Former President Barack Obama spoke out this week to help rally Americans behind a social spending framework unveiled by President Joe Biden on Thursday as a cap to lengthy negotiations unfolding alongside a bipartisan infrastructure deal passed by the Senate earlier this year. The plan rolled out this week for the accompanying social plan is smaller in scope than an original plan proposed by the Biden administration — and that reduction is thanks in large part to opposition to initial provisions lodged by conservative Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — but as Obama laid out, the current proposal still includes plans deserving of pride.
As summarized by The Wall Street Journal, the plan that Biden helped unveil “includes a one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit through 2022, plus a provision making that break permanently available to low-income families that don’t pay income taxes. It funds six years of universal prekindergarten, six years of child-care subsidies, and $150 billion to support long-term care for elderly and disabled Americans.” Significant priorities that do not appear in the plan, however, include a universal paid family leave program for Americans. Other developed countries on par with the U.S. have such a program, but the U.S. doesn’t.
Meanwhile, Obama pointedly commented as follows:
‘In a country as large and diverse as ours, progress can often feel frustrating and slow, with small victories accompanied by frequent setbacks. But once in a while, it’s still possible to take a giant leap forward. That’s what the framework announced today represents. it’s a testament to President Biden and Democrats in Congress who have worked tirelessly to forge this agreement, and to the activists and ordinary Americans who have fought for years, sometimes longer, to bring the America we know closer to the America we believe in.’
Obama noted that the plan “doesn’t contain everything that the President proposed and that some had hoped,” but the former president added that such is “the nature of progress in a democracy.” He also called the plan “an important step on our long journey to live up to our highest ideals.” Check out Obama’s full statement by clicking on the post below:
In a country as large and diverse as ours, progress can often feel frustrating and slow, with small victories accompanied by frequent setbacks. But once in a while, it’s still possible to take a giant leap forward. That’s what the Build Back Better framework represents. pic.twitter.com/ouKhRRz6qP
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 28, 2021
Reductions to the initially proposed plan have been, essentially, entirely the fault of so-called moderate Democrats like Sinema and Manchin. That responsibility is tied to the fact that Democrats have been able to pass the plan without a single Republican vote in the Senate, since certain spending bills are exempt from the chamber’s filibuster rules, which ordinarily require the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward on most bills. Most successful initiatives in the Senate must therefore be at least somewhat bipartisan — but Mitch McConnell isn’t exactly known for bipartisanship!