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Congress Is Debating Biggest Climate Change Bill Ever. Here's What's at Stake (npr.org)
56 points by graderjs 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 94 comments



> Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has ties to the coal industry, and he told CNN he won't vote for the package. He argues utilities already are moving away from coal, so it doesn't make sense to "pay companies to do what they're already doing."

It's not the blatant self interest and lobbying that I find most offensive, but the need for these politicians to make up such silly lies and the gullibility of the constituents who accept them.


There is such ignorance and arrogance on the coasts about places like West Virginia. The state is extremely poor and coal is still a massively important industry. Manchin is driving a bargain and is representing his people, who've ruined their economy and environment powering the rest of the country for the last 100 years. The rest of the country needs to help make the impact on coal country manageable as part of the transition to clean energy.


> There is such ignorance and arrogance on the coasts about places like West Virginia.

yes, agree

> The state is extremely poor

ok

> coal is still a massively important industry

similar arguments could be made for plenty of industry, historically.. even going back 200 years

> Manchin is driving a bargain and is representing his people

you are dramatically off-base on this. People do not form industry, companies, their executives and stakeholders form industry. Individuals are paid wages and then also have expenses, for example to their landlords, and also a company store perhaps?

> who've ruined their economy and environment

many lives are suffering now, and in the past, agree

> powering the rest of the country for the last 100 years

wasted water, electricity and money, are not unique to our age

> The rest of the country needs to help make the impact on coal country

that has been an explicit goal for union organizers, environmentalists, policy makers and is a core reason to have a common governance. Your emotional appeal is probably well-meaning, but.. falls apart quickly. King Coal - your time is over


> People do not form industry, companies, their executives and stakeholders form industry.

Peoples' jobs are a part of industry. It's not just the CEOs and shareholders. And the point was, Manchin is not just representing CEOs. He's representing little peoples' jobs. At this point, you were kind of ignoring what pirate787 was actually saying, and therefore your reply was rather wasted.

> ... and also a company store perhaps?

This just looks like smear tactics. Are there any company stores in 2021? I'm pretty sure they're at least quite rare.



OK, but neither Nike nor Disney is what the term "company store" usually implies (especially in a coal mining context). It's a place that you have to use, and that overcharges you.


parent sounds like they drank the J.D. Vance koolaid :/


The coal industry already gets four billion dollars a year in direct subsidies. They've been ruining our atmosphere, poisoning our rivers, and interfering with environmental protection for decades in order to line their own pockets. I wouldn't hand West Virginia a parachute any sooner than I'd bail out a meth dealer.


The parent isn't talking about bailing out the coal industry, but West Virginians transition their economy from fossil fuels to something that actually benefits the country.


Manchin also has a lot of his personal wealth invested in coal power, so I don't think he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart (and if he believed that this bill wasn't necessary b/c utilities are moving away from coal, why is he so invested in it?). To your point, you're right that WV is poor and coal-dependent, and I'm open to solutions for helping "coal country" transition.


West Virginians as I understand it largely hate Joe Manchin. It's just that any of his competitors are worse (somehow) or get outspent by several orders of magnitude.


Mining is the 9th-largest industry in West Virginia and employs 2% of its workforce. You could pay each and every miner in America $100k/year - double what they normally make - to just stay home and it would cost almost nothing, compared to the externalized costs of burning coal.


You can question Sen. Manchin's motives but his statement isn't wrong. Coal is generally no longer price competitive with natural gas and renewables for power generation. The fleet mix is already shifting and will continue to do so even absent government mandates or subsidies. (There may be environmental reasons to accelerate that shift even faster.)


> (There may be environmental reasons to accelerate that shift even faster.)

Yeah, that's.... the entire point. That's why his statement is not just wrong, it's morally repugnant.


if utilities move to natural gas we don't solve the emissions issue


Gas is a massive improvement over coal.

The supply chain has tons less carbon per MW (pumps and pipes vs trains and trucks and drilled wells vs mines) Obviously there's huge pollution improvements. And most importantly gas can be throttled so it leaves lots of room for renewables to pick up load.


It's an improvement, but insufficient to meet emissions objectives. Of course, if we taxed carbon we could actually rely on the market sorting itself out without gaping loopholes (e.g., virtually the entire transportation sector).



