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The bad and good of Congress’ social safety plan

The debate and discussions in Congress on tax proposals that will soon be voted on demonstrate a clear polarization of our government and the continued trend that socialist policy still is not at the forefront of politics as Republicans so often claim. Essentially, Democrats have been scrambling around Capitol Hill in attempt to construct a cohesive and expansive social safety net bill, but due to the way our legislative system is divided and the nature of the social safety net bill, many Republicans have, in some way, been casted to the side in the overall decision making. Judging by comments made by Republicans, and the lack of certain major proposals the left expected to be included in the bill, it is evident that Congress post-Trump is just as critically divided as ever. 

Due to Democrats comprising a slight majority in the House of Representatives, and half of the Senate, the need for Republican votes is not necessary. Democrats need the majority of the House of Representatives, which they have, and 50 votes in the Senate plus the Vice President in order to get this bill passed through Congress. Essentially, it can be relied upon that Democrats will get this pushed through, and according to comments made by Republicans, have truly been in talks among themselves in order to come up with a bill that is agreed upon by all Democrats, from the progressives to the centrists. While, generally, a congress this openly divided is a sign of a deeply polarized society, it also shows us, the voters, that Republicans have shown through example their unwillingness to compromise and push forward social policy that benefits the masses through social safety nets. Ultimately, the Republican agenda includes nothing of the sort. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Democrats see no reason to struggle through convoluted debates with Republicans to create a bill that will please them as well, as the past four years have shown us nothing but that they seek to roll back tremendous social bills like healthcare and economic taxes like increased taxes on businesses and billionaires. 

What is more relevant to me is the lack of inclusion of numerous proposals that the left would have anticipated to be included now that Democrats finally hold all of Congress and the executive branch. Universal healthcare still is not established, although the proposal will aim to include expansion on what Medicare can cover. Free or greatly reduced university tuition is still not included, even though covering two years of undergraduate education was a talking point during Biden’s candidacy. And, even more perversely, proposals like taxes on billionaires and large corporations are currently in talks to be removed or lessened while proposals like family care and leave benefits have been fully thrown out. 

As a left leaning voter, I want to see universal healthcare, free or reduced tuition for universities, student debt erasures, increased taxes on corporations and billionaires, increased minimum wage, expansion of governmental assistance for rental-assistance and home-buying endeavors, pressure on corporations that are the world’s largest polluters through tax increases and funding for clean energy and an expansion of funding for small businesses. Considering that many of these proposals will not even make it to the proposal that will be pushed by Democrats is absolutely stifling. While the right and Republicans continue to spread this idea that Democrats are straying too far into socialism, other Western countries have already been way ahead of us, furthering their citizens’ quality of life. In America, where Democrats are having to struggle even among themselves to push for proposals as clearly socially beneficial as taxes on exploitative corporations and social safety nets like paid leave, we simultaneously have to deal with regressive and pointless rollbacks of abortion rights and trans rights from the right. Evidently, the fight for inclusion of more socially inclusive policy with an aim for safety nets, and guaranteed higher quality of life is far from being achieved, its biggest adversaries being the Republicans that choose to represent corporations and the ideas of regression over the real solutions to the problems all their constituents ultimately face.

 

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