The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint: Democrats’ social relief bill is never coming to fruition

Alex+Wong%2FGetty+Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

JUAN SALINAS II
campus editor

In an editorial The Collegian published Aug. 25, there was a line that called Joe Biden’s social relief bill a pipe dream. And, we were right.

Two weeks ago, the Biden administration released a trimmed-down version of the social relief bill, which removes paid family leaves, free community college, lower drug prices, Medicare, dental and vision coverage. It also halved the proposed money from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion. 

Seventy percent of Americans support paid family leave, 72% support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and 82% support adding dental and vision benefits to Medicare, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico.  

Removing all these popular provisions were all done to please the moderate part of the Democratic Party. The talking head is Sen. Joe Manchin III — who has been voicing concerns about the national debt and inflation and how the Biden administration will pay for this. 

Isn’t it funny how moderate Democrats and Republicans always have concerns about the national debt when there is legislature that could help make the lives of the working class just a little bit easier? They don’t even raise an eyebrow on giving more money to the military and the Pentagon’s budget. 

I could sit here and write about how evil the rotating villain is, but that would be pointless because Manchin and other moderate Democrats are only doing what their corporate donors want them to do. 

Photo courtesy Evan Vucci/APThe American Rescue Plan is not without disappointments for progressives, notably the lack of a $15-per-hour minimum wage, a harbinger of how difficult an evenly divided Senate will be for Biden to handle.

But I want to focus on progressive Democrats that refused to do anything to prevent the gutting of the bill.

The progressive Democrats’ previous posture was they would vote no on the infrastructure bill — if the original social relief bill didn’t get a commitment from moderate Democrats. 

Last Friday, the infrastructure bill was passed without the social relief bill. Now the moderate Democrats have no reason to stay true to their word and would probably vote against the social relief bill. I will give credit to the “Squad” for voting no, but they still didn’t do enough. 

The progressives should have started throwing a fuss when provisions were being removed. The watered-down social bill wouldn’t be enough to be felt by the working class. 

All the provisions that made it so popular have been stripped away. So, all this fighting and press conferences are just political theater.

I wish I could end this with a positive note about how the Democrats could turn this around, but the result of the governor race in Virginia tells another story. The state went to the Republican Glenn Youngkin, who was endorsed by Donald Trump. There are a lot of factors as to why Youngkin won in Virginia, but clearly, the boogeyman strategy is not working anymore. 

Democrats had the opportunity to do something that could change the fate of the working class, and they wasted it. 

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