The progressives have already won

At minimum, the moderates are likely to scale back the much larger package that Democrats need to pass without help from Republicans. But that prospect is not as frightening to progressives as it might have been in past years. Because of their early success, the second bill is so broad that even if moderates were to cut its cost in half, Biden could still lay claim to legislative accomplishments that, when added to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted this spring, are more significant than any Democratic president of the past half century. Manchin opposes the breadth of the bill’s climate provisions, and House moderates have blocked a plan aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs. The Senate parliamentarian has nixed a proposal to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Yet even if those measures are watered down or scrapped, what’s left in the bill would still dramatically increase federal support for child care, early education, college, and health care.

“Progressives are in the driver’s seat here,” says Joseph Geevarghese, the executive director of Our Revolution, the advocacy group that grew out of Senator Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. “Are we going to get everything we want? No. That’s just the reality of politics. But if you look at where we are compared to the Obama era, it’s transformational.”…

“He was not my candidate in the election,” Jayapal, who backed Sanders in the 2020 primary, said of Biden. “But what he has laid out in this Build Back Better Plan is extremely progressive, and what he has supported as we’ve gone through is extremely progressive.”

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