Natural gas produces less emissions and act as a flexible backup for renewables. There is no good reason to support coal anymore and natural gas plants need expensive fuel which means they can't compete when wind and solar are producing power. It's the perfect compromise.


I’d like to think that if there were alternative good paying jobs in WV, many would gladly give up the coal mining jobs. It seems like this bill could be an opportunity for WV to chart a different course in exchange for its vote.


In the entire country there are less than sixty thousand coal miners. They're a political tool to be exploited by others; their own vote counts for almost nothing.


Past efforts to retrain coal miners have been generally ineffective. President Biden told them to learn to code, which didn't go over too well.

https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/education/47...

I support efforts to give miners other opportunities but we have to be realistic about what's possible.


I find it offensive when folks on HN completely get the facts wrong and disparage people for no good reason.

The utility industry has cut electricity generation from coal by 50% in about 15 years. Manchin is right.


1. Manchin is a toad whose personal wealth is invested in the fossil fuel industry nevermind whatever the industry pays him to advocate for it. Manchin is the worst kind of moderate democrat, and he absolutely deserves to be disparaged.

2. What matters is the rate at which we're shedding emissions, not the rate at which we're cutting coal. Moving from coal to natural gas represents a reduction in emissions, but it's not enough to meet our emissions targets, hence this bill.


The first half of his sentence is right. The full sentence and implications are not right.


> The utility industry has cut electricity generation from coal by 50% in about 15 years. Manchin is right.

The problem is, by common projections such as:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/abandoning-60-per...

We need to cut it by another 60% by the end of the year. That is not happening without government intervention.

You have to understand if you aren't 70+, this is going to impact you much worse the longer we wait to make changes.


That was the easy half. Second half will be much harder to accomplish.


With cheap solar and cheap gas I don't see how it's going to be any harder than having the self control to not shoot ourselves in the foot before the coal infrastructure ages out.


I'm not a fan of propping up the coal industry, but it's hard to argue that he's fighting against his constituent's interests here. WV is coal country — he's not lying to his base.


Realistically the Democrats need to take more seats in the Senate so that people like Manchin and Sinema can be outvoted, but that's kind of impossible with the anti-democratic structure of the Senate giving disproportionate representation to the more sparsely-populated Republican-controlled states.


I agree that Democrats need more seats, but the problem isn't the structure of the senate. A decade ago Democrats had the Rust belt and many other sparsely populated states were swing states, but they decided to go out of their way to alienate rural voters with extreme and unnecessary prejudice. Doubling down on identity politics from 2015-2020 only sealed the issue. Democrats have the better policies, but they pick completely unnecessary and counterproductive fights.


> they decided to go out of their way to alienate rural voters

This is beside the point. Rural voters are overrepresented by the structure of the Senate. You could argue that Democrats have used poor political tactics, but the fact is that in a representative system they wouldn't need to kowtow to rural voters in order to get a majority.


The "right" balance of representation between rural and urban voters is a subjective question, but I think the fact that one party can't both overwhelmingly succeed and repeatedly, deliberately, and overtly offend millions of voters suggests that the balance of representation is working properly.

To put it a little differently, I want a political system that incentivizes cooperation and good behavior and disincentivizes bad divisiveness and bad behavior. In this particular case, our political system actually delivered on that. So while in many other regards our system may be broken, I don't think the balance of representation is particularly broken.


> The "right" balance of representation between rural and urban voters is a subjective question

No, in representative democracy, it isn't subjective at all. Each voter should be represented equally.

> the fact that one party can't both overwhelmingly succeed and repeatedly, deliberately, and overtly offend millions of voters

The Republican Party is damn close to doing just that. They've already basically entrenched one-party rule in states like North Carolina and Wisconsin, and you'd better believe they'll do whatever they can to accomplish this at the national level as well. Gerrymandering, vote suppression, Citizens United - these are all tilting the balance of representation further in one direction. The Senate is part of what enabled this dysfunction to spread, and fixing it should be a part of the solution.


> No, in representative democracy, it isn't subjective at all. Each voter should be represented equally.

I think this is just semantics. Whether everyone should be represented equally is still a subjective matter (irrespective of whether or not you or I agree). In particular, the constitution was designed to give each state 2 senate seats for a reason--so a few populous areas couldn't tyrannize the whole country. I think that holds today as well. And Democrats can and have worked within this system in the past, so it seems clearly workable to me.

