Infrastructure and Stimulus (Build Back Better) DA Answers (9-17-21)

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Non-unique: The $3.5 trillion stimulus won’t pass

Everett, 8-23, 21, Sinema: I simply won’t back a $3.5T spending bill,

Kyrsten Sinema still opposes her party’s plans for a $3.5 trillion, party-line spending bill. And she’s not up for a negotiation about it. As House Democratic leaders hold back Sinema’s own Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill in order to push the Arizona Democrat and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support a multitrillion-dollar spending bill, Sinema is making it crystal clear that her mind can’t be changed. And that applies even as her own legislation becomes a bargaining chip in House Democrats’ internal discussions. The $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill “is a historic win for our nation’s everyday families and employers and, like every proposal, should be considered on its own merits,” said Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard. “Proceedings in the U.S. House will have no impact on Kyrsten’s views about what is best for our country – including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion.” It’s the latest entrenched position from the first-term moderate, whose resistance to changing the Senate’s filibuster rules and to supporting a $3.5 trillion spending bill is enraging progressives. Sinema and Manchin both helped pass Democrats’ budget earlier this month, setting up that gargantuan spending bill, but both are resistant to a social spending package that ultimately meets its $3.5 trillion top line mark. Sinema in particular specifically opposes that spending goal, which was devised by Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Senate Democrats need all 50 of their members, including Manchin and Sinema, to pass a filibuster-proof reconciliation spending bill. On Sunday Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her members were still pursuing a bill that costs $3.5 trillion, but are hoping to finance it in part with tax enforcement and tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. Meanwhile, moderates in Pelosi’s caucus are declining to back the Senate-passed budget unless Pelosi puts Sinema’s Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote on the House floor. In statement shortly after Sinema’s, Manchin leaned on Pelosi and House leaders to act now on the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill instead of waiting for the Senate to pass a massive spending bill.

No stimulus, no infrastructure; liberal democrats won’t support the infrastructure bill without the stimulus, collapsing itScott Lillis & Mike Long, 9-9, 21, Democrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda,

Last month, Pelosi and her leadership team struck a deal with House moderates guaranteeing a floor vote on the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill by Sept. 27, while liberals are warning they’ll sink that bipartisan proposal without assurances that the larger reconciliation package will pass the Senate. “Many members of the Progressive Caucus simply will not vote for Sen. Manchin’s infrastructure bill unless it is tied together with the Build Back Better Act so that we have an all-of-the-above approach,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “We aren’t saying it’s either your bill or our bill, but that both of these bills must move forward together — or neither will.”

Need the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better to solve climate, the infrastructure bill is not enough

