To many people, $3.5 trillion sounds like a staggering amount of money, nearly the entire estimated income of the American government in 2021, but to U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), it’s “meaningless.”
The comments came as Yarmuth, who is the House Budget Committee Chairman, was speaking with Erin Burnett on CNN on Thursday. Bitter after the Democrats were forced to concede defeat on the bill, he had strong words for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in particular.
“The number itself is meaningless. I mean, I read Joe Manchin’s statement, I’ve listened to him, he has no understanding of how the federal government monetary system works when he compared it yesterday to his household income, that has no relevance to what we can do,” Yarmuth complained.
The Democratic ire towards Manchin has been palpable in recent months. Manchin’s position of limiting the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” Act to “only” $1.5 trillion has the progressive wing of the Democratic Party up in arms, and aroused the anger of President Joe Biden, who is using the the bill, alongside a trillion dollar infrastructure bill, as the keynote legislation of his presidency, the centerpiece of his administrative legacy.
Manchin’s hesitancy, alongside Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), has caused the bills to derail, and embarrassed Democratic leadership, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). As the bills lose momentum, the Democrats face the potential for a loss of initiative that will kill the bills entirely.
The defenders of the massive spending bill claim that it will recoup its losses via other means. Biden himself came out saying it costs “zero dollars.”
My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars.
Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America.
And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 26, 2021
Yarmuth appeared to agree with this overall position, telling Burnett “It’s not a question of what we can afford. The federal government can afford anything that it feels it needs to do and right now that’s what we ought to be focused on. So that’s kind of the position I took in the budget committee, that’s the position I will take going forward.”
Most of the blame being assigned by Democrats has gone to Manchin and Sinema. CNN’s Don Lemon called the two presumably the worst epithet he could come up with: “Republicans.”
In such ways are liberals trying to ostracize the two and lump them in with their eternal Republican foe, who the Democrats unashamedly try to tar as class enemies of the common people for daring to oppose a massive spending increase and forcing the Democrats to go into negotiations and compromise, as Yarmuth explained:
“The shame is that we have an opposition party, the Republican Party, who doesn’t think the federal government has any obligation to do anything about providing childcare, early childhood education, paid family and medical leave, any of the things that are in the Build Back Better Act. If they’re not going to recognize that these are national responsibilities, then we have to act alone and it puts us in this very, very convoluted process called reconciliation that has basically opened itself up to all this brinkmanship.”
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