Updated: Jul 6
Feb. 25 will be remembered for a long time by this new generation of progressives as the day the Democratic Party betrayed them. With rising stars like congresswomen Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and the inspiring presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, a new group of young leftist believed the Democratic Party could be their path to power.
The youth across the nation were hopeful of a public healthcare option, raising the wage to $15 an hour, and many more reforms fought for by the progressive movement. On Feb. 25, the senate parliamentarian ruled that the Democrats can not raise the $15 minimum wage through budget reconciliation — a process in which the minority party cannot filibuster, and 51 votes is enough to pass the legislation.
The reason the Parliamentarian said that the Democrats could not include this in the new stimulus bill was that it did not affect the budget in a meaningful way to justify it being passed through budget reconciliation. In other words, it did not follow Byrd’s rule.
I, however, can not fathom how one could come to this conclusion when think tanks like the Economic Policy Institute found that “If the 2021 Raise the Wage Act were passed and the federal hourly minimum wage increased to $15 by 2025, ... [estimated] annual government expenditures on major public assistance programs would fall by between $13.4 billion and $31.0 billion.”
Clearly the Parliamentarian has an ideological conviction against raising the wage, but that is fine because the Democrats have the power to override the parliamentarian. The constitution gives the Vice President the authority to dismiss the advisory opinion of the parliamentarian and can even dismiss them.
So as many young progressives refreshed Twitter waiting for Vice President Harris to express her intention to override this ruling, experienced, older and wiser progressives laughed at our naivety.
Joe Biden and Ron Klain (his chief of staff) have said that they will not be attempting to override the ruling of this unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat. Do not think this is just because Joe Biden is ineffective or splines, he is neither of those things. His backbone is strong, but it is made with the dollars of his rich donors. The Democrats have the power to go around this ruling, the republicans did it twenty years ago.
George W. Bush and the Republican Party, just after stealing the election of 2000, looked to pass the biggest tax cuts since the Reagan era titled the “Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.” They didn’t have a super majority so were looking to pass the legislation through the budget reconciliation process. The parliamentarian read over the findings and determined this act did not coincide with Byrd’s Rule.
What did the Republicans do? Did they say that they were going to “respect the process,” did they “honor the traditions of the Republic” (even though this rule was made in 1985) — NO! The senate majority leader fired the parliamentarian and did it anyway. This is what a party does when it cares about its political program. This is what a party does when it believes in what they want to do. The Democrats do not share this ideological conviction towards their policies.
The Democratic Party exists to neuter the working class and stunt their demands. Placate them with the expression of empathy without taking up their struggle for power. Biden is not a friend, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted, but hey, glad we’re back to normal.
Courtesy of janeb13 via Pixabay