COMPROMISE KEEPS PROGRAMS BUT HALF THE YEARS & RENEWABLE, SO $1.75 T NOT 3.5; & ACCESS FREE COLLEGE ETC FOR 300k NOT $400k EARNERS
By Robert Weiner and Ben Lasky
There is a compromise that should be a winner for progressives and centrists from Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It's the kind of compromise Congress regularly works out.
Cut the $3.5 trillion bill in half to $1.75 trillion, by making it a five instead of 10 years' package (so lose no programs), and for Manchin's push for some "means testing," cut free college and daycare etc. to people earning from $400 K to $300 K. That does everything Manchin wants but also gives the programs that progressives want but just means renew in five years. That should sell to Manchin/Sinema.
On the other key gridlocked legislation, voting rights, leaders Hoyer and Clyburn could point out to Sen. Manchin that he could feel the guilt trip of his life if his role in history were to block on absolute necessity of the voting bill to stop voter suppression, and promise him nomination to The Profiles in Courage Award, and amazing coverage in all world media and assure his place in history, if he does move the bill. That includes tweaking the filibuster with a voting rights carve-out, which does appear necessary for passage.
Manchin has proposed the dollar figure for the human programs of $1-2 trillion in various interviews, and asked for some means testing so the ultra-wealthy do not unnecessarily receive benefits "they do not need." On voting rights, he has said he could improve the filibuster to be real, not just the phone-in it now is.
President Biden has asked Democrats to come up with a plan and get back to him. Speaker Pelosi at her September 23rd press briefing said the issue is "priorities, not dollars," but all the debate is over the top-line dollar figure. This proposal would solve both issues, priorities and dollars, and it's the way Congress has solved dollar debates for decades. John King said on CNN, "The main thing is a final number, " and "divide it out." Today's Pelosi-Schumer "pay-for" outline is only part of the solution. Bernie Sanders told the media Wednesday, "We will come up with an agreement." .House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer added, "I think the moderate wing is supportive."
Long-time Republican strategist Norm Ornstein told MSNBC that he believes, "some version of cut the years and provide the programs," would devise the ultimate outcome.
Following his White House and Congress years, Weiner directs an op-ed writing group recruiting young journalist co-authors that has published over 1,000 articles in major papers and won the National Press Club President's Award for the program. Ben Lasky is senior policy analyst at Solutions for Change.