The state of the Build Back Better Act is either still obtainable or finished, depending on who you ask. Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin gave the “Julius Ceasar thumbs down” to the bill on the Lord’s day. U.S. House Representative and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post urging President Joe Biden to use executive power while working on a proposal. Given Biden’s recent comments, he is determined to get Manchin on board. (Pretty soon, this bill will be $1,000 and Amazon gift cards).
Despite the ongoing stalemate, that hasn’t stopped organizations such as the Poor People’s Campaign to keep fighting for the Build Back Better act. On a Christmas Eve press rally, the group joined by Rep. Jayapal and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, stated they would continue to fight.
According to Salon:
“Sen. Manchin is playing a Caesar or at least a King Herod in today’s Christmas story,” said the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “He’s saying there’s no room in this democracy for the 140 million poor and low-income Americans, including the 700,000 West Virginians who’ve been locked into poverty and low wages under his watch. He wants to limit poor children’s lives just so he can hold on to his power and wealth. On Christmas Eve, doesn’t this indeed sound like Herod?”
Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. William Barber II and others spoke to Manchin’s opposition, hurting things like the enhanced child tax credit, which ends this month. A provision that slashed child poverty by 40%, but families are met with instability without that year extension as we go into the new year. Barber briefly addressed reports of Manchin supposedly saying that parents would use tax credit funds for drugs.
“Doesn’t he understand that opioid use is connected to poverty?” Barber added. Also, West Virginia was just granted funds by the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs to fight the drug pandemic.
Rep. Jayapal also noted:
“If the things we’re fighting for were easy,” she said at the press event, “we would’ve gotten them a long time ago. And because we’re organizers, we don’t give up. Our strength comes in these moments. Our job as progressives is to push on the borders of what others think is possible.”
There are many people in Congress fighting for this bill that would change the lives of millions. But the way the U.S. government is set up, we always hear about the cheese standing alone. Let’s hope that President Biden sent a big enough Christmas gift to his West Virginia pal so we can get this done.