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Tag: build back better

Jen Psaki Shuts Down Reporter Pushing Right-Wing Lies On Build Back Better (VIDEO)

A reporter was silent after pushing right-wing talking points during the White House’s daily press briefing and being asked to explain her question. The Q&A was so disturbing one well-known political scientist weighed in on social media to declare the White House press corps an “embarrassment.”

“Just a quick question on inflation,” the unnamed reporter began as she asked her question on the administration’s plan to strengthen the social safety net and grow jobs. “Many believe that government spending is a big factor in the current inflation levels. Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of Build Back Better aren’t paid for, and so could mean higher deficits and more inflation in the future.”

A reporter was silent after pushing right-wing talking points during the White House’s daily press briefing and being asked to explain her question. The Q&A was so disturbing one well-known political scientist weighed in on social media to declare the White House press corps an “embarrassment.”

“Just a quick question on inflation,” the unnamed reporter began as she asked her question on the administration’s plan to strengthen the social safety net and grow jobs. “Many believe that government spending is a big factor in the current inflation levels. Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of Build Back Better aren’t paid for, and so could mean higher deficits and more inflation in the future.”

Psaki, a little stunned, confirmed she heard correctly: “Aren’t paid for? Build Back Better is paid for.”

The reporter was silent. As time moved on, so did Psaki.

“Entirely,” she added, definitively.

“Okay,” replied the reporter, apparently out of facts and with little understanding of what she was asking. “Can you speak to the concerns that are coming in that it’s not, actually?”

“Who are the concerns from though?” Psaki asked.

Silence again.

“Who’s saying it’s not paid for?” Psaki pressed.

More silence.

“Because there have been a range of economists saying it’s entirely paid for, and that has been a priority for the President. It has also been concluded by a number of Nobel laureates and experts from a range of economic experts on the outside that it will not contribute to inflation. So those are the global experts that we would point to, but there may be others suggesting something else, but I don’t know who those people are,” she said, allowing the reporter to offer a different response, to possibly retain her dignity.
“So if those bills do pass it will not raise taxes?” the reporter asked, which is an entirely different question.

“Well, something being entirely paid for means that part of that is the highest income Americans highest that companies would be asked to pay a little bit more. That has been part of the proposal and part of reforming the tax system to make it more fair,” Psaki explained.

Watch the entire exchange below:

Republished with permission from Alternet

West Virginia Steelworkers Accuse Manchin Of 'Turning His Back' On Them

Ed Barnette long ago realized that affordable child care and paid sick leave, among other resources, would be essential to helping West Virginians build better lives and save what’s left of the middle class.

He just never expected that when America was finally on the cusp of providing these essentials, West Virginia’s Democratic senator would join pro-corporate Republicans in blocking the way.

But that’s exactly what happened. In thwarting the Build Back Better legislation, Senator Joe Manchin turned his back on the working families whose support catapulted him to power in the first place.

“It’s almost like he forgot where his roots are,” fumed Barnette, president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5668, which represents hundreds of workers at the Constellium plant in Ravenswood, West Virginia. “He comes from a blue-collar state. When you say ‘West Virginia,’ the first thing you picture is a worker with a hard hat.”

“Surely, he won’t do it,” Barnette recalled saying to himself in the days before Manchin decided to withhold his vote and block the bill. “He did, and I just thought, ‘Damn it! You’re supposed to be working for us.’”

Barnette rejoiced last fall when Congress passed a historic, $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Like other states, West Virginia urgently needs improvements to its roads and bridges, schools and airports, energy systems, locks and dams, and communications networks.

But Barnette understands that the infrastructure legislation will have the biggest impact—and create the greatest number of manufacturing and construction jobs—only in conjunction with the $2 trillion Build Back Better bill.

Build Back Better would provide access to affordable child care and pave the way for more parents, especially more single parents, to enter the workforce. It would ensure workers receive up to four weeks of paid family medical leave, so they could battle life’s challenges while continuing to support their families.

And it would provide universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds, putting all of America’s children on the road to productive lives.

“It will do nothing but help the working people and middle class of West Virginia,” said Barnette, citing West Virginia’s high poverty rate and population loss.

Just as important, Build Back Better would boost funding at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), positioning the agency to better address safety risks workers face every day as well as crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other enhancements, the additional resources would enable the agency to hire more inspectors so the agency can investigate additional complaints, develop new safety standards and save lives.

Build Back Better also would increase the penalties that employers face for violations, making them more likely to address hazards proactively. The current low penalties merely encourage corporations to risk workers’ lives.

“I definitely think we need a stronger OSHA,” Barnette said. “It’s the difference between life and death with some employers.”

