. She added that the House would need to pass the measure by Sept. 30 anyway, as some surface transportation programs are set to expire on that date.
Those factors might make it difficult for a large number of progressives to vote against the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, especially if the larger party-line package isn’t close to being ready, business lobbyists said.
Democratic committee chairs have begun working out the details of the $3.5 trillion spending plan, but the process is still very much in the early stages.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) unveiled a draft international tax plan Wednesday that would enact stricter penalties on companies shifting jobs and profits overseas. He did not say what tax rate corporations would pay.
Lobbyists expect Democrats to raise the top corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent. That’s lower than the 28 percent rate proposed by Biden, but right in line with what Manchin said he’d be comfortable with.
Other revenue raisers are being targeted by monied interests, threatening to drastically reduce the size of the final bill if Democrats cut them out.
A “dark money” group run by former [as in defeated for being a right-wing piece of garbage like Sinema, Manchin and Gottheimer] Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) announced a six-figure ad campaign Friday opposing Democrats’ proposal to tax capital gains at death, a key source of funding for the spending plan.
The pharmaceutical industry is fighting a proposal that would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs, which would save the federal government $456 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.