"Hold the Line!": Can Progressives Force Passage of $3.5T Package to Expand the Social Safety Net?

Progressives in the House of Representatives say they will oppose the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would seek a vote on the measure separately from the Build Back Better Act, the $3.5 trillion bill that expands the social safety net and combats the climate crisis. Conservative Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who receive major donations from financial institutions, fossil fuel companies and other industries, continue to oppose the $3.5 trillion package. While the $1 trillion infrastructure bill is “kind of a half-measure,” the Build Back Better Act “really could be best described as the Democratic platform,” says David Dayen, executive…

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Should Progressives in Congress Oppose Biden’s Infrastructure Deal If Reconciliation Bill Is Blocked?

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is making its way through the Senate this week. The outcome of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which calls for $550 billion in new spending and reuses some unused COVID-19 relief aid, will set the stage for debate on Biden’s much larger $3.5 trillion package, which Democrats hope to pass with a simple majority using the reconciliation process in the Senate. Jacobin staff writer Branko Marcetic says progressives must fight for the larger package and be willing to block the bipartisan bill, if needed. “If that reconciliation bill looks like it’s actually going to get blocked, then progressives need to use…

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CDC Issues 60-Day Eviction Moratorium After Progressives Pressured Biden & “Moved Mountains”

The Biden administration has issued a new two-month moratorium on evictions, covering much of the country, after facing public pressure from progressive lawmakers led by Congressmember Cori Bush of Missouri, who was once unhoused herself and slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in protest after the moratorium on evictions lapsed on July 31. The new moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will cover areas of the United States where there is “substantial” or “high” spread of the coronavirus. The belated renewal of the eviction moratorium shows that “people need to be willing to criticize this administration,” says Jacobin staff writer Branko Marcetic.…

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Progressives May Sink Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Without Reconciliation Deal

As lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., following a two-week recess, we speak with Democratic Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about efforts to pass major infrastructure funding that could address child care, climate change, education and poverty. President Joe Biden has already struck a $1 trillion infrastructure agreement with a centrist group of lawmakers concentrated on roads, bridges and highways, but a fight is brewing over a larger package that Democrats want to pass in the Senate using the budget reconciliation process, which can pass with just 50 votes and avoid a filibuster. “The Progressive Caucus is rather united in the fact that we will not support bipartisan legislation without a…

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Where Are the Progressives? Briahna Joy Gray on Neera Tanden & Other Biden Picks for Economic Team

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: With stimulus talks in a stalemate amidst a devastating economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic and how it’s been dealt with, President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed top economic advisers addressed the nation for the first time Tuesday, setting the tone for his incoming administration’s recovery plan. Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden introduced Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary pick. Yellen led the Federal Reserve from 2014 to '18. If confirmed by the Senate, she'll be the first woman to lead the Treasury in its 231-year history. This is Janet Yellen. JANET YELLEN: The pandemic…

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Where Are the Progressives? Briahna Joy Gray on Neera Tanden & Other Biden Picks for Economic Team

President-elect Joe Biden announced his top economic advisers this week, setting the tone for his administration’s recovery plan, including Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress think tank, as head of the Office of Management and Budget. While Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian woman in the role, critics oppose her organization’s cozy relationship with corporate funders, her record of antagonizing and undermining progressive Democrats, and her aggressive foreign policy positions. Briahna Joy Gray, former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, says there has been “a lot of emphasis on the identity of the individuals…

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Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Today, climate and racial justice activists are joining unions and newly elected members of Congress to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address COVID, the economy and climate change, and appoint a, quote, “corporate-free Cabinet.” Their push comes as Biden announced several new appointments Tuesday, including Louisiana Congressmember Cedric Richmond to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Sunrise Movement described the appointment of Richmond as a “betrayal” because he’s the leading Democratic recipient of fossil fuel money in Congress. This comes…

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Progressives Demand "Corporate-Free Cabinet" as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

Climate and racial justice activists are mobilizing with union members and newly elected members of Congress at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address the intersecting crises of the pandemic, economy and climate change. They’re also calling for Biden to create a “corporate-free Cabinet,” following his recent announcement of aides that included people with close ties to the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for the progressive group Justice Democrats, says it will be important to maintain pressure on the incoming administration in order to fulfill grassroots demands. “Unlike President Obama in 2008, there is not much of…

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Ro Khanna: Progressives Helped Biden Win. We Can’t Stop Push for Green New Deal & Medicare for All

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are set to take power, after a projected more than 150 million ballots were cast in the 2020 election. A debate is growing over the future of the Democratic Party as progressive lawmakers push back on Biden’s centrist policy proposals and consideration of Republicans for Cabinet positions. Congressmember Ro Khanna, Democratic of California, says progressive policies, such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, have popular support. “The policies that we are advocating are not just for deeply blue districts,” Khanna says. “They are policies that will help people in the Midwest, in the South,…

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