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"Moderates" are destroying the Dems' chances in 2022 and 2024
By Donna
September 25, 2021 1:37 pm
Category: Politics

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The extremists.

By Jamelle Bouie

If President Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill dies in Congress, it will be because moderate Democrats killed it.

Over the past month, those moderates have put themselves at the center of negotiations over the $3.5 trillion proposal (doled out over 10 years) for new programs, investments and social spending. And they’ve made demands that threaten to derail the bill — and the rest of Biden’s agenda with it.

In the House last week, a group of moderate Democrats successfully opposed a measure that would allow direct government negotiation of drug prices and help pay for the bill. One of the most popular items in the entire Democratic agenda — and a key campaign promise in the 2018 and 2020 elections — federal prescription drug negotiation was supposed to be a slam dunk. But the moderates say it would hurt innovation from drugmakers. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has likewise announced her opposition to direct government negotiation of the price of prescription drugs.

Similarly, a different group of moderate Democrats hopes to break the agreement between Democratic leadership and congressional progressives to link the Senate-negotiated bipartisan infrastructure bill to Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposal, which would be passed under the reconciliation process to avoid a filibuster by Senate Republicans.

The point of the agreement was to win buy-in from all sides by tying the fate of one bill to the other. Either moderates and progressives get what they want or no one does. Progressive Democrats have held their end of the bargain. But moderates are threatening to derail both bills if they don’t get a vote on infrastructure before the end of the month. “If they delay the vote — or it goes down — then I think you can kiss reconciliation goodbye,” Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, one of the moderates, told Politico. “Reconciliation would be dead.”

Moderate Democrats want Biden to sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But it seems clear that they’ll take nothing if it means they can trim progressive sails in the process, despite the fact that many of the items in the “Build Back Better” bill are the most popular parts of the Democratic agenda.

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Comments on ""Moderates" are destroying the Dems' chances in 2022 and 2024":

  1. by Curt_Anderson on September 25, 2021 2:52 pm
    As I understand it, if it dies, it's the progressives who would be killing the Dems chances in 2022 and 2024.

    The Senate already approved the $trillion infrastructure bill. All it takes now is for the House to approve it.

    "The Squad" is apparently unhappy it isn't bigger. But it's still pretty good. If it were the size and cost that Talib and AOC would be happy about, it would die in the Senate and they'd get nothing.

  2. by Donna on September 25, 2021 3:30 pm
    The "moderates" haven't sacrificed anything. The progressives have done all the sacrificing. The "moderates" even blocked direct government negotiation of drug prices, which is hugely popular and a cornerstone of Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

    This is why young people don't vote. They correctly see that most of Congress has been bought out by corporate America, and at everyone's expense.

    "Moderate" or "Centrist" Democrats come in two varieties: corporate sellouts and traditional republicans, the two groups often overlapping.

  3. by Donna on September 25, 2021 3:36 pm
    Someone on Facebook posted a thoughtful comment on this:

    Covid, the economy, the climate and voting rights are all huge on their own. But these multiple crises are happening synergistically.

    This is a turning point. Polarization is. There’s no getting around picking sides.

    The “moderates” will have to choose whether they will be revealed as enemies of the entire Democratic Party, by putting Biden’s program and survival at risk.
    The Moderates are playing a strong hand right now. But they presume stasis when change is the order of the day.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that not just the left wing of the D Party gets this tactical reality. The center/left, as opposed to the left/center - Biden - won the Presidency. That means the entire Democratic Party, including particularly the center, loses big time if Moderates resurrect Trump’s Party.

    If Biden refuses to accept defeat at the hands of “Moderates,” he will have to get them to close ranks, or make them politically irrelevant by other means.

  4. by Curt_Anderson on September 25, 2021 4:01 pm
    But THERE are these corporatist/Republican-type Democrats in the House. If there weren't, Kevin McCarthy would be Speaker. The same goes for Joe Manchin, save for him, McConnell would be the Senate leader. West Virginia won't be electing an AOC-type as their US senator. That's the hand Biden and the Democrats were dealt. And it's a lucky break that Georgia voted in two Democrats. It could be long time before the Democrats control the Senate, the House and White House---and it's a tenuous control at that.

    It's better get to 50% (or some percent) of something than 100% of nothing.

