Opinion: Jared’s reason for opposing Build Back Better is bullshit / by Ethan Strimling

Photo: Rep. Jared Golden’s constituents protest outside his Lewiston office, asking for the Second District congressman to support the Build Back Better package, including provisions to fund health, home and child care; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and immigration reform. | Beacon

Don’t believe Rep. Jared Golden. 

His claim that his vote against Build Back Better was a vote against a tax give-away to millionaires is, to be blunt, total bullshit. 

The tax provision he dislikes is barely 15% of the bill, and when you take into account the other tax increases on the rich and powerful, it is likely to be less than 10%. Do we honestly think every other Democrat in the House would have voted for this bill, including AOC, Ilhan, Cori, Jamaal, Rashida, Ayanna, and everyone else who caucuses with the Squad, if this provision was really so egregious? 

No, his vote against this historic investment in working families was made for one of only two reasons. Either he really is as conservative as Republicans, or he is simply putting his re-election ahead of his constituents. 

If the first, he should just level with us. If the second, he has grievously miscalculated. Sixty percent of his constituents support this measure, and Democrats, the overwhelming majority of his base, are becoming more and more likely to skip his name on the ballot.

But just so we are clear on what he did vote against, here is a taste of what is actually in the bill:

  • Affordable child care, including higher wages for teachers
  • Four weeks of paid family and medical leave
  • Free Universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds
  • Free school and summer meals for children
  • Funding for clean air and water
  • Funding for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
  • Funding for forest restoration
  • Funding to build, repair, and replace public housing
  • Vouchers for rental assistance and funds for low-income home-buyers
  • A ban on new offshore oil and gas leases along the Atlantic coast 
  • Repeal of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas leasing program
  • Housing for Native American communities
  • Funds to expand access to home health aides
  • Extends health care subsidies for middle class families
  • Provides hearing benefits for our elderly
  • Expanded health care access for pregnant and postpartum women
  • Funding to prevent maternal mortality
  • Funds to stop the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older adults
  • Permanently funds the insurance program for children
  • Caps Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs to $2,000
  • Allows the government to negotiate Rx prices and limits price increases
  • Increases penalties for worker safety and worker protection agencies
  • Aids workers screwed by deals like NAFTA
  • Funds historically Black, tribal DACA, and minority-serving schools.
  • Increases the size and eligibility of Pell Grants
  • Protects undocumented immigrants from deportation 
  • Funds high-speed rail
  • Converts government vehicles to electric
  • Funds Veterans’ Affairs infrastructure
  • Community violence prevention
  • Cracks down on wealthy tax cheats
  • Discourages youth and adult vaping
  • Increases taxes on corporations
  • Increases taxes on corporate stockholders
  • Increases taxes on millionaires and billionaires

So, enough with the distractions. I have had to vote on hundreds of compromises in my life as an elected official. If I ever had one that gave me 90% of this much good, in exchange for 10% of waste, it would have been one of the best bills I had ever voted for.

Here is the primary source I used for the above list.

Ethan Strimling served ten years as Mayor and State Senator for Portland, Maine.

Source: Maine Beacon, November 19, 2021, https://mainebeacon.com/opinion-jareds-reason-for-opposing-build-back-better-is-bullshit/