Budowsky: Reconciliation begins progressive Democratic renaissance across US

Budowsky: Reconciliation begins progressive Democratic renaissance across US
© Greg Nash

President Biden deserves applause for proposing a Build Back Better program that was a landmark of progressive legislation, along with Democratic leaders in Congress and leading progressives including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE (I-Vt.), Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill MORE (D-Wash.) and many others who battle to enact them. 

My view is that since the cost of the original proposal must unfortunately be scaled back to some degree, it would be economically and politically wise to limit the duration of the program from 10 years to five years. This would lower the cost, maintain the most critical and highly popular progressive initiatives, and position Democrats to campaign to continue them, against Republicans who campaign to end them, in the 2022 midterm and the 2024 presidential elections.

It is important for progressives, moderates, Democrats and commentators to understand why this process could well create a great progressive renaissance in American politics.


On virtually every major issue in the reconciliation proposal, and I would add voting rights proposals as well, this world can be divided into two categories.

Category one includes the dramatic, progressive and highly popular proposals that will be included in final legislation and enacted into law.

Category two includes the dramatic, progressive and highly popular proposals that will not be enacted this year, and will form the basis for Democrats across America, including progressives and moderates, to campaign ferociously for in the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election —with great political success!! 

Democrats today, and through the coming elections, should be far more forceful and specific detailing what these highly popular programs are, and how they help hundreds of millions of voters, one by one, day after day. 

The final legislation should include maximum support for child care and the child care tax credit that help moms, dads and kids in red, blue and purple states across America. 

To the degree it does, which in large measure it will, Democrats will reap huge public support everywhere. To the degree it does not go the distance, progressive and moderate Democrats will fight like hell, and reap a great advantage in the midterm elections, by championing this all-out.

These plans reduce poverty dramatically, provide profound support to women who need and deserve this support, to their families, and to the national economy by enabling these women to work.

Do not underestimate the enormous and increasing political power of women across America, in red and blue and purple states, who would back Democrats who champion their great cause of better child care for every mom, dad, son and daughter everywhere in America.

The final legislation should include strong provisions to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and create some cap on the ultimate cost of these drugs to those who need them.

This should be included in the final legislation. If it is, legislators who support it will reap tremendous political benefits in the midterm elections from the more than 130 million Americans who use prescription drugs. If it is not, any Democrat, in any state and district, can run against any Republican, in any state and district, and win standing ovations from these Americans — including poor, middle class and seniors especially — who want, need and deserve this support.


These Democratic candidates, and the media that covers those elections, should aggressively reveal and disclose to voters the campaign contributions of Republicans who oppose this enormously important reform from special interests who reap huge profits by overcharging more than 130 million Americans for prescription drugs.

Final legislation should include the maximum support to save the earth from climate change.  Much of this will be included in the bill which will win Democrats huge support from those who want the earth protected. To the degree some of it is not, Democrats can run against those who oppose it, and they and the media should expose huge campaign donations from polluters who support them.

On these and many issues, the stage is set for a progressive renaissance in America.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.