US lawmakers gut critically-needed social spending bill

Facing historic inequality and worsening climate disasters, US workers are in desperate need of a greatly improved social safety net


US President Joe Biden presenting the Build Back Better Agenda in July. Photo: White House

On Thursday, the White House revealed a reduced version of the social program budget proposed by US President Joe Biden months ago. After months of negotiations, the budget proposal, referred to as the Build Back Better agenda, is hardly recognizable.

The budget originally included a bill allocating $3.5 trillion to bolster public spending on healthcare, public education, clean energy and a host of other programs. The funding would be secured from tax increases on billionaire corporations and individuals.



As it stands now, the bill has been whittled down to $1.7 trillion, with measures to lower prescription drug prices, make community college free, offer paid family leave and add dental and vision benefits to Medicare coverage having been nixed. The price tag is equal to a mere 0.6% of the nation’s projected GDP.



Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have been the loudest opposition within the Democratic Party to the package and bear direct responsibility in axing key elements of it. One of these pieces is the Clean Electricity Performance Program, the most critical measure in the series of proposals to reduce carbon emissions. Manchin is the top recipient of oil and gas industry donations in Congress and has millions in personal investments in the coal industry.

Sinema has gone to bat for the nation’s wealthiest companies and individuals, opposing tax increases as well as the plan to reduce the prices of drugs paid by Medicare. At the same time, she has raised more money in the past three months than in any other quarter since she took office in the Senate, largely from the pharmaceutical and financial industries.



It’s worth noting that the Build Back Better plan in its original form was received positively by large sections of the US working class. A survey by the Center for Progress found that a majority of voters in 12 key states support the plan’s climate provisions, proposed tax increases on the wealthy, and investments in long-term healthcare.

The timeline for when the US congress will vote on the package has not yet been determined. Though, progressive organizations have already noted that despite having a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, the Biden administration seems more willing to capitulate to the right-wing of the party than fight for the progressive and popular measures that will favor the broadest sections of the US working class. Many have accused Biden of bowing to the will of the country’s ultra-rich and billionaire corporations.

Host of the Socialist Program and National Director of the ANSWER Coalition, Brian Becker, told BreakThrough News, “The Democrats have the House, Senate and White House. They can do whatever they want to do and they are not doing the things that are so easily achieved if they bump into any opposition from the corporations and capitalist class.”

This article was originally published on Peoples Dispatch.

Wait! we need your help!

BreakThrough News is building the media arm of the movement. We tell the untold stories of resistance from poor and working-class communities — because out of these stories we will construct a different narrative of the world, as it is and in real time.

Think to yourself, is this article something that would be published anywhere other than BreakThrough?

Five mega-corporations dominate the media landscape — controlling 90% of what we read, watch and listen to. People’s movements in every corner of the globe are changing history and shifting consciousness. But these movements barely receive any coverage from the corporate media. They need visibility. They need amplification. They need a media arm to break through.

Working-class people deserve better, we deserve media for and by us. We are not funded by billionaires or corporations – we are funded by you. Without you, BreakThrough would not be possible, so become a member and build the media arm of the movement with us.

To send a check to BreakThrough News, please make it out to BreakThrough / BT Media Inc. and send to 320 W. 37th Street, NY, NY 10018. Donations are tax-deductible in accordance with the law.

Will you help us break through the corporate news cycle?

about the author

BreakThrough News

Related Articles