Manish Bapna is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, 9-15, 21,

With key congressional committees working overtime this week to shape bills to complete President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, the White House is spotlighting the need for robust action to confront the climate crisis. The Build Back Better agenda will help us to do just that, and Congress has no more urgent mission than to make certain it does. As a nation, we’ve reached a make-or-break moment. The next few weeks could well mark our last best chance to keep the climate crisis from boiling over into full-on catastrophe. For leaders of conscience on Capitol Hill, preventing that must be job number one. We’ve watched in horror this summer as the climate crisis has engulfed our country, and our world, into a widening hellscape of raging fires, monster storms, deadly floods, famine and forever drought. We’re not talking here about computer models. This summer alone, nearly one in every three Americans experienced an extreme weather event amped up by climate change. It all gets worse, the science makes clear unless we cut the carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels in half by 2030 and stop adding it to the atmosphere altogether by 2050. Biden’s Build Back Better agenda sets us on cour se for climate action that drives equitable recovery, but only if Congress fully enacts this initiative. The Senate took the first step last month, passing bipartisan infrastructure legislation centered on revitalizing aging roads, bridges and ports. That bill was never meant to confront the climate crisis, and it doesn’t. To do that, congressional leaders have kicked into high gear this week on committee-level efforts to pull together a second package of strategic investments that can be passed through a budgetary process called reconciliation. That would allow supporters to bypass a likely filibuster by those in the Senate intent on obstructing the climate action we so urgently need With the country teetering on a climate knife-edge, and a livable future hanging in the balance, the broad majority of Americans that support strong climate action are counting on lawmakers to pass a reconciliation package that meets the moment. That starts with investments, tax incentives and other measures to help clean up the dirty power plants that account for a third of our carbon footprint and the cars, trucks and buses that make up nearly another third. Biden has pledged to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 50-52 percent, relative to 2005 levels, by 2030. That means getting 80 percent of our electricity without fossil fuels, and electric cars and light trucks making up half of all new passenger vehicle sales, by then. We know we can do this. Last year, despite the pandemic, wind and solar power accounted for 77 percent of all new electricity generating capacity nationwide. In the first six months of this year, that share rose to 91 percent. Small wonder why. Over just the past decade, wind and solar power costs have plummeted b 70 and 90 percent, respectively, making clean power the better bet, dollar for dollar, than dirty. To clean up our dirty power sector quickly enough to confront the climate crisis, we need to align our national investments with these market trends to both support and accelerate the transition to clean power, as broad majorities across the country understand. The Clean Electricity Payment Program the White House rolled out Monday will help, and it will create 7.7 million jobs and generate nearly $1 trillion in economic growth over the coming decade, a study commissioned by my organization has found. Biden’s Build Back Better agenda will also speed the shift to electric vehicles. By 2035, General Motors plans to build only electric vehicles. The auto giant is investing $35 billion over just the next five years to help get there, part of the more than $257 billion the industry is investing, globally, on electric vehicles by 2030. The reconciliation package must sync up the country with this global transformation, by providing consumer incentives that help put electric cars within reach for families of every income level. Because reducing carbon emissions also cuts other dangerous air pollution, it will dramatically reduce asthma attacks, heart disease, missed days at work or school and even premature death. That’s why cleaning up our dirty power plants, cars and light trucks will save the country a staggering $3 trillion in health and environmental costs between now and 2050, avoiding 240 thousand premature deaths, an April study concludes. There’s more the reconciliation package needs, like investments to cut carbon pollution on the factory floor by supporting modern, efficient manufacturing processes; highway improvements aill get this done. It can create, by one estimate, 15 million jobs, including for workers who want to join a union. It will save our families money on utility bills, at the gas pump and the doctor’s office. nd public transit expansions that reduce the hassle — and pollution — of commuting; and support to cap abandoned oil and gas wells, replace aging lead service lines and reconnect urban communities divided by misguided highway schemes. Biden’s Build Back Better agenda w

Biden’s political capital is collapsing, no $3.5 trillion package

Alexander Bolton, 9—8, 21, Biden’s muscle questioned amid falling polls,

President Biden’s sagging approval ratings, especially among independents, are raising questions about his ability to move his agenda through a House and Senate where centrist and liberal Democrats are battling one another. Democrats aren’t running away from the president, but the approval rating hit could make it tougher for Biden to muscle moderates such as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) who are balking at the $3.5 trillion cost of his budget reconciliation measure. Some Democrats note that Biden’s approval rating at this point in his presidency is still significantly higher than former President Trump’s was in August of his first year in office. A GOP House and Senate later in 2017 still managed to pass Trump’s signature tax-cut bill. But Republicans say Trump had much more intense support from his party’s base, which helped him move Republican votes in Congress. “He’s got totally different numbers than Trump’s. Trump’s base of support was much more intense than Biden’s ever was,” said Jim McLaughlin, a Republican pollster. Biden’s poll numbers have fallen as he faces intense criticism for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The fall of the U.S.-backed government was much swifter than Team Biden had anticipated, and 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing last month as the administration sought to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country. The White House has expressed confidence that most Americans support the decision to end the nation’s longest war, and that Biden will not take a long-term political hit. But the administration is also dealing with a stubbornly persistent pandemic that has seen coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations reach levels not seen since November. Biden has centered his presidency on effectively handling COVID-19, and the seemingly unending fight is of real political concern to the White House and Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms. “I wish the election were today,” said McLaughlin, pointing to the Biden poll numbers. An NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll published last week showed Biden’s approval rating dropping to 36 percent in August from 46 percent in July among independents, while a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 36 percent of independents approve of Biden overall while 57 percent disapprove. The polls showed Biden’s overall approval rating at 43 percent and 44 percent, respectively, the lowest of his presidency. “Certainly, the honeymoon’s over,” said former Democratic Rep. Ron Klink (Pa.), a senior policy adviser at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, a legal and advocacy firm based in Washington, D.C. “Right now, just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong,” he added, noting the wildfires in the West, the severe hurricane damage in Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, on top of the coronavirus and Afghanistan. Some Democrats are relatively calm about the run of bad news for Biden. Former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who was a key centrist during former President Obama’s first year in office, said “when you start being president it’s not unusual for your numbers to drop.” Yet he also criticized Biden on Afghanistan, saying the administration should have foreseen that pledging to pull troops from the country by a certain date would turn out to be a mistake. “We all knew setting a date for withdrawal was fraught with trouble,” he added, acknowledging that Biden was put in a tough spot by Trump’s deal with the Taliban to withdraw all U.S. troops by May. Biden is dealing with a complicated political problem when it comes to the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package meant to unlock significant spending on health care, child care and other liberal priorities. Republicans are attacking the bill as a form of socialism but can’t stop the measure since budgetary rules prevent them from filibustering it. Yet Democrats can’t afford a single defection in the Senate, giving enormous clout to lawmakers such as Manchin, who has called for a pause on the bill. Liberals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have no interest in reducing the size of the package, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said she disagreed with Manchin’s call for a pause. “I’m pretty excited about where we are. Everybody’s working very hard, the committees are doing their work. We’re on a good timetable, and I feel very exhilarated by it,” she said.Still, other Democrats say Biden and liberals may have to bend on the $3.5 trillion figure.  “I don’t know that anybody has the political strength to get $3.5 trillion so I suspect there will be some negotiating along the way to come up with another number or maybe in steps over the next three or four years. That’s a daunting number,” Nelson said. Other Democrats also see the $3.5 trillion spending target going out the window. “Regardless of what his approval ratings are, I think we’ve seen enough indications that $3.5 [trillion] is probably not where it’s going to end up,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, and a former senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Turn – pivoting back to domestic issues restores Biden’s capital

