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Venal “moderate” House Dems torpedoing Biden’s agenda

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The wanker caucus is continuing to force some of the most popular and substantively good parts of Biden’s reconciliation plan out, for pure donor service reasons:

Joe Biden began with a perfect plan for his domestic agenda: He would create popular new health-care, education, and child-care programs for broad swaths of the public and finance them by making the wealthy pay for it.

The flaw in the plan is that the wealthy don’t want to have less money. Swarms of lobbyists set loose in Washington have eaten Biden’s proposals alive. His plan to end the notorious “angel of death” loophole allowing capital gains to escape any tax? Dead. His proposals to allow the government to negotiate prescription drug costs, saving taxpayers and consumers hundreds of billions of dollars? Eviscerated.

Perhaps most amazingly of all, even his plan to crack down on wealthy tax cheats is hanging on for dear life in Congress. Over the next decade, because of rampant tax cheating and lax enforcement, the federal government will collect roughly roughly $7 trillion less in revenue than taxpayers owe. The Biden administration conservatively believes it can reduce that gap by about one-tenth, collecting an additional $700 billion. Of that $700 billion, the majority, $460 billion, would come from new requirements that banks report to the IRS any transaction worth $600 or more.

Gutting the pharma negotiation provisions — literally the most broadly popular item on the progressive agenda — is particularly infuriating:

A trio of centrist House Democrats threw their party’s health care agenda into disarray Wednesday by blocking a plan that would have authorized direct government negotiation of drug prices and help pay for a $3.5 trillion social spending bill.

Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) joined Republicans in voting against leadership-backed drug pricing language at the end of a three-day House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the sweeping package. The 29-29 tie vote meant the provision could not advance.

Note that these aren’t extremely marginal members who need every dime they can get to compete, and two of them are in compltley safe seats. Peters won his last election by more than 20 points, Rice by 13, Schrader by 6. They just don’t give a shit either about the fortunes of the party or people who can’t afford their medications. And because of the reconciliation rules, every dime of savings means popular spending programs that can’t be done or have to be reduced.

Note too that this is one of the many reasons gerrymandering is awful — in a more fairly representative House a handful of members wouldn’t have this veto power.

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