In addition, the legislation would incentivize the development of emerging industries, like clean energy and electric vehicle production, that would help to revitalize American manufacturing, create good-paying jobs and better position the nation to lead the world economy.

Whether it’s assembling electric vehicles, making batteries or manufacturing the components for solar panels, West Virginia has union workers with the work ethic and enthusiasm to get these industries up and running, noted Dallas Elswick, a former chemical worker and USW member from Nitro, West Virginia.

"The union workers made this country,” Elswick said. “Everybody knows that. And there’s a need for development here. There’s a big need.”

The House passed Build Back Better in November. The bill needed the support of all 48 Democrats and two Independents to pass the Senate, so President Joe Biden and congressional leaders worked tirelessly to get Manchin on board.

Senator Charles Schumer, the Senate majority leader, repeatedly spoke with him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked with him, too.

Biden spoke with Manchin by phone and had him over to the White House. Biden also went so far as to host Manchin at his Delaware home to talk through the transformative nature of the bill, even though the legislation’s potential to level the playing field for working Americans is clear for all to see.

He abandoned single parents, unable to afford child care, to poverty. He threw seniors, struggling to pay for prescriptions and health care, under the bus. He slammed the door on workers eager for new industries and jobs.

Barnette and Elswick are among millions in West Virginia and around the country calling on Manchin to do the right thing and embrace Build Back Better.

“We may not get an opportunity to do this ever again,” Elswick said of the sweeping changes offered by Build Back Better. “For him to do what he did is unbelievable.”

Tom Conway is the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW).

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.T

Biden, Manchin Had Long Chat About Spending Bill After Manchin Killed It

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin spoke about the "Build Back Better" bill a day after the conservative Democratic senator publicly rejected the president's social spending plans, a White House adviser said on Friday.

"He (Biden) has some confidence about that (bill), including discussions he has had with Senator Manchin," Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House council of economic advisers, said in an interview with CNN on Friday.

"The president and Senator Manchin - the day after that announcement where the senator said he couldn't vote for the bill as it was - they were talking again."

Manchin, a conservative Democratic senator, rejected the president's Build Back Better plan earlier this month in a move that imperils the legislation.

Manchin's move prompted investment bank Goldman Sachs to lower its forecasts for U.S. economic growth. Manchin's rejection of the bill threatened to scuttle hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for measures to fight climate change and meet the Biden administration's climate goals.

Manchin has expressed concerns about a number of proposals in Biden's signature domestic policy bill, including multiple climate proposals and extending monthly child tax credit payments.

Biden told reporters after Manchin's rejection that he and the senator were "going to get something done" on the legislation.

Manchin's support is crucial in the Senate chamber where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the chamber would vote on a package in early 2022.

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a leading liberal House Democrat, has asked Biden to continue focusing on the social spending legislation and urged him to use executive action despite Manchin's public rejection of the plan.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens and Alex Richardson)

Obsessing Over Manchin, Media Whitewash GOP's Rabid Obstruction

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

For the second day running, the New York Times on Tuesday ran a front-page piece about Sen. Joe Manchin’s announcement that he would vote against the landmark, $2 trillion education, healthcare and climate package known as Build Back Better, thereby sinking chances of the legislation passing through an evenly divided, 50-50 U.S. Senate.

Leaning heavily into the Dems in Disarray narrative, the Times depicted a Democratic Party beset by public disputes and a president whose domestic agenda was in tatters. But like virtually all of the coverage this week, the Times ignored the role that radical GOP obstruction has played in the Build Back Better story.

For the print edition, the Times headline read, “Biden Seeks to Save his Domestic Policy Agenda from a Defection.” Note the “a” in the headline, and how Manchin’s single ‘no’ meant “Democrats engaged in new bouts of infighting.” CNN also piled on the doom this week: “It's hard to dream up a worse scenario for Democrats.”

What’s been erased is the big picture — why did losing a single Democratic senator become tantamount to imploding the $2 trillion deal? Why in the U.S. Senate, which compared to the House is known for deal-making and at least occasionally working across the aisle, did one defection kill the sprawling bill, especially when the pending legislation is so popular with the public? In more normal times, if Biden lost Manchin’s support he’d be able to pick up one or two Republicans who would support Build Back Better.

He cannot though, because of the GOP’s unprecedented obstruction, in which the party stands united against Biden — no matter what.

The press in recent years has completely normalized the Republicans’ unheard-of worldview, to the point where virtually all of the Build Back Better coverage ignores the fact it’s 50 Republicans who are dooming legislation that would create a universal prekindergarten program, subsidize child care costs, lower prescription-drug costs, and offer tax credits for reducing carbon emissions.

