WaPo editorial board scolds progressives amid Dem spending battle: 'Stop demanding' a 'revolution' from Biden


The Washington Post editorial board is lashing out at progressive lawmakers amid the Democratic infighting regarding the spending spree bills being stalled on Capitol Hill in a piece titled “Biden did not run to stage a revolution. Progressives should stop demanding one.”

“For a moment, progressives seemed to have a dream opportunity to imprint their vision on the country. Democrats in March muscled through a big covid-19 relief bill on a party-line vote. The party seemed unified enough to leverage its thin majorities, as senior lawmakers prepared infrastructure and social spending bills that would cost trillions,” the editorial board began its piece on Tuesday. “These dreams were never realistic, and they are now evaporating. But many progressives are having trouble accepting this, looking for gimmicky ways to enact broad structural change despite centrists’ objections.”

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The piece insisted “Democrats must cut back their big social spending bill from $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion or less” in order to meet the “demands of key moderates” and rejected the progressive caucus’ claim that “This is our moment to make the President’s vision a reality” while arguing to maintain the programs in the bill but shorten the period of time they’re funded, writing in a letter “This bill offers us a chance to fundamentally transform the relationship between the American people and their government.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters after a meeting of the progressive House Democrats on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters after a meeting of the progressive House Democrats on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“But that is not what President Biden promised when he ran for president. Mr. Biden handily beat the left’s candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in the Democratic primaries, arguing that one need not stage a revolution to do good,” the editorial board wrote. “He spoke about returning normalcy and competence to Washington, not renegotiating the social contract.”

The Post urged Democrats to tackle climate change rather than expanding Medicare, “shoring up” the Affordable Care Act or pursuing universal free community college.

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“Progressives’ plan to fund everything for fewer years would risk the sudden expiration of social programs in a relative heartbeat,” the board wrote. “To the extent progressives believe that future Congresses would extend those benefits, they favor budget cheating, making it seem as though their agenda is relatively inexpensive when the low price-tag simply reflects an unusually short spending window. If Democrats used 10 years of new revenue to finance five years of new spending, that would compound the misrepresentation.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a centrist Democrat vital to the fate of President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion domestic agenda, is surrounded by reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. Manchin and other senators were boarding a bus to attend a memorial service for the late Susan Bayh, the wife of former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who died earlier in the year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a centrist Democrat vital to the fate of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion domestic agenda, is surrounded by reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. Manchin and other senators were boarding a bus to attend a memorial service for the late Susan Bayh, the wife of former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who died earlier in the year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The editorial board clarified it wasn’t arguing Democrats should “settle for little” but perhaps aim for “tangible results,” putting more emphasis on keeping the focus on climate change, writing Sen. Joe Manchin’s reported opposition to “acting ambitiously on climate change” could “torpedo a key element of Mr. Biden’s campaign — and deal untold harm to future generations.”

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“The health of Americans and their climate depends on Democrats passing well-designed, durable programs on which people and businesses can rely. Both sides of the party must keep this in mind as the Democrats pare their legislative ambitions,” the Post added. 

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