  5. by Donna on September 25, 2021 4:21 pm
    I'm not talking about the past - about moderates vs progressives winning in state elections. Build Back Better is supposedly part of the Democratic Party platform. I don't care if they're progressives or moderates - they should be unified in supporting Build Back Better. If not, the entire party is going to take a beating in 2022 and beyond. And it's the moderates who aren't supporting Build Back Better.

  6. by Donna on September 25, 2021 4:26 pm
    Democratic centrists and moderates (AKA the Democratic swamp) certainly haven't been helping Biden's, the Party's, or perhaps even their own electoral chances.

  7. by Curt_Anderson on September 25, 2021 4:38 pm
    Build Back Better was part of the Democratic Party platform before the election. It was an aspirational wish list not a guarantee. That's the way it is with all party platforms. At the time of the party conventions nobody knows for sure who'd win the White House or who'd control Congress.

    Progressives need to be pragmatic, as FDR was. Social Security wasn't perfect in its first iteration. I am pretty sure Biden will take what he can get rather than get nothing. For example, Build Back Better originally funded a ten-year program for free 2-year community college. The Senate reduced the original budget so the free community college program will be a five-year program instead. If it's popular, and it's a good bet it will be, five years from now voters will demand that it be extended.

  8. by HatetheSwamp on September 26, 2021 3:56 am

    Democratic centrists and moderates (AKA the Democratic swamp) certainly haven't been helping Biden's, the Party's, or perhaps even their own electoral chances.

    I live near one of the few purple, swing, districts in Pennsylvania. Here's the Catch 22 for what helps Biden and the party: If any purple district Dem votes for a bill that AOC and her gang grooves on, they might be Primaried with ads featuring the image of AOC, or a group shot of the Squad or of Bernie, who's not a rock star among purple Dems. If not Primaried, as soon as the General election begins, those images will be all around.

    If SwampDems have any chance in 022, they're going to have to mellow on the progressive politics.

  9. by Donna on September 26, 2021 9:24 am
    Like having the government negotiate prices for prescriotion drugs? Who would be against that other that the pharmaceutical industry? Yet that proposal was killed by the swamp (moderate Democrats).

  10. by Curt_Anderson on September 26, 2021 11:44 am
    Does being progressive mean favoring the most progressive proposals or does in mean favoring the most progressive legislation that becomes the law of the land? I am in the latter camp.

    It's not as if so-called moderate Democrats are against ANY drug price negotiations. They offer proposals that are not as expansive as the progressive proposals. Moderates tend to be pragmatic. They favor legislation that is more likely to be passed in the divided Senate.

    Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Kathleen Rice of New York voted Wednesday against a drug price reform piece of a $3.5 trillion infrastructure package that was being debated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The three defections meant the vote on the drug price reform package, which included caps on out-of-pocket costs for Part D beneficiaries, failed due to a tie vote.

    Peters and Schrader outlined their own legislation that creates a yearly out-of-pocket cap on drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. It would include negotiation power for Medicare but would be much more limited. The legislation also includes a $50 a month out-of-pocket cap for insulin.

    Under their legislation, Medicare would only be able to negotiate drug prices for certain products in Medicare Part B that don’t have exclusivity and have no market competition.

    In an interview with OPB Thursday, Schrader said it’s not the prescription drug pricing plan that he takes issue with.

    In fact, Schrader said, he’s working with Peters on a separate bill known as the Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act that would essentially see the same result.

    He believes that bill — which would also allow the federal government to negotiate best prices for Medicare patients, particularly items covered under Medicare Part B, such as injectable drugs for treating cancer — has a higher likelihood of clearing a Senate vote.

    “We voted against H.R. 3,” he said. “We did not vote against negotiating drug prices.”

    “The most obvious question is, ‘Why would you vote against it now?” he said. “The most obvious answer is because it did not work before. The Senate never picked it up.”

  11. by Donna on September 26, 2021 4:00 pm
    Schrader's biggest donor was Pharma. I don't believe a word he's saying. He's just another corporate sellout.

  12. by Curt_Anderson on September 26, 2021 5:10 pm
    Actually, healthcare professionals are Kurt Schrader's biggest donors over his 14 year career in Congress. They are quarter million dollars ahead of Pharma which is his number two contributing industry.

    Admittedly Schrader may have a soft spot for the pharmaceutical industry. His grandfather developed a way of mass producing penicillin during World War II.

    Dr. Shrader is a veterinarian, incidentally.

