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Democrats win with plan to rebuild infrastructure

Melvin B. Miller
Democrats win with plan to rebuild infrastructure
“If we don’t stick together, none of us will benefit!”

When lobbyists appear in a U.S. senator’s office with a proposed substantial political donation, the senator knows what the quid pro quo is, even if it is not always articulated. Blacks cannot afford the financial contributions of the corporate agents, but they have something of even greater value — a solid voting bloc. It is disheartening to hear numerous newscasters devalue the Black vote in the conflict that pits Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema against the Congressional Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party.

While Blacks are indeed not the only members of the Progressive Caucus, it must be pointed out once again that the committed Black vote essentially created the political clout for the Biden administration to be in the presidency. An estimated 87% of Black voters, compared with only 42% of whites, voted to elect Biden. And the expectation of Black voters was to benefit all working-class Americans. A number of beneficial proposals were embedded in Biden’s “Build Back Better” program.

Manchin supports the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, but he objected to the cost of the $3.5 trillion bill to provide climate change mitigation provisions as well as childcare, education, advanced Medicare and other programs to benefit Americans of more limited means. But it seems now that Manchin’s objections extend beyond the cost. He stands against any provisions that are in his mind doles or entitlements to the poor.

He was also defensive against the allegedly disrespectful attitude of Congress to the wealthy who had built our solid economy. He objected that they and their businesses should be taxed to finance the program. As Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber allegedly said when he was asked why he robbed banks, he answered simply, “That’s where the money is.”

It appears from Manchin’s remarks that he now has little intention of signing the Build Back Better bill unless the benefits are greatly watered down. The strategy of the Progressive Caucus to link the two bills was well-conceived to force conciliation. His assertion that the Caucus wants “… all or nothing” is absurd. They have cut the bill in half, but that is not enough for Manchin.

How disappointing to hear respected TV journalists argue that the Progressive Caucus should support the infrastructure bill, while knowing Manchin would not support the bill to benefit working-class Blacks. Is there any wonder that many Blacks no longer expect from the government a level of support that is equivalent to their commitment?