Gift, 9-7, 21, Thomas Gift is Associate Professor of Political Science at UCL, where he is director of the Centre on US Politics (CUSP), 9-7, 21,, Biden’s mishandled Afghanistan withdrawal is unlikely to have a large effect on the 2022 midterms

The last few weeks have been an undeniable jolt to the White House. Biden’s approval ratings have dipped into negative territory. Republicans are using the devastating images out of Kabul to paint a portrait of an unreliable commander-in-chief. Even Democratic allies have questioned how Biden’s recent moves square with a leader who promised to be a steady hand and to restore American trust abroad. Afghanistan was Biden’s first true foreign policy test, and his execution failed. Politically, however, whether this proves to be a temporary blip for Biden—or the start of a protracted loss of political capital—will depend on how effectively the administration can change the conversation. The White House communications office is clearly trying to pivot back to domestic issues.

Every other  agenda item is a thumper

Amber Philips, 9-15, 21, Washington Post, What to know about the big budget battles in Congress,

The next few weeks will be the most challenging in perhaps a decade for Democrats in Congress. They need to figure out a way to keep the government open, raise the debt ceiling to avoid an economic catastrophe, pass emergency natural disaster aid and provide money for resettling Afghan refugees. And that’s just their must-do list.

mWhat Democrats really want to do is write and pass a massive spending bill that dramatically expands the federal government safety net. They also want to send a bipartisan infrastructure bill to President Biden’s desk, and they are trying to pass voting-rights legislation to counter GOP-led efforts at the state level to restrict how people vote, but that could require a historic rules change in the Senate.

No extinction – we adapt to extreme conditions

Cal Thomas, The Examiner (Washington, DC), April 16, 2014, Climate change cult has to shout louder to be heard amid public skepticism,

The Times story was about a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Berlin. To read it, one might think there is unanimity of opinion on the subject by panel members. Maybe that’s true of current members of the panel, but it is instructive to read the comments by former IPCC member Richard Tol, who, among other things, is professor of the economics of climate change at the Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Professor Tol, writes, recently “accused the IPCC of being too alarmist about global warming and asked to have his name withdrawn from its recently released Working Group II report (WG2) on climate change impacts.” In a recent article for the Financial Times titled “Bogus prophecies of doom will not fix the climate,” Tol explains why: “Humans are a tough and adaptable species. People live on the equator and in the Arctic, in the desert and in the rainforest. We survived the ice ages with primitive technologies. The idea that climate change poses an existential threat to humankind is laughable.”

