As a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations, the BlueGreen Alliance knows very well how difficult it can be finding agreement between parties with differing priorities. We do it every day. In most cases these negotiations are worthwhile, leading to greater understanding by all parties and eventually to compromise or a path forward that benefits all involved.
However, to achieve a victory together all the parties at the table have to actually want to negotiate. What we’ve seen from the GOP in negotiations with the administration on President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is ‘rope-a-dope’ not compromise.
The GOP is simply not interested in matching the administration’s efforts at a good faith negotiation, a reality that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear earlier this month when he stated that “100% of our focus is on stopping this new administration.”
This political theater needs to end. President Biden gave the GOP plenty of time to do what American voters across the political spectrum want and negotiate in good faith. They will not. It’s time for Congressional Democrats to act.
The American people have waited long enough, and working families in particular need help. In April, economists expected the U.S. to grow a million new jobs and only 266,000 were reported. After months of progress, the U.S. unemployment rate rose back up to 6.1%.
Moreover, voters do not want to wait. In six key states (MI, MN, OH, PA, WV, and WI), 9 out of 10 voters from across party lines said repairing and modernizing the nation’s physical infrastructure and rebuilding and retooling American manufacturing and modernizing our factories to build products and technology in the United States is very or fairly important to them. These are vital parts of the American Jobs Plan.
These voters also placed a high priority on other parts of the American Jobs Plan, such as strengthening America’s social infrastructure, public services, and human service workforce and increasing the production of clean energy and investing in innovative clean technologies. The American people want these investments, and they’re tired of waiting for Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans to make a good faith effort to come to an agreement.
There is no better illustration of the GOP’s lack of seriousness than their response to the White House’s counter offer last week. In response to the parred down plan, which cut more than a half trillion in investments, a staff member for Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R- W.Va.) stated that the proposal was still “above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support.” There is nothing that the administration could present to the GOP that meets the mark on infrastructure, jobs, and climate that they would approve of.
President Joe Biden and the administration should be proud to have released a strong plan that will create millions of good, union jobs, protect our air and water, revitalize communities that have been left behind, and ensure we leave a stronger economy and better planet to future generations. However, to get people back to work, tackle racial and economic injustice, and address the threat of climate change it has to be passed by Congress and signed into law.
Compromise is a two-way street and if only one party is interested there’s no chance for success. President Biden and the Democratic Congress need to stand up for the American people and pass the full American Jobs Plan—rejecting the half measures promoted by the GOP and increasing the level of investment to address the overlapping crises we face—and they need to do it now.