For news consumers today awash in Manchin and Build Back Better coverage, Republicans simply do not exist. They’re depicted — if at all — as innocent bystanders whose actions play no role in any of this.

The Times gently noted in passing that, “With Republicans united in opposing the legislation, Democrats needed the votes of all 50 senators who caucus with their party for the measure to pass in an evenly divided Senate.”Talk about whitewashing radical GOP behavior. Refusing to portray Republicans for the hardcore extremists they are, news outlets also fail to connect the dots between the entire GOP opposing Build Back Better after the entire GOP opposed Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that sent $1,400 checks to most Americans and hundreds of billions more to help open schools, which Republicans then tried to take credit for.

Inside the Beltway last winter, the Covid bill was depicted as being divisive because no Republican members of Congress supported it, even though the legislation enjoyed massive public support, even among Republican voters. As is custom with the D.C. media, the entire onus of bipartisanship is placed on Democrats, who are responsible for breaking the Capitol fever. The fact that the Republican Party acts in a way that defies all historic norms is politely set aside.

We saw that on display this spring when the country was rocked yet again by a wave of uniquely American mass gun shootings. The plague continues because of Republicans and their blind allegiance to the NRA. They exacerbate the crisis by blocking gun reform laws while simultaneously loosening ownership restrictions and helping to flood the country with firearms. Yet how many headlines did we see that read "Republicans Still Oppose All Gun Reform In Wake of Mass Murders"? Instead, there was lots of coverage about how "Congress" can't pass gun laws, and how there's "gridlock.” In one CNN article from the spring about why gun laws don't get passed, the word "Republican" was never even mentioned.

By downplaying that fanatic obstruction, the press continues to give Republicans a pass. That’s why the strategy has worked so well for them since at least the Obama years — block everything in sight and then watch the press blame the Democratic president for Congressional “dysfunction.”

Again, we saw it with guns. When the Obama administration made a major push to pass a background check bill after 20 first graders were massacred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in late 2012, the GOP refused to pass the bill that garnered 90 percent public support. Incredibly, the pundit class then blamed Obama: If only he had acted sooner, or proposed other legislation, or talked more often to Republicans, or not held so many public events in support of new gun laws.

The GOP’s gun obstruction followed its sequester obstruction, which followed the Hurricane Sandy emergency relief obstruction, which followed consistent obstruction on judicial nominees.

Biden continues to struggle to find the 50th vote needed for the Build Back Better bill. Extremist Republican behavior plays a key role in that, but it gets waved off by the press.


Livid With Sen. Manchin, Coal Miners Say He's Turning His Back On Them

After DINO Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) selfishly torpedoed President Biden's Build Back Better plan, sending the markets in a tailspin on Monday and leaving millions of working poor parents out in the cold, the faux democratic Senator did what he always does when opposing a very popular piece of legislation from his own party: run to the media and claim the bill would harm his West Virginia constituents.

Worse yet, Manchin came even closer to becoming a full-blown Republican when he falsely claimed that parents would use the Child Tax Credit to buy drugs. One can make an argument that it's not the government's job to subsidize your family, especially when single working-class Americans aren't getting any such relief, but it's beyond disingenuous and ugly to believe that the monies are being used on drugs.

But the United Mine Workers are telling Manchin it’s time he works for them and support this bill.

"We urge Senator Manchin to revisit his opposition to this legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working, and have a meaningful impact on our members, their families and their communities,” Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, said in a statement Monday. These workers are justifiably sacred about job security and want help now. Build Back Better, for example, includes several tax incentives—which Manchin's Big Coal donors are fighting—to encourage manufacturers to build new facilities at the coal site and hire unemployed miners.

Manchin's opposition means “the potential for those jobs is significantly threatened,” Roberts said. And Phil Smith, the union’s chief lobbyist, highlighted this provision in an interview with The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, saying the bill would “provide a better chance of helping workers who will be dislocated by our transition to a decarbonized future—a dislocation that will likely continue either way—than not passing BBB will.” Adding, the bill “provides the potential for good jobs that our members who have been dislocated can get,” Smith said

These coal miners are not just upset with Senator Manchin's blatant disregard for the economic livelihoods, but they also believe in voting rights--a provision in BBB--and want him to get on board with that as well.

“I also want to reiterate our support for the passage of voting rights legislation as soon as possible, and strongly encourage Senator Manchin and every other Senator to be prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish that,” Roberts said in the statement. “Anti-democracy legislators and their allies are working every day to roll back the right to vote in America. Failure by the Senate to stand up to that is unacceptable and a dereliction of their duty to the Constitution.”