Adaptation means no catastrophic impact to warming

Kenny 12 [April 9, 2012, Charles, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, and author, most recently, of Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding and How We Can Improve the World Even More., “Not Too Hot to Handle,”]

But for all international diplomats appear desperate to affirm the self-worth of pessimists and doomsayers worldwide, it is important to put climate change in a broader context. It is a vital global issue — one that threatens to slow the worldwide march toward improved quality of life. Climate change is already responsible for more extreme weather and an accelerating rate of species extinction — and may ultimately kill off as many as 40 percent of all living species. But it is also a problem that we know how to tackle, and one to which we have some time to respond before it is likely to completely derail progress. And that’s good news, because the fact that it’s manageable is the best reason to try to tackle it rather than abandon all hope like a steerage class passenger in the bowels of the Titanic.

Start with the economy. The Stern Review, led by the distinguished British economist Nicholas Stern, is the most comprehensive look to date at the economics of climate change. It suggests that, in terms of income, greenhouse gasses are a threat to global growth, but hardly an immediate or catastrophic one. Take the impact of climate change on the developing world. The most depressing forecast in terms of developing country growth in Stern’s paper is the “AT: scenario” — one of a series of economic and greenhouse gas emissions forecasts created for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It’s a model that predicts slow global growth and income convergence (poor countries catching up to rich countries). But even under this model, Afghanistan’s GDP per capita climbs sixfold over the next 90 years, India and China ninefold, and Ethiopia’s income increases by a factor of 10. Knock off a third for the most pessimistic simulation of the economic impact of climate change suggested by the Stern report, and people in those countries are still markedly better off — four times as rich for Afghanistan, a little more than six times as rich for Ethiopia.

It’s worth emphasizing that the Stern report suggests that the costs of dramatically reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is closer to 1 (or maybe 2) percent of world GDP — in the region of $600 billion to $1.2 trillion today. The economic case for responding to climate change by pricing carbon and investing in alternate energy sources is a slam dunk. But for all the likelihood that the world will be a poorer, denuded place than it would be if we responded rapidly to reduce greenhouse gases, the global economy is probably not going to collapse over the next century even if we are idiotic enough to delay our response to climate change by a few years. For all the flooding, the drought, and the skyrocketing bills for air conditioning, the economy would keep on expanding, according to the data that Stern uses.

And what about the impact on global health? Suggestions that malaria has already spread as a result of climate change and that malaria deaths will expand dramatically as a result of warming in the future don’t fit the evidence of declining deaths and reduced malarial spread over the last century. The authors of a recent study published in the journal Nature conclude that the forecasted future effects of rising temperatures on malaria “are at least one order of magnitude smaller than the changes observed since about 1900 and about two orders of magnitude smaller than those that can be achieved by the effective scale-up of key control measures.” In other words, climate change is and will likely remain a small factor in the toll of malaria deaths into the foreseeable future.

What about other diseases? Christian Zimmermann at the University of Connecticut and Douglas Gollin at Williams evaluate the likely impact of a 3-degree rise in temperatures on tropical diseases like dengue fever, which causes half a million cases of hemorrhagic fever and 22,000 deaths each year. Most of the vectors for such diseases — mosquitoes, biting flies, and so on — do poorly in frost. So if the weather stays warmer, these diseases are likely to spread. At the same time, there are existing tools to prevent or treat most tropical diseases, and Zimmerman and Gollin suggest “rather modest improvements in protection efficacy could compensate for the consequences of climate change.” We can deal with this one.

It’s the same with agriculture. Global warming will have many negative (and a few positive) impacts on food supply, but it is likely that other impacts — both positive, including technological change, and negative, like the exhaustion of aquifers– will have far bigger effects. The 2001 IPCC report suggested that climate change over the long term could reduce agricultural yields by as much as 30 percent. Compare that with the 90 percent increase in rice yields in Indonesia between 1970 and 2006, for example.

Again, while climate change will make extreme weather events and natural disasters like flooding and hurricanes more common, the negative effect on global quality of life will be reduced if economies continue to grow. That’s because, as Matthew Kahn from Tufts University has shown, the safest place to suffer a natural disaster is in a rich country. The more money that people and governments have, the more they can both afford and enforce building codes, land use regulations, and public infrastructure like flood defenses that lower death tolls.

