Progressives Must Hold Firm in Reconciliation Negotiations

October 5, 2021

UE stands in solidarity with the progressive members of Congress who are refusing to buckle under to demands from corporate Democrats to water down the budget reconciliation bill. Working people need the federal government to invest in all aspects of our infrastructure — in child care, paid leave, health care, climate action, affordable housing, and education, as well as roads and bridges. We need child care and paid leave so we can both work and take care of our families, Medicare expansion so our parents can afford dental and vision care, and investments in climate action so we can put people to work rebuilding our communities and passing along a healthy planet to our children.

As delegates to our recent national convention noted in the resolution A Just Economy for All, “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the federal government’s response to it, has demonstrated that government intervention in the economy to help working people is not only feasible, but necessary.” A robust reconciliation bill is the only way to achieve this.

A strong reconciliation bill will benefit the constituents of every single member of both the House and Senate — especially the tens of millions of people who are currently unemployed or working for very low wages. Unfortunately, not a single Republican in either chamber is willing to break with their corporate sponsors to support their own constituents, and corporate Democrats are threatening to join them in blocking the support that working people need.

The Democratic Party has an opportunity right now to deliver for working people, many of whom are understandably skeptical about a party that bailed out the banks, not working people, the last time it held power. If they do not deliver, they will almost certainly lose their razor-thin majority in the 2022 midterm elections.

Splitting off certain aspects of physical infrastructure into a separate bill was always part of a complicated deal; corporate Democrats are now trying to get out of holding up their end of the bargain. As anyone who has gone through negotiations knows, giving up your leverage before securing your goals is a losing strategy. We fully support those members of Congress who are using the only leverage they have — refusing to vote on the smaller infrastructure bill until a strong reconciliation bill is passed.

The original reconciliation bill addressed our nation’s broken immigration system, which drags down wages and living standards for all working people by allowing employers to exploit immigrant workers. The undemocratic filibuster system has allowed the unelected Senate parliamentarian to toss out the immigration measures, but Vice President Harris, who presides over the Senate, has the authority to ignore the parliamentarian’s ruling and return this important issue to the bill. We call on the Biden administration and Senate leadership to intervene to take this step immediately. 

For decades, corporate Democrats have dominated their party, with disastrous consequences for both working people and the party’s own electoral fortunes. Progressive Democrats are trying to turn this around through measures that lift up the whole working class by taking on the big issues that affect us all. They deserve the support of every worker and working-class organization.

Carl Rosen
General President

Andrew Dinkelaker

Gene Elk
Director of Organization