  13. by HatetheSwamp on September 27, 2021 4:31 am

    Like having the government negotiate prices for prescription drugs? Who would be against that other that the pharmaceutical industry? Yet that proposal was killed by the swamp (moderate Democrats). -Donna

    Evie has been bitten by this approach in the past through insurance plans.

    What happens is that, when there are two or more similar drugs, negotiators work out a deal with the manufacturer of one of them. That drug is provided at a advantageous cost. The other drug(s) are still available but at an extremely high price. But, because the drugs' are similar but not identical, people who benefit more from the drug negotiators don't choose are often forced to pay exorbitant prices for the drug that suits them.

    I add this to the discussion to splain that this plan is not a panacea and that there legitimate reasons to oppose it.

  14. by Donna on September 27, 2021 9:34 am
    I heard Schrader's dad worked for Pfizer.

    I think what happens when corporations donate heavily to politicians through PACs and Super PACs is that even though they aren't legally binded to support legislation their corporate donors support, there's a sense that doing so is the right thing to do - a sort of "thank you". That's why IMO PACs and Super PACs should be banned. I believe in one (real) person one vote.

    Hate: Wouldn't they pay exorbitant prices for those drugs anyhow?

  15. by Curt_Anderson on September 27, 2021 10:06 am
    I don't believe his dad worked for Pfizer. It's possible, but I've never heard that and I don't find any reporting saying that. His late grandfather, who I mentioned above did groundbreaking work with penicillin, was a vice president in charge of the biochemistry research at Pfizer.

    Unfortunately for people who oppose PACs and SuperPACs, those special interest groups are protected by the First Amendment with the words "right to petition the government".

    During my Sunday run we discussed the issue of lobbyists. My friend sees it as you do. I see it more in reverse. It's not that politicians are induced to toe the line of the NRA, Pharma, NAACP, NEA, AMA or whoever because these groups support them. Politicians (like all of us) are predisposed to supporting certain points of view, so the lobbyists gravitate to and support like-minded politicians and candidates.

  16. by Donna on September 28, 2021 12:53 pm
    I'm not an apologist for the swamp. I think most of the time those politicians advocate for whatever is going to ensure that they're supported with big money donations.

    Case in point:

    Big Pharma has been showering conservative Democrats with gushing ads. See link below.

    We will never have a government for the people as long as corporations with virtually bottomless coffers are allowed to bankroll political campaigns. Again, this us why young people are giving up on electoral politics.

  17. by Donna on September 29, 2021 9:52 am
    Link below: 20 years of data reveals that Congress doesn't care what you think

    Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University looked at more than 20 years of data to answer a pretty simple question: Does the government represent the people?

    Their study took data from nearly 2,000 public-opinion surveys and compared what the people wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America has essentially no impact at all...

    Why? Because purchasing political influence is 100% legal.

    For example: Let's say a big bank wants a law that would force taxpayers to bail them out again if they repeat the exact same reckless behavior that crashed the global economy in 2008.

    It's perfectly legal for our bank to hire a team of lobbyists whose entire job is to make sure the government gives the bank what it wants. Then, those lobbyists can track down members of Congress who regulate banks and help raise a ton of money for their re-election campaigns. Its also perfectly legal for those lobbyists to offer those same politicians million-dollar jobs at their lobbying firms.

    Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas), shown speaking at an event in 2012, recently attached language originally drafted by lobbyists for CitiGroup to a financial services appropriations bill. Members of Congress who voted "yes" on the bill received, on average, 2.8 times more money from the PACs of CitiGroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase than members who voted "no." Image by Information Technology Innovation Foundation/Flickr.

    They can also literally write the language of this new bailout law themselves, then hand it off to the politicians they just buttered up with campaign money and lucrative job offers. And it's perfectly legal for those politicians to sneak the lobbyist-written language through Congress at the last second.

    If that example sounds oddly specific, that's because it happened in December 2014. And it happens all the time, on almost every single issue, with politicians of both parties.

  18. by Curt_Anderson on September 29, 2021 10:48 am
    Lobbyists or not, some members of Congress might have favored bailing out the banks to avoid a collapse of our financial system. The banks repaid TARP loans aka bailouts.

  19. by Elmer on October 5, 2021 11:37 pm
    Without moderates like Manchin and Sinema, the Democrats would only have 48 senate seats right now, and zero chance of passing anything.

    Joe Manchin has said that he's OK with up to $1.5 trillion.

