The Democratic Dividing Line: Big Government…Or Even Bigger Government?
There’s a big intra-party squabble happening between moderate and progressive Democrats in Congress right now.
On the moderate side, there’s a faction that wants to agree to spend a lot of money right now, and then move on to working out how to spend a whole lot more money after that. On the progressive side, there’s a faction that wants to work on figuring out how to spend a whole lot of money first, and then agree to spend a somewhat smaller but still very large amount of money after that.
Either way, the goal is to spend an awful lot of money. The fight is about figuring out which order to agree to spend it in.
Nominally, the debate is about political and policy priorities. The moderate faction wants to sign off on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a $1.2 trillion package of spending mostly focused on roads, bridges, waterways, and broadband, about $550 billion of which is new spending. Their argument is that this is a popular bipartisan bill that reauthorizes a bunch of infrastructure spending due to expire at the end of September, so why wait?
The progressive faction wants to focus on a $3.5 trillion partisan spending package that is set to include most of the rest of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy agenda. This spending package is built heavily around social spending: there are expansions of health care subsidies and the child tax credit, as well as new spending on climate policies, like the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps. The plan is to pass this package using reconciliation, a congressi
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