Oct 1, 2021
This week in Washington has featured no shortage of drama, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saddling Democrats with the threat of both a government shutdown and default on the nation’s debts by withholding Republican votes for keeping the government funded or raising the debt ceiling. Meanwhile, despite months of forward momentum in Congress to craft sweeping “build back better” legislation encompassing much of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan—austerity politics (or more precisely Sinemanchin intransigence—to borrow a timely term from The American Prospect’s David Dayen) has threatened to derail the president’s economic agenda.
Thankfully, late on Thursday night, House progressives came to the rescue, making good on their promise to withhold their votes for the first part of “build back better”—the bipartisan infrastructure package—until there’s a commitment from the Senate (well, really Senators Manchin and Sinema) on a clear path forward for the second part of the package, the so-called reconciliation bill. That reconciliation bill of course is the piece of legislation that includes the bulk of Democrats’ priorities, from paid family and medical leave to child care to home and community based services, climate, and much, much more. The theory of the case for House progressives? Hold the line to ensure the reconciliation package—the centerpiece of the president’s economic agenda—isn’t hung out to dry.
To pull back the curtain on what’s been going on in Washington this week, the politics driving the drama around build back better, government shutdown, potential default, and more—and a deep dive on why it’s so important that Congress pass both parts of the president’s economic agenda—Rebecca sat down with Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative and a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Data for Progress.