Selfish Greed Versus “We the People” in the Build Back Better Act

9 mins read
Indivisible SF

For years we’ve been sounding the alarm over the destructive influence that big money plays in politics, decrying the ways that giant mega-corporations and the obscenely wealthy billionaire class bribe members of Congress with legal (and illegal) campaign contributions to enhance their selfish interests at the expense of We the People. Now we are seeing it play out in naked reality. Manchin kills the campaign-finance and congressional ethics provisions in the For the People Act so that he and his dark-money donors can continue their bribery-business as usual. To protect the wealth, power, and privilege of their big donors, Manchin, Sinema, Peters, and a tiny handful of others block wildly popular and desperately needed programs, policies, and provisions that we their constituents need and want. 

The mass media refers to these members of Congress as “moderates” and “centrists,” but that’s misleading blather. Those labels imply some sort of middle-ground balance between radical extremes. In reality they are defending and enhancing the interests of one-tenth of one percent of the population at the farthest extreme of income inequality while harming the needs of the remaining 99.9% of the American people. There’s nothing moderate or centrist about them; they are conservative, corporate Democrats, plain and simple. 

They claim they are concerned about the potential harm of too much government spending, yet without blinking an eye they vote for a bloated defense bill that’s two and a quarter times larger than Biden’s Build Back Better Act and more than the Pentagon even asked for. Yet they adamantly oppose government spending to fight climate disaster and invest in health, education, and housing. And three of the key provisions they are blocking don’t increase the federal deficit—they actually reduce it: Senator Manchin is dead set against shifting our economy from global-warming fossil fuels to clean, green renewable energy. But in the long run, ending fossil-fuel subsidies and mitigating climate-catastrophe economic damage saves the government (and everyone else) money. Senator Sinema is blocking restoration of even a small part of the corporate and billionaire tax cuts that Trump and the Republicans rammed through Congress. She and her cronies are also blocking funding that the IRS needs to track down tax-cheats and recover evaded taxes. She pretends to care about the deficit while voting against measures that will reduce it and for measures that will further increase it. Representatives Peters, Rice, and Schrader don’t represent their constituents in California, New York, and Oregon; they represent Big Pharma when they force Biden to abandon federal drug-price negotiations. Drug-price negotiation would save the federal government $456 billion and reduce the excessive medication costs that Americans pay compared to everyone else in the world. We need economic legislation that is actually effective. While we can’t do anything about these senators (because we are not their constituents), we can demand that our own Members of Congress wield their power and votes. They must not abandon the climate, fair-tax, and drug-price negotiation proposals originally included in the Build Back Better Act. 

We do not want them to vote on the so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill without an adequate and effective Reconciliation Bill that meets the essential needs of their constituents. 

Contact your Members of Congress and tell them: do not abandon the climate, fair-tax, and drug-price negotiation proposals originally included in the Build Back Better Act. 

Deadline for Democracy: Pass Voting Rights First
We have been pressing Senate Democrats to protect our voting rights with essential national standards since this summer’s Deadline for Democracy campaign for the For the People Act. Local Indivisibles have revived that quest recently by protesting outside our senators’ offices every Friday to urge swift passage of the Freedom to Vote Act. Meanwhile, Democratic senators have leverage over Manchin and Sinema in the form of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework bill and leverage over President Biden in terms of his need to fulfill his central “Build Back Better” campaign promise.

We want our senators to listen to Bishop William J. Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign and #HoldTheLine by refusing to pass infrastructure spending until voting protections and a national  $15/hour minimum wage have first been passed. There were nationwide demonstrations with these demands a couple months ago, including one in front of Senator Feinstein’s downtown San Francisco office.

Call your Senators and tell them: do whatever it takes to pass voting protections first!

ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, October 28, 7:30–9 PM. Register here for a Zoom meeting to help us develop strategies to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda. All are welcome to join our events!

Fight Back Fridays: Friday, October 29, 5–6 PM, at 1 Post Street. Join a coalition of local Indivisibles every Friday for FIGHT BACK FRIDAYS. We gather at 1 Post in SF (in front of Sen. Feinstein’s office building; at one of the Montgomery Street BART exits) every Friday until the Freedom to Vote Act is passed! More information here.

GOTV Phone Bank for Virginia Democrats @ Manny’s: Saturday, October 30, 10 AM–1 PM.  Get Out The Vote for Terry McAuliffe & Virginia Democrats! Join the California Democratic Party, Swing Left SF, the San Francisco Democratic Party, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who will join us remotely!) to make critical final GOTV calls on Saturday, October 30, for the November 2 election at Manny’s (3019 E 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103) Register here!

Get out the vote in Virginia! Sister District San Francisco & Friends Virtual Phone Bank: Sat, October 30–Tue, Nov 2. It’s time to Get Out The Vote in Virginia to protect Democratic control of this key Southern state. Join Sister District San Francisco & Friends and collaborators in the Bay Area and around the nation to help reelect Lashrecse Aird and Alex Askew to Virginia’s House of Delegates. 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 Anna Moneymaker for Getty Images. It shows demonstrators in front of the White House at a climate march in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 11, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Keep Fighting, The Indivisible SF Team
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Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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