$ 1.75 trillion for Biden’s agenda is a lot, but is it enough?

“360” shows you different views on the most important stories and discussions of the day.

What’s happening

President Biden on Thursday revealed the frame for the $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better domestic spending plan, which is an important step in the pursuit of its legislative goal.

V speech Biden said in promoting the plan that it represents “a historic investment in our nation and in our people.” There is truth in this claim. The bill includes $ 555 billion to combat climate change, which would be by far the largest climate investment by the federal government. It would also establish a national universal preschool program, provide money to help families cover childcare costs, extend new tax relief for children, expand Medicaid, add hearing to Medicare coverage, fund housing assistance programs, and improve access to long-term care for the elderly.

No matter how this spending would be part of that spending, a lot of attention has been paid to what was taken away from the Democrats ’original $ 3.5 trillion proposal – largely because of resistance from moderate sensors Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Cinema. Elements that have been removed include a federal clean standard, paid family leave, dentistry and vision coverage for Medicare, a free community school, a corporate tax rate increase and a measure that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices at recipe.

Negotiations on the plan are reportedly still in full swing, which means that the details of what is included and omitted may change before a final agreement is reached – if at all.

Why the debate

In its current form, Build Back Better would be one of the most important laws passed by Congress in recent decades. But the trillion gap between the original proposal and the final framework has led to disagreement over what is more important: what is in the bill or what has been cut out?

Those who are optimistic argue that despite many significant cuts, the bill still represents a tremendous investment that will benefit countless Americans. There is particular hope that the huge spending of the climate change plan – which some argue is the only issue that really matters – could shift the U.S. economy into the future of green energy. Others say even reduced social spending in the bill will transform millions, especially difficult families and the elderly.

Critics on the left say the proposal is simply not big enough to meet the country’s many critical needs. Many progressives argue that the unwillingness of the moderates to raise taxes for rich and wealthy corporations unnecessarily limits the scope of the plan, leaving important policies either so reduced that they will not be effective or abandoned altogether. There are also concerns that it does not go far enough to address climate change sensibly without a clean energy standard or significantly higher consumption.

Conservative commentators, however, mostly consider the Build Back Better to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, they largely believe that even a minor version of the law is a mess of government contributions and taxation. On the other hand, there is a general sense of relief that it’s not even greater.

What’s next

It is still unclear whether the various factions of the Democratic parliamentary group will support the proposal. If these votes are secured in the coming days, it would also pave the way for Biden’s second major spending plan – a $ 1 trillion bipartisan bill focused on physical infrastructure – to become law as well.

Perspectives

Optimists

Despite the reduction, the bill is still huge

“I think it is fair to say that many compromises along the way will make legislation both materially and politically inferior and less popular. But it’s also the case that a package worth $ 1.75 trillion is a lot. – Chris Hayes, MSNBC

It would be wrong to overlook all the big things in the bill

“Democrats have the opportunity to accept and sign transformational investments in the human and physical infrastructure of the country. We should go ahead and do that – and then we should stop focusing on what needed to be omitted from these spending packages, and start celebrating out loud everything that’s involved. – Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

It is remarkable how much the Democrats have achieved with zero room for error

“All of these reforms are at the top of the $ 1.9 trillion U.S. rescue plan. “If we take it together – including a few hundred billion dollars in public investment in domestic infrastructure and production under Biden’s bilateral accounts – and you have a pretty solid return for the Democratic Troika, which barely exists.” – Eric Levitz, New York

A cropped bill is more appropriate for the current economic situation

“The US economy has changed dramatically in the last nine months – as have the political and political implications of the Build Back Better plan. Viewed in this context, Sinema and Manchin are not stifling the democratic agenda as much as they are resolving it from exaggeration. Democrats should be grateful for that. “- Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

Climate spending law replaces other shortcomings

“While the details keep coming up and negotiations are still going on, it looks like we’re going to end up with a shockingly good climate law attached to a somewhat depressing law about everything else.” – Jordan Weissman, Slate

Conservatives can take comfort in the fact that the bill has been significantly reduced

“From a conservative point of view, there will never be anything good out of the extensive reconciliation law passed by President Biden and the Congressional Democrats. All the time, the only question was how bad the final legislation would be.” – Philip Klein, State Review

Critics

Democrats are making a big political mistake when they cut the law

“More than a decade ago, in the early stages of Barack Obama’s presidency, progressives were repeatedly told they had to compromise and accept a less ambitious response to the Great Recession than Obama had proposed and which most Democrats want. In the end, they contented themselves with a smaller package because they were told to act quickly. But swift action in the next election proved insufficient and unsatisfactory for voters. “- John Nichols, People

Climate conditions are good, but not enough

“The $ 500 billion the Democrats promised for climate funding would represent a historic congressional investment and about a third of the funds in a possible Build Back Better plan. But this would still not replace the policies that have been cut off. “- Rebecca Leber, Vox

The uncomfortable negotiation process on the bill will drastically limit its impact

“Last-minute closed-door control is a feature of Washington and is not unique to either the Democratic Party or Biden. … But this is no idea of ​​good government, and a quick compromise increases the risk that Biden’s supposedly transformative legislation will have a much shorter legacy than its supporters would like, and its substantial price. – Russell Berman, Atlantic

The social programs in the bill are too truncated

“In the end, I don’t understand how you can say that this fits the test of simple, lasting, and meaningful. Almost nothing is permanent. “- David Dayen, American Prospect

Abandonment of paid leave is unjustifiable

“One might think that after a tragedy of unimaginable proportions, there would be a political will to provide people with some help that would allow them to get through the unexpected without ruining their lives. But even in the extreme circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, congressmen who work far less than most Americans … have denied their constituents the most basic and widespread form of state support. – Molly Osberg, New Republic

Even a smaller version of the bill is too much

“The plan issued by the White House is more of a framework than a work. The plan is a huge expansion of the government with quarterly rights programs that will slow labor and $ 1.85 trillion in taxes that will distort and limit investment. – Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

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Photo by: Evan Vucci / AP

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