Reject the BS—Use reconciliation to address our current crises

12 mins read

Immediately after being inaugurated in 2021, President Biden proposed more than a trillion dollars for long-overdue investments in infrastructure, climate defense, racial justice, healthcare, housing, and education, all to be paid for by requiring the obscenely wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. His infrastructure bill, with its massive income and profit stream for the construction industry, passed with broad bipartisan support. But Republicans unanimously opposed and effectively blocked all proposals to benefit the 99 percent of us who are not members of the millionaire class. There are only two ways to overcome Republican obstruction and enact the legislation that we desperately need. One is either to eliminate or amend the filibuster. The other is to circumvent the filibuster by using the “reconciliation” process. But both of those methods require the support of all fifty Democratic senators. 

One Democratic senator, Manchin of West Virginia, who has received more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than any other senator while reaping millions from his family coal business, has blocked and sabotaged every effort. For more than a year, Democrats weakened, stripped out, and watered down their proposals to win Manchin’s vote for a reconciliation bill. Dropped to get him on board were provisions to curb power-plant pollution, encourage electric vehicles, and increase solar and wind power. Finally, it seemed we were close to a deal on a small, narrow bill that might provide a fraction of what we need. Last week, without warning, Manchin torpedoed the climate and tax provisions, leaving on the table only Medicare drug-price reductions and extending Affordable Care Act subsidies that are set to lapse at the end of the year. 

Manchin mendaciously claimed his stab in the back was to combat high inflation caused by government spending. Said Jamal Raad of Evergreen Action, “That’s all bullshit. He cares about profits for his coal company and his own political future over the future of our planet.” 

The price increases of this year have been in large part due to corporate price-gouging, but Republicans and the corporate mass media endlessly repeat the simplistic—and thoroughly discredited—dogma that inflation is caused by government spending. That’s politically convenient BS that they don’t even believe themselves, because they never mention it when the issue is corporate subsidies or defense spending. Without a mumbled word about inflation, Manchin and the Republicans laud the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), a plan to hand out $52 billion in subsidies to five of America’s richest corporations. Nor did an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House see inflation as anything of concern when they passed an $840 billion Defense Authorization bill (60 percent of the federal budget) that was $37 billion more than Biden even asked for. 

Since a reconciliation bill must be passed by both the Senate and the House before the end of September and time is now short, President Biden called for passing what little remained of the reconciliation bill and promised that he would take strong executive action to fight global warming. 

Contact President Biden and your Senators and tell them: use reconciliation to address our actual crises: the climate emergency, the ongoing pandemic and spiraling medical costs.

Thanks to our Bay Area Representatives for demonstrating for abortion rights

We offer our thanks to representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) for their participation in yesterday’s demonstration for abortion rights in Washington, DC. Representatives Speier and Lee were among a number of House Democrats who got arrested for blocking the road.

Rep. Speier directly cited her late colleague, Rep. John Lewis, as inspiration to “get in good trouble” over the Supreme Court’s radical decision denying people’s right to an abortion. Rep. Lee tweeted, “One has a moral responsibility to push back against unjust laws.”

At the demonstration, a march from the Capitol to the Supreme Court, US Capitol Police arrested seventeen Democratic lawmakers and another eighteen demonstrators.

Good Bills for a Better Congress: Legislation to protect abortion rights

We were proud to see Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) step forward to insist on restoring the legitimacy of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) after multiple justices lied to the American people about their views on Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. On July 8, 2022, they wrote to Majority Leader Schumer asking for an investigation of the lies told by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during their confirmation hearings. The letter quoted the justices’ statements during the hearings and their comments in Dobbs as well as Senators’ reactions to being misled. We support their call for an investigation.

We need senior Democratic leadership to stop minimizing SCOTUS’ extremism, which has increased exponentially since their rulings on  Citizens United v. FEC in 2010 and Shelby v. Holder in 2013. Republicans have campaigned on moving SCOTUS’ balance to the far right and we have now seen the most serious rollback in rights for American citizens since Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The majority of Americans are under attack by a right-wing minority, and we need leaders who recognize this and will respond in kind. The Democratic party must reorient itself toward defending democracy with bold actions to inspire millions more to vote. 

This week, we’re highlighting two Good Bills for a Better Congress that should be passed at the same time. One is the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), federal legislation that would protect the right to provide and access abortion care by prohibiting medically unnecessary restrictions and bans on abortion, including forced waiting periods, biased counseling, and pre-viability bans. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced it in the House in 2013, 2015, and 2017, when it failed to pass, and in 2019, when the House passed it, but Republicans in the Senate filibustered it. 

Nevertheless, Democrats have persisted. They reintroduced the WHPA in the current Congress, where the House passed it on July 15, 2022. On that same day, the House also passed a companion bill, the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, which would prohibit any person acting under state law from preventing, restricting, impeding, or retaliating against health care providers who provide legal abortion services to out-of-state residents, any person or entity who helps health care providers to provide such services, any person who travels to another state to obtain such services, any person or entity who helps another person travel to another state to obtain such services, or the movement in interstate commerce of drugs that are approved to terminate pregnancies. The Department of Justice may enforce this bill through civil actions; the bill also establishes a private right of action for violations.

There are so many outstanding bills that will never make it past Republican obstruction in the 50/50 Senate. So instead of asking you to take action on these bills right now, we’re keeping a list of bills our next Congress can and should enact, if we hold our House majority and increase our Senate majority. Find this bill, and more that might inspire your friends and family to vote in the midterm elections, on our list of Good Bills for a Better Congress.

If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Our next meeting is on Thursday, July 28. Details on how to register below.

ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, July 28, 7:30–9 PM.Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.

Activism Fair at Manny’s: Friday, July 29, 5–7 PM. Come to Manny’s summer activism fair to find out about local organizations making change in our community. RSVP here.

Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Wednesdays and Saturdays. Our friends at Swing Left need your help talking to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left and the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up for a shift:

  • TODAY, Wednesday, July 20, 5–7 PM
  • Saturday, July 23, 10 AM–12 PM
  • Wednesday, July 27, 5–7 PM

Voter registration drive in the California Central Valley with Swing Left: Saturdays. Swing Left needs your help registering voters in Central Valley CD-13 and CD-22, from Modesto to Bakersfield. They will conduct door-to-door and COVID-safe canvassing to register voters every weekend until Tuesday, November 8. Sign up here:

  • Saturday, July 23, 9 AM–3:30 PM
  • Saturday, July 30, 9 AM–3:30 PM
  • Saturday, Aug 6, 9 AM–3:30 PM

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.

Today’s image is a photo of representatives Speier, Omar, Lee, Velasquez, and Maloney and others demonstrating to protest the SCOTUS decision reversing Roe v. Wade. The photo was taken by Anna Moneymaker for Getty Images.

Keep Fighting,The Indivisible SF Team

If you’d like to support our all-volunteer team:


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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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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