Many progressives grudgingly accepting smaller economic bill

Many progressives grudgingly accepting smaller economic bill 5

Many progressives have started lining up behind an emerging social and environment bill that’s neither as big or bold as they wanted, thanks to an outnumbered but potent band of party moderates who’ve enjoyed a disproportionate say in shaping the measure.

Democrats rolled past unanimous Republican opposition in August and pushed a 10-year, $3.5 trillion fiscal blueprint of the plan through Congress. With talks continuing, the actual package — it reflects President Joe Biden’s hopes for bolstering health care, family services and climate change efforts — seems likely to be around half that size. Prized initiatives like free community college and fines against utilities using carbon-spewing fuels are being jettisoned and others are being curtailed.

Moderates’ clout flows from the fraught arithmetic of a tightly divided Congress in which Democrats need all their votes in the 50-50 Senate and near unanimity in the House. That’s made centrist Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona power brokers who colleagues fear would vote no if they’re dissatisfied, blowing up Biden’s agenda and wounding the party’s prospects in next year’s midterm elections.

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