Let’s also not forget how human psychology works. Too many environmentalists suggest that dealing with climate change will take immediate and radical retooling of the global economy. It won’t. It is affordable, practical, and wouldn’t take a revolution. Giving out the message that the only path to sustainability will require medieval standards of living only puts everyone else off. And once you’ve convinced yourself the world is on an inevitable course to disaster if some corner of the U.S. Midwest is fracked once more or India builds another three coal-fueled power plants, the only logical thing to do when the fracking or the building occurs is to sit back, put your Toms shoes on the couch, and drink micro-brewed herbal tea until civilization collapses. Climate change isn’t like that — or at the very least, isn’t like that yet.

So, if you’re really just looking for a reason to strap on the “end of the world is nigh” placards and go for a walk, you can find better excuses — like, say, the threat of global thermonuclear war or a rogue asteroid. The fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions is one for the hard-nosed optimist.

Extensions – No Stimulus

Manchin just killed the $3.5 trillion bill; proves thumpers come first, at the very least, Sinema makes it worse

Manu Raja, 9-2, 1,, Manchin upends Democrats’ push to enact Biden’s agenda this month, calling for ‘pause’ on $3.5 trillion bill

Sen. Joe Manchin, the most pivotal Democratic swing vote in the Senate, threw a major wrench in his party’s carefully crafted plans to pass a massive $3.5 trillion bill by month’s end, demanding they take a “strategic pause” before considering a sweeping bill to implement much of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Manchin, who has long been skeptical of the staggering price tag, made clear Thursday that he’s also opposed to the timeframe Democratic leaders had been charting out for months, a position that now threatens both the larger Democratic-only proposal but also the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate earlier this summer In a strongly worded op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the moderate senator called on fellow Democrats to “hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation,” referring to the bill that can be approved in the Senate by just a simple majority — meaning all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus have to support the bill or it will collapse since all 50 Republicans are expected to oppose it “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation,” he wrote in the op-ed. “A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not. He added: “While some have suggested this reconciliation legislation must be passed now believe that making budgetary decisions under artificial political deadlines never leads to good policy or sound decisions. I have always said if I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it, and I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $3.5 trillion. Manchin says he cannot agree to the $3.5 trillion plan “or anywhere near that level of additional spending” without fully assessing the effects on the economy Democratic leaders have set September 15 for a deadline to put together their reconciliation bill, and already House committees have begun taking action on their individual pieces of the larger proposal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned her colleagues she will not move on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — which was approved 69-30 in the Senate last month — until the Senate passes the larger Democratic deal first But Pelosi was forced to make a deal with her moderate Democratic members last month to assure them that the Senate’s infrastructure bill would come to the House floor by September 27. Many House liberals have warned that they won’t support the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the Senate first approves the Democrat-only reconciliation proposal So if Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can’t satisfy the competing wings of their caucuses, Democrats fear the whole effort could implode.The massive bill would include measures such as funding to combat climate change, paid family and medical leave, expanding the child tax credit — and would be funded in part through tax hikes on corporations and high-income earners. But Manchin isn’t the only senator who could throw a wrinkle in the process. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate Democrat from Arizona, also said in the past she doesn’t support the large price tag. “Proceedings in the US House will have no impact on Kyrsten’s views about what is best for our country — including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion,” her spokesperson John LaBombard told CNN last month. Her office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Manchin won’t support the $3.5 trillion stimulus

Jordan Carney, 9-5, 21, The Hill, GOP hopes spending traps derail Biden agenda,

But so far, Republicans are seeing some dividends in their effort to derail the bill. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have both indicated that they can’t support a price tag of $3.5 trillion. Manchin is also sparking fierce progressive ire after he called for Democrats to hit “pause” on the $3.5 trillion plan, while pushing for the House to quickly pass the $1 trillion measure, citing other concerns including inflation, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the delta variant of the coronavirus. “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not,” Manchin wrote in the Wall Street Journal op-ed. Republicans quickly took notice. “Sen Manchin deserves kudos for standing up to the radical Dems by urging they press the ‘pause’ button on their $4.2 trillion tax & spending spree Your common sense take in WSJ is refreshing & is type of mainstream D thought that’s been sorely missing Stick to your guns!” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted.