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Fri Oct 29, 2021, 09:23 AM

Sooner is better than later, but best is better than sooner. I can wait a couple of weeks if need be

That doesn't mean I'm not frustrated and inpatient. I refresh my screen ten times an hour looking for new updates on the status of congressional negotiations. I know that the torturous slow process of getting Build Back Better over the finish line doesn't help Democrats. And it is human nature to look for someone to blame when things don't go the way we want or need them to. I have my preferred targets, yours may or may not differ, but ultimately all of that pales before the enormity of what is being done now in Congress, under President Biden's leadership, to uplift the American people with tangible core support that can and will transform millions of lives for the better.

In my own lifetime historic major positive changes have usually come about only after prolonged flirtations with brinkmanship. Obamacare is a vivid recent case in point. Even more recently, the struggle to save Obamacare from Trump's lethal assaults against it was a similar nail biter. Going back to my childhood, despite large Democratic majorities in Congress, the fate of LBJ's Civil Right's agenda was very much in doubt until the very end, with strong resistance from many southern Democrats making ultimate passage doubtful. Most Americans though soon forget these epic struggles, what they live with and long remember are the results.

And when I say that "best is better than sooner", I am not defining "best" by pie in the sky metrics. For me "best" means the best that can be obtained under current circumstances. Those who know me here know me as a self identified "progressive", but you won't find me "crying about spilled milk" over items left out of President Biden's Build Back Better framework. I fought for decades to further all of the objectives that the original 3.5 Trillion dollar legislation advanced, AND MORE. I trust President Biden however, and he's been up to his armpits in all of the congressional negotiations. Now it is time to lock in a win, on the terms that he has determined are possible. If an agreement can be reached within days to improve that framework further, great. If not, so be it.

But announcing a framework for a deal does not lock in a win on those terms. The announcement of a proposed framework spoke of "expectations" of full Democratic support, not of "commitments" of full Democratic support. For all of the focus some have placed on congressional Democratic "progressives" needing iron clad commitments that congressional Democratic "moderates" will support the final actual wording in a Build Back Better bill, Senator Joe Manchin refuses to commit to it also until he is certain that the final wording meets with his approval. House progressives have gone so far as to formally endorse President Biden's framework. The Senate Democratic holdouts have not. As matters now stand, we do not yet have a deal. But we are well within reach of one because all sides in this prolonged standoff are now strongly motivated to successfully "land this plane." Call me a cynic if you must, but I doubt that would be true were the fate of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill not directly linked to the fate of the Build Back Better Bill.

It is not wild leftist rhetoric to point out that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill has extensive corporate support. Corporate America wants that bill passed, because it is consistent with their own economic self interests. They have lobbied in favor of that legislation. Meanwhile they have lobbied against major provisions of the Build Back Better Bill. Of course this is no coincidence. The only reason why the so called "hard" infrastructure bill passed the Senate with Republican support is because most of the elements that corporate America found objectionable n President Biden's agenda for America were segregated out of that bill and crammed into the Build Back Better Bill which corporate lobbyists were then free to focus their fire on,

Even if Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are currently inclined toward backing President Biden's proposed framework, how many free spending lobbyists would cram into their offices with last second proposed "revisions" to the Build Back Better Bill, one minute after they secured final passage of the infrastructure bill, if the two pieces of legislation should become "de-linked?" THE DETAILS MATTER. Every ten billion dollars cut from the final Build Back Better Bill will leave tens of thousands of American families in poverty. Every subsidized housing unit cut will leave another family homeless. Every reform to make health insurance more affordable that gets further trimmed will mean more unnecessary deaths.

No matter how you look at it we are in the end game now. Both bills will come up for final passage soon, if not in days than in weeks. Sure sooner is better than later, but not at the expense of lives. I accept President Biden's revised agenda. Now let's make sure that we can deliver all of it.

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