Yesterday (Tuesday) the Senate passed the $1T Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIB) by a vote of 69-30, including 19 Republicans. The full text of the BIB is not yet easily available to those of us outside the Beltway, so we must rely on inadequate press accounts for its contents. It appears that, as we demanded, it rejects the Republican anti-labor scheme to pay low wages to those working on BIB-funded projects. But it does not include the progressive climate and human infrastructure investments and policies, or the tax fairness provisions, that President Biden originally proposed. As far as we can tell, it also does not include three crucial provisions that we asked for:
- Congressional authority for the CDC to issue and extend national health-emergency eviction moratoriums
- Enforcement funding for the IRS to go after the big tax cheats
- Repeal of the debt ceiling law, or at a minimum a long-term suspension or increase of the debt ceiling
The Senate will now prepare to act on Biden’s $3.5T progressive agenda that we refer to as the “American Jobs & Family Plans” (AJFP). This bill is sometimes referred to as the “Reconciliation Bill” because it will have to be passed with Democratic votes alone using the reconciliation process. The first step is for the Senate to pass a Budget Resolution (BR) that sets the terms and framework for the Reconciliation Bill. Schumer hopes to pass the BR this week and then begin work on the Reconciliation Bill in mid-September. Once the BR passes in the Senate, it is expected that the House will be briefly reconvened from recess to pass it.
Text of the Senate BR has been released, and while it contains many good and necessary provisions, including immigration reform, at the moment it contains a huge and dangerous omission: it does not address the looming debt ceiling crisis. Years ago, Republicans rammed a law through Congress to limit spending on domestic and social programs. When the federal debt ceiling is reached, the government can no longer function, and large portions of it are shut down until Republicans agree once again to raise the ceiling, which they only do in return for slashing aid to children, families, healthcare, education, environment, regulation, and other aspects of government that they hate. If the debt ceiling is allowed to stand as-is, Republicans can (and certainly will) use it as a weapon to nullify everything we are fighting for.
To her great credit, Speaker Pelosi has vowed that the House will not vote on the Senate-passed BIB until the Senate also passes and sends to the House the Reconciliation Bill implementing the AJFP.
We need to tell our Members of Congress that we want eviction moratorium authority granted to the CDC, enforcement funding for the IRS, and a repeal or extension of the debt ceiling. If the House cannot add those provisions to the BIB when they eventually take it up, they should be added to the Budget Resolution.
Redistricting is coming, and we need to be ready
When Census data is released this month, it will launch the long process of redrawing state and federal legislative districts, called redistricting. States use a variety of methods to redraw their districts. The Republican Party launched an aggressive project after the 2010 Census to take control of the redistricting process and skew it to their advantage (commonly known as gerrymandering). They called the project REDMAP, and it gave them more seats in the House and state legislatures than any fair division of their actual votes would justify. Its effects linger to this day: Republican use of gerrymandered redistricting this year in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas alone could give them control of the House in 2022. That’s why redistricting reform is an essential part of the For the People Act and a focus for nationwide activism.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about this in the months to come. Learn more about redistricting and the For the People Act on our blog.
The Recall Election is upon us! Are you ready to vote NO?
Keep an eye on your mailbox—ballots for the election about recalling Governor Newsom will be mailed out on or around Monday, August 16. We need to prevent the right wing from removing our Democratic governor from office, and that means first making sure we can vote, and then getting our ballots in before the Tuesday, September 14 deadline.
Start by checking your registration. If you aren’t registered to vote, you can register online if you’re eligible. Then read our explainer blog post about what’s on the ballot to find out why we want you to vote NO on Question 1, how to handle Question 2 about other candidates for governor, and what else you can do to help stop the recall. And when you get your ballot, fill it out and return it as soon as possible – don’t put it off!
You can cast your ballot either by mail or by dropping it off at City Hall or your local polling place. If you choose to mail it, we recommend doing that no later than Tuesday, September 7—one week before deadline—due to mail delays (thanks, Postmaster General DeJoy). If you choose to deliver your ballot in person, check the Department of Elections website for details on when and where.
All are welcome to join our events!
IN-PERSON: San Franciscans Against the Republican-Led Recall of Gov. Newsom at Manny’s: Saturday, August 14, 10 AM–1 PM. Join Democracy Action, the San Francisco & California Democratic Parties, and grassroots Democrats on August 14 to make calls to voters to Vote NO on the Republican-led Recall of our Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. This in-person event is taking place at Manny’s at 3092 16th St. RSVP for a shift (10 – 11:30 AM or 11:30 AM – 1 PM).
Spanish/Bilingual Virtual Phone Bank – No on Recall: Thursday, August 12 6–8 PM. Necesitamos su ayuda para hablar por teléfono con los votantes hispano hablantes acerca de la elección este 14 de Septiembre. ¡Por favor únete a nuestro Zoom para hacer llamadas a nuestros paisanos sobre las elecciones de septiembre! Please join our Zoom to make calls to our community about the September election! Sign up for a shift here.
RECURRING: Virtual Phone Bank to Stop the Republican Recall & Protect Fair Elections w/ Swing Left SF and the SF Dems: Wednesdays at 6 PM and Saturdays at 10 AM. Join us for this virtual phonebank to call likely Democratic supporters and make sure they vote “No” on the Recall on September 14. The script is short and simple. You can make a big impact in this very short election. Sign up for a shift here.
RECURRING: Virtual Phone Bank to Stop the Recall with Grassroots Democrats HQ, Monday – Saturday. Join Grassroots Democrats HQ, in partnership with the California Democratic Party, to call voters to tell them to vote NO on this wasteful recall. Sign up for a shift here.
About this week’s photo
If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue. This week’s graphic is a photo by Sarah Silbiger for Reuters of the exterior of the US Capitol in their news story about the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
Keep Fighting, The Indivisible SF Team
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