In short, these coal miners vigorously believe in the BBB and are not going to let one Senator's massively large ego get in the way of their survival.

REPORT: Manchin Privately Said Poor Would Use Child Tax Credit To 'Buy Drugs'

Appearing on Fox News last Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that he remains a “no” vote on the Build Back Better Act of 2021 — a declaration that has infuriated many of his fellow Democrats. The centrist senator cited the cost of the bill and worries about inflation as reasons why he isn’t supporting the bill, but according to HuffPost reporters Tara Golshan and Arthur Delaney, he has privately said that he doesn’t trust poor people to use money wisely.

“In recent months,” Golshan and Delaney report, “Manchin has told several of his fellow Democrats that he thought parents would waste monthly child tax credit payments on drugs instead of providing for their children, according to two sources familiar with the senator’s comments. Continuing the child tax credit for another year is a core part of the Build Back Better legislation that Democrats had hoped to pass by the end of the year. The policy has already cut child poverty by nearly 30 percent.”

The reporters add, “Manchin’s private comments shocked several senators, who saw it as an unfair assault on his own constituents and those struggling to raise children in poverty. Manchin has also told colleagues he believes that Americans would fraudulently use the proposed paid sick leave policy, specifically saying people would feign being sick and go on hunting trips, a source familiar with his comments told HuffPost.”

President Joe Biden and Democrat in Congress have spent months negotiating with Manchin and another very centrist Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, over the Build Back Better Act, trying to determine what it will take to get them to vote for it. But when Manchin appeared on Fox News on December 19, it was painfully obvious that their efforts to persuade him hadn’t worked.

In an official statement that followed that Fox News appearance, Manchin said, “My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”

Golshan and Delaney point out that according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 91 percent of low-income households have been using the child tax credit for essential things such as food, clothing and school supplies. That data, according to Golshan and Delaney, counters the claim that the poor frequently use financial help to buy drugs.

“The concern that some parents would use the benefit for drugs echoes years of conservative talking points on welfare,” Golshan and Delaney note. “During Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures around the country sought to add drug testing to requirements to nutrition assistance, unemployment benefits and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides monthly cash benefits to poor parents.”

Democrats Are Done Playing Nice With Joe Manchin

The defeat of President Biden's Build Back Better plan by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) demonstrated two things: Electing a legit progressive Democratic Senator in 2022 (or one who cares less about his massive ego) should be priority number one, and the other is Democrats are going to have to discover some much-needed backbone and stop playing nice with this narcissistic DINO.

The White House already issued a blistering statement in response to Sen. Manchin breaking his word and lying to President Biden, but it seems the entire party feels completely free to lay into this one mammoth a-hole. Since Senator Manchin loves to run to the media for cover and stroke his Mount Rushmore-sized ego, fellow Democrats made sure to beat him to the punch.

Senate Democrats Lay Into Manchin's Betrayal

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Goldman Sachs Issues Dire Warning After Manchin Kills Build Back Better

During a Sunday appearance on Fox News, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that he is still a “no” vote on the Build Back Better Act of 2021 — a declaration that has infuriated many of the centrist senator’s fellow Democrats. But progressive Democrats like Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington State aren’t the only ones who are disappointed; Goldman Sachs, CNN reports, isn’t happy either.

In a research report released on December 19, Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius warned, “A failure to pass BBB has negative growth implications.” Hatzius told clients that because of the “apparent demise” of the Build Back Better Act, the Wall Street outfit now expects GDP (gross domestic product) to grow at 2% rather than 3% during 2022’s first quarter.CNN’s Matt Egan reports, “The bank also trimmed its GDP forecasts for the second quarter to 3% from 3.5% previously and the third quarter to 2.75% compared with 3% previously. It specifically pointed to the expiration of the child tax credit and the lack of the other new spending that had been anticipated.”

During his Fox News appearance, Manchin cited concerns about “inflation” as one of the main reasons why he won’t vote for the Build Back Better Act in its present form.

On Monday, December 20 broadcast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, conservative host Joe Scarborough (a former GOP congressman) speculated that in 2022, perhaps some version of the Build Back Better Act will be on the table if Democrats in Congress agree to more compromises. But Goldman Sachs expressed doubts that Build Back Better is going to pass at all.

Goldman Sachs economists, in their December 19 report, explained, “The inflation concerns that Sen. Manchin and others have already expressed are likely to persist, making passage more difficult. The Omicron variant is also likely to shift political attention back to virus-related issues and away from long-term reforms.”

Following his Fox News interview, Manchin released a statement saying, “I have always said, 'If I can't go back home and explain it, I can't vote for it.' Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia, and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation.”