Faced with a struggling domestic agenda and the increasing likelihood of a Democratic electoral rout in November, President Joe Biden — in a nearly two-hour-long press conference Wednesday — finally conceded that chopping up his signature Build Back Better (BBB) package may be the only remaining path to passing any of his legislative agenda.
Even worse, Biden conceded that his plan to divide BBB into standalone bills will likely mean tough choices
over what portions of the package survive and which die. Originally floated at a lofty $3.5 trillion over 10 years
, Biden was only willing to specifically name universal pre-kindergarten and $500 billion in new climate funding as priorities for his new, stripped-down approach.
That’s a huge red flag for progressives.
Biden deserves praise for his commitment to passing pre-K and climate legislation, both critical priorities with generational impacts for the American people. But the administration’s new approach — and Biden’s seeming shock that Republicans were blocking his agenda — means abandoning tougher votes like extending the child tax credit. That could send nearly four million kids back into poverty
“I’m not sure I can get [the Child Tax Credit] in the package,” Biden admitted.
For the left, that amounts to nothing short of a betrayal following months standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the White House. And Biden’s plan sacrifices core progressive priorities with no guarantee that any
of Biden’s agenda actually becomes law. The Senate is still unwilling to break its addiction to institutionalism and reform the filibuster, so even a potentially scaled-down version of the BBB plan is still destined for the political graveyard.
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