A Total Abdication by Capitol Hill Progressives

Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
A Total Abdication by Capitol Hill Progressives Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Kahanna. (photo montage: Christina Animashaun/Vox)

Don’t believe your television set, when Progressives on Capitol hill agreed to pass the so called bipartisan infrastructure bill (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) without a vote on the human infrastructure bill (Build Back Better Act) the wealthy and the powerful got the carrot and working people all across America got the stick.

The public and the voters want what is in the Build Back Better Act, what is left of it anyway so it still has a path forward, but with the big capitulation by House Progressives the corporate friendly Democrats are now in control of the agenda. Progressives in the House and Senate can complain, urge and explain all they want but they have given away all their leverage and with it any meaningful control of what the legislation will look like. Joe Biden got his photo-op and millions of Americans will get the crumbs.

The problem in blunt terms is that Joe Biden ultimately refused to confront Joe (Maserati) Manchin, the corporate wing of the party refused to relent and the Progressive wing of the party caved, big-time. This was a stunning abdication of the faith and trust placed in Progressive lawmakers by a growing majority of Democratic voters who want and desperately need meaningful progressive change.

What makes the Progressive capitulation all the more frustrating and tragic for the American people is the Progressives had by far the stronger hand. The overwhelming majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill absolutely supported human infrastructure bill and the Progressive Caucus alone had more than sufficient numbers to withstand the pressure and hold out for the people they serve. It was not that they could not hold out, it is that they chose not to. Nancy Pelosi once counseled Ro Kahanna saying, “Power is never given. It’s always taken.” It’s a lesson that so called House Progressives clearly have not learned.

It bears noting that six Progressive House Members apparently did understand what they were there for, namely to push for Progressive change and did hold firm in their demand for meaningful Progressive legislation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush. Courage is always isolated on Capital Hill. If your Representative is not on that list you might want to get a hold of their office and weigh in.

This is a Democratic Party, majority of Progressives included that has proven once again beholden and subservient to the powerful corporate interests that control it.

Beware the return of the Build Back Better Act, something by that name will eventually get passed. The name alone has significant political marketing value. The Democratic leaning cable networks can and will sell it effectively. But it won’t be anything like what it might have been or was until cowardice ruled the day. Never forget what you lost, what was taken from you.



Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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