Keep this list!
August 8, 2022
Keep this list for future reference! Better yet, share it with a friend!
03/11/2021 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a sweeping $1.9 trillion relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.
11/15/2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $1.2 trillion investment in “hard infrastructure” including roads and bridges.
03/29/2022, Emmett Till Antilynching Act, 120 years after an anti-lynching bill was first introduced and after failing on nearly 200 prior occasions, Congress passed a bill designating lynching as a hate crime. Only three representatives—one each from Texas, Kentucky, and Georgia—voted against the bill.
06/25/22 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, extended background checks for gun purchasers under 21, funding for state red flag laws and other crisis intervention programs, and partial closure of the “boyfriend” loophole.
07/29/2022 CHIPS and Science Act, the most significant research bill passed in a generation, including a $56 billion investment in American semiconductor production to incentivize companies to move chip production back into the United States.
08/02/2022, Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, provides healthcare and other services related to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during military service.
08/07/2022, Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the largest climate investment in US history, lowers prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and extends expiring health care subsidies for three years.
Dozens of other bills were enacted during the first twenty months of Biden’s term, but the above bills represent significant achievements. Whenever anyone asserts that “Biden” or “the Democrats” “haven’t achieved anything” or that “Biden’s presidency has been a failure,” ask them to name seven significant pieces of legislation from Trump’s tenure, or the terms of Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, or Kennedy. I’ll wager that they stop after two pieces of legislation enacted during the entire span of each prior president’s tenure.
The above list is important. Keep it nearby, share it, and (perhaps) memorize it! You never know when it might come in handy as an icebreaker or conversation-filler!
The lesson of the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Senate vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is the culmination of a long and bruising fight that is largely responsible for the decline in Joe Biden’s favorability ratings over the last year. The ultimate scope of the IRA is a bitter disappointment to many who had hoped for a transformational omnibus bill that would have addressed poverty, early childhood education, paid family leave, free tuition for all attending junior colleges, student loan forgiveness, larger investments in clean energy, incentives to discontinue use of coal, funds to build 150,000 affordable homes, and much more.
The bill that passed on Sunday in the Senate was a shadow of the original Build Back Better Bill—and yet, it is a cause for celebration! Standing alone, The Inflation Reduction Act is an unqualified victory of immense proportions, and no amount of “could have beens” or “whataboutisms” or recriminations should diminish that victory. Indeed, Democrats must act like the IRA is a momentous victory if they expect anyone else to believe that it is! See, Vox, The Inflation Reduction Act: The policies in the IRA, explained.
E.J. Dionne captured the spirit of the moment with his op-ed in NYTimes, Senate Democrats pass Inflation Reduction Act and strike a blow against cynicism. Dionne writes,
Democrats have promised to contain drug costs for years. They finally did something. (And 43 Republican senators did themselves no political good by casting procedural votes on Sunday to block a cap on the cost of insulin for people who are not on Medicare.) Younger Americans especially were angry when Congress seemed ready to leave town without doing anything about climate change. Frustration gave way to something close to elation when a climate deal was finally reached.
Ah, yes, “There will be time, there will be time” after the midterms to consider the revisions, betrayals, and evasions practiced by some Democratic Senators— but now is not the moment. Democrats delivered for the American people and should be touting that achievement. And—to put a finer point on the message—Democrats should be telling everyone that Republicans voted against lower prices for prescription drugs and a cap on insulin prices for Americans not on Medicare. Republicans also voted against reducing carbon emissions by 40%, reducing the deficit, and imposing a minimum tax on corporations with revenues over $1 billion.
But I have digressed: Here is the lesson of The Inflation Reduction Act: Never give up, and when you win, don’t bemoan what was left on the table to achieve victory. There will be other battles soon—and reinforcements are on their way!
Opportunities for reader engagement.
I have pinned a note at the top of the Comment section with two invitations for reader engagement. Click on the “text / dialog” box next to the “heart / like” icon at the top or bottom of the newsletter to review comments.
A plea from Sarah O’Neill of PostCardsToVoters to write for Pat Ryan, who is running in a special election in NY-19 to be held on August 23rd.
An invitation from Seth Fleisher to join a Zoom this Wednesday on “Walk the Walk’s” strategy to support local grassroots organizations run by people from the communities they serve.
I make it a point never to read Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American” until after I have finished my newsletter for fear that I will simply repeat all of the smart things she has already written. Tonight, after I finished the substance of this newsletter, I clicked on Heather’s newsletter and saw that she cited to E.J. Dionne’s op-ed in the NYTimes (as did I). Although Professor Cox Richardson and I bring different perspectives to the news, I think we both come from the same place: A belief that America has endured difficult challenges in the past and is capable of enduring the difficult challenges we face today. History teaches us so. The vote in the Senate on Sunday on the Inflation Reduction Act teaches us so, as well.
If you are one of the people who read newsletters from me and Heather Cox Richardson, I urge you to add Jessica Craven’s Chop Wood, Carry Water. Jessica is a force of nature who offers daily actions readers can undertake to make a difference. Jessica’s blog post for August 7, 2022, is exceptionally good. If you need a pick-me-up or want to extend the feeling of elation over the Inflation Reduction Act, check out the long list of “Celebrate This” items in Jessica’s blog.
After two weeks of good news, it is time for Democrats to shake off their self-doubts and defensiveness. We have the policies, the positions, the values, and the candidates necessary to win. We need to “get out of our own heads” and start engaging without fear or hesitation. Although we can’t count on Republicans to defeat themselves, they certainly aren’t making it any easier for themselves. Let’s capitalize on the string of mistakes and “pulling back the curtain” moments that have revealed their depravity as never before. We have every reason to be confident but no reason to be complacent!
Talk to you tomorrow!