    Let's compare:

    Moderate Dem deal -- $1.5 trillion
    Republican deal -- $0 trillion

    Progressives need to realize they have already won. Joe Manchin could be saying he won't support a single dollar. He could kill the entire thing. But he's already met you halfway. $1.5 billion is a BFD. Take it.

  20. by Donna on October 6, 2021 7:33 am
    Manchin won in a state where Trump won by 40 points, so he has a an excuse.

    Sinema falsely ran as a progressive Democrat.

    Again, the Senate problem. The US has fallen behind the rest of the free world in delivering truly affordable universal healthcare, dental, hearing and vision services for seniors, low-cost prescription drugs, affordable college, child care assistance, and paid family and medical leave, mainly because of two things: unlimited corporate donations to politicians, and a minority-controlled Senate, which together have turned our once great country into a shithole.

  21. by Donna on October 6, 2021 8:25 am
    As an American progressive, I'm quite used to settling for whatever our corporate overlords allow us to have. But as AOC tweeted,

    I don't know who needs to hear this, but a $1T bill = $100 billion/year. That's the annual budget for NYC alone, but spread thin for everyone in the US. Do you think that's enough to be impactful? To be widely felt in people's lives? It's not. Sufficiency is the bare minimum.

    A Facebook friend of mine had this response to AOC's tweet:

    It is horrifying when you realize that the vast majority of Americans -- perhaps 70% -- are not bright enough to understand this tweet. She's making wide assumptions here. She's assuming they understand the context (they do not). She's assuming they understand what '$1T' means (they do not). The last sentence -- "Sufficiency is the bare minimum' -- may as well have been written by Aristotle, as far as its comprehensibility to the average dilbot.

    Science and humanitarian progressive policies have kept millions of people alive who otherwise would have been weeded out by evolution. Those people reproduced. Now they vote Republican.

    We have thwarted the natural processes, and fatally dumbed-down the population of the US.

    Btw, Kyrsten Sinema co-authored the infrastructure bill, so she personally has something to lose if it gets scrapped altogether.

  22. by Donna on October 7, 2021 7:39 am
    Bernie Sanders was scathing in his critique of Senators Manchin and Sinema on Rachel Maddow last night. The 2 min and 38 second video segment below is a snippet from the much longer interview that aired last night.

  23. by Indy! on October 7, 2021 10:55 am
    The fact the author of that nonsense felt the need to use the term "moderates" about 50 times tells you they're not "moderates" - they're extremists. Bernie should cancel everything and start over at the original $10T number. Otherwise the Ds - even with the majority of the country supporting their worthless asses - will get destroyed in 2022 and 2024. We might even get stuck with Trump again - how funny would THAT be?

    BTW, I find if comical that Curt is STILL acting like the "squad" are progressives.

    PS: You need to find better emojis, Curt.

  24. by HatetheSwamp on October 7, 2021 1:09 pm

    Bernie Sanders was scathing in his critique of Senators Manchin and Sinema on Rachel Maddow last night. The 2 min and 38 second video segment below is a snippet from the much longer interview that aired last night.

    Wow, Donna! You watch Rachel? I'm shocked!

  25. by HatetheSwamp on October 7, 2021 1:12 pm

    Wow, Indy! It's great to read one of your posts. I've really miss the perspective you bring to our conversations.


  26. by Elmer on October 9, 2021 1:57 am
    Sinema falsely ran as a progressive Democrat./b> -- Donna

    Twenty years ago, maybe. But Sinema ran as a moderate for her senate seat in 2018, and she's been taking mostly moderate positions for several years before that.

    Btw, Kyrsten Sinema co-authored the infrastructure bill, so she personally has something to lose if it gets scrapped altogether. -- Donna

    Which is why Sinema will vote for whatever Manchin endorses. As long as he's holding out, she can hide behind him and play her game of looking mavericky, which is what she thinks she needs to do to win re-election. But as soon as Manchin agrees to the deal, she's not going to be the lone holdout. She'll follow him.

    Sinema is irrelevant. Manchin is the player you need to watch. As he goes, so goes the other moderates.

  27. by Donna on October 9, 2021 9:28 am
    Hate: I watched Rachel specifically because of her extended interview with Bernie.

    With that said, IMO Rachel Maddow is excellent. I stopped watching her because I stopped watching political shows altogether.

  28. by HatetheSwamp on October 9, 2021 11:41 am


    As I've said in the past, I watch neither Rachel nor Hannity. I'm old enough not to waste time so foolishly.

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