To: Hon Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
From: Indivisible San Francisco-representing 3000 of your constituents
An Open Letter to Speaker Pelosi
Dear Representative Pelosi,
We are writing you today to express our support for the House Progressive Caucus’ refusal to vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) until an adequate Build Back Better Act (BBBA) has passed, or is certain to pass, the Senate.
We also write to express our profound disappointment that so many essential — and widely popular — programs and provisions have been gutted out of the BBBA to appease two conservative Democratic senators and a tiny handful of conservative House Democrats. The mass media refers to those conservative Democrats as “moderates” and “centrists,” but that’s misleading. Those labels imply some sort of middle-ground between radical extremes. But in reality they are defending and expanding 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 corporate Democrats plain and simple.
We reject their false claim that the bill’s original $3.5 trillion 10-year price tag was “too high.” Their phony concern over government spending is a smokescreen to disguise their opposition to specific policies and programs opposed by their wealthy benefactors and big corporate donors. The hypocrisy of their position is clearly evidenced by their enthusiastic and uncritical support of a bloated 10-year $7.7 trillion defense bill (NDAA) that is two and a quarter times larger than the BBBA that you and President Biden originally proposed. Yet they adamantly oppose essential spending to fight the climate emergency and invest in children, health, education, and housing. And three of the key provisions they are blocking don’t increase the federal deficit at all — 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-related 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 is 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. That’s why it is one of the most popular elements of the BBBA, something Democrats have advocated for decades.
We urge you to enact economic legislation that is actually effective. Don’t surrender to the selfish greed of the elite few. Don’t put the interests of giant corporations and obscenely wealthy billionaires ahead of what we the American people need and want. Stand strong for our democratic values and:
- Don’t abandon the climate proposals originally included in the Build Back Better Act
- Don’t abandon the fair-tax proposals originally included in the Build Back Better Act
- Don’t abandon the drug-price negotiation proposals originally included in the Build Back Better Act
Restore those three most urgent and popular provisions to the BBBA, and oppose any further cuts to it.
We oppose voting on the BIF until an adequate and effective Reconciliation Bill that meets the essential needs of us, your constituents and the House Progressive Caucus, has either passed or is guaranteed to pass the Senate. If that means nothing is passed, that would indeed be tragic because it would mean that once again the needs of millions of people and the future of our children are held hostage to the greed of a tiny handful of billionaires and the corruption of a few members of Congress. But if that becomes necessary so be it because we are sick and tired of surrendering.
Thank you for tirelessly fighting for your constituents’ needs. Respectfully,
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