Wailing Commences After Another Democrat Priority Is Struck from the 'Build Back Better' Bill

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The negotiations over the “build back better” bill continue, and there’s more bad news this evening for the progressive wing. Over the past day, they’ve already had to endure the loss of the new IRS reporting provisions, which would have enabled government monitoring of the bank accounts of most Americans. Now, another big priority has been struck.

This time, it’s Pete Buttigieg’s pet issue, paid family leave. In what some might describe as ironic, even as the Secretary of Transportation ludicrously heads into his third month of paternity leave in the middle of a supply chain crisis, Democrats on Capitol Hill were unable to deliver even a fraction of that for non-government officials. Opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin did the proposal in, as well as the fact that the revenue just isn’t there to pay for it and keep the bill “deficit neutral.”

We are quickly getting to the point where you have to ask exactly what is left in the bill. To be sure, there are still things that Republicans largely oppose. For example, another expansion of the Affordable Care Act and new housing subsidies, the latter of which have already caused havoc on the rental market, are part of what’s left. There’s also universal pre-K funding, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on one’s persuasion. It is at least a step down from government-paid “universal childcare.”

But laughably, one thing that is still in the bill is the Democrat pay-off to the wealthy. That comes in the form of a two-year SALT tax deduction, heavily pushed by Nancy Pelosi (who will directly benefit) and others. So, paid family leave is gone, but Pelosi still gets to write off her state taxes. Don’t ever let the Democrats claim they are the party of the working class.

In response, progressives are livid.

Democrat leadership misplayed this from the beginning. They should have started small and built up to a deal. Instead, they dropped a ton of promises on their supporters that they had no chance to keep. Now, their far-left base is sitting on the sidelines, watching as more and more progressive priorities get cut. That’s been demoralizing, and there’s certainly a backlash building that may hurt turnout in 2022.

The president heads back to Capitol Hill tomorrow to make another long-shot attempt to bring everyone together. Pelosi wants a framework on reconciliation done, so they can go ahead and vote on the infrastructure bill. Yet, the progressives are still insisting that even a framework isn’t good enough. Given how badly Biden’s last visit went, I wouldn’t expect him to be able to bridge the gap.