News and Analysis

Top Democrat Warns Party Over Massive Spending Bill: ‘Democrats Face Severe Headwinds Next November’
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Biden yesterday warned that storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey are signs of worsening climate change, redoubling his push for a $550 billion public works bill that he said would help build more resilient communities.
Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and one of the most powerful figures in the Democrat Party, warned Democrats in Washington, D.C., that they are headed for political shellacking next year if they do not lower the price tag on their $3.5 trillion bill that critics say is a leftist wish list.

Podesta warned that if the price of the bill is not lowered that the bill and the separate $1+ trillion infrastructure bill both risked not passing, which would be a disaster for the party.

“The political reality is clear, given Democrats have no margin for error in the Senate and a limited margin in the House,” Podesta wrote in a memo sent to all Democrat lawmakers. “We will not secure the full $3.5 trillion investment. It’s time for Democrats to unite in finding the path forward.”

“You are either getting both bills or neither — and the prospect of neither is unconscionable,” he wrote. “It would signal a complete and utter failure of our democratic duty, and a reckless abdication of our responsibility. It would define our generation’s history and show that, when our time came, we failed, both for Americans now and in the years to come.”

“The historical trend makes it clear that Democrats will face severe headwinds next November,” he added, “but nothing will guarantee a political reckoning faster than if the Democrats fail to pass anything.”

The memo comes as Biden has faced opposition from members of his own party who do not support the massive $3.5 trillion bill as inflation has skyrocketed under Biden. Democrats also faced another severe blow to their plans when the Senate parliamentarian ruled they could not include a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens in the $3.5 trillion bill.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reportedly wants to delay voting on the massive bill until next year, calling for a strategic pause in massive government spending.

Manchin also made the warning in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, writing in part:

While some have suggested this reconciliation legislation must be passed now, I 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. Another reason to pause: We must allow for a complete reporting and analysis of the implications a multitrillion-dollar bill will have for this generation and the next. Such a strategic pause will allow every member of Congress to use the transparent committee process to debate: What should we fund, and what can we simply not afford?

I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs. This is even more important now as the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have sounded the alarm that these life-saving programs will be insolvent and benefits could start to be reduced as soon as 2026 for Medicare and 2033, a year earlier than previously projected, for Social Security. Establishing an artificial $3.5 trillion spending number and then reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities that should be funded isn’t how you make good policy.


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