> The Senate is part of what enabled this dysfunction to spread, and fixing it should be a part of the solution.

You say this like the constitution guarantees that Republicans get the rural vote or something. That's obviously not true, Republicans got the rural vote because Democrats gave it to them. It seems like your position is "Democrats should be free to offend rural voters without loss of power" and I don't think that's a desirable property.


My point is that Republicans are in a position to offend urban voters without loss of power, and part of that is due to the Senate, along with the other things listed. It seems like your position is that Democrats should have to compromise in order to gain more votes but that Republicans should not have to do likewise.

Democrats control government by a thread right now, after a Republican president who literally based his entire campaign on fomenting divisiveness and rejecting compromise. And now that they are out of power, Republicans are reacting, not by moderating their positions, but by passing laws to try and ensure that it will be more difficult for Democratic-leaning voters to exercise the franchise.


> My point is that Republicans are in a position to offend urban voters without loss of power, and part of that is due to the Senate

I'm not sure I agree that Republicans in general are trying to offend urban voters. The Democrats completely ignored rural and blue-collar America for a decade and then for 5 years after that, lambasted them as racists, white supremacists, and the cause of virtually every social ill and historical moral failure in our country. While many Republicans like to lambast certain liberal urban strongholds (e.g., for crime and corruption), they're not categorically attacking urbanites and certainly not to the degree or duration that Democrats savaged rural and blue collar Americans.

I certainly don't agree with "due to the Senate". You mentioned several causes: gerrymandering, vote suppression, and Citizens United. I'm pretty sure most of these largely followed the demographic shift (rural areas voting Repulican), so they certainly can't be caused by the democratic shift (although there are ongoing attempts to gerrymander and suppress votes). Moreover, CU was a Supreme Court ruling.

To be clear, I think gerrymandering, vote suppression (excluding voter ID requirements), and CU are all bad things that should be reversed, but my point is that these aren't meaningfully products of the balance of power between rural and urban areas. The fact that rural areas are powerful doesn't inherently advantage one party over the other, rather, one party chose to cede rural power to the other party, so this can't be considered evidence that the balance of power is to blame.

> Democrats control government by a thread right now, after a Republican president who literally based his entire campaign on fomenting divisiveness and rejecting compromise.

You don't have to sell me on "Republicans (and Trump in particular) have behaved badly". I'm with you. But I don't agree that we have to overhaul our constitution so that Democrats can hold power and still abuse rural and blue collar Americans. There's a path forward that gives Democrats power, affords dignity to rural and blue collar Americans, and doesn't involve overhauling our constitution and for any Democrats who aren't hell-bent on maligning rural America, that's a win-win-win.

Justifying every bad behavior by pointing out someone else's worse behavior is, while common, deflection and race-to-the-bottom mentality, and it's really killing our country. The country can't afford for the Democrats to aspire to be only 1 moral unit better than the worst caricature of Republicans. Everyone should aim for their party to be morally better than they were yesterday, not just better than they perceive the other party to be.


> The Democrats completely ignored rural and blue-collar America for a decade and then for 5 years after that, lambasted them as racists, white supremacists, and the cause of virtually every social ill and historical moral failure in our country. While many Republicans like to lambast certain liberal urban strongholds (e.g., for crime and corruption), they're not categorically attacking urbanites and certainly not to the degree or duration that Democrats savaged rural and blue collar Americans.

To put these in two separate categories is extremely disingenuous. There are plenty of Democrats still actively campaigning in rural areas and there are plenty of Republicans railing against "coastal elites." Seriously, have you never looked at the comments section on foxnews.com? A guy literally shot up a pizza parlor looking for a Democrat-run child sex ring. There is plenty of demonization being perpetrated by both sides, but the crucial fact of the matter is that, based on the results of recent national elections, one side represents a clear majority of Americans, but still struggles to maintain power. That is fundamentally anti-democratic (note the small d). I'll further note that when the Constitution was written, the population difference between the largest state and the smallest state was still within an order of magnitude; that is no longer the case.

> Justifying every bad behavior by pointing out someone else's worse behavior is, while common, deflection and race-to-the-bottom mentality, and it's really killing our country.

Sorry, but one side really has been much, much worse. I never claimed that Democrats were perfect, but you are the one who seems to be justifying an anti-democratic system just because some politicians, at some point, were mean to some country folks.


> To put these in two separate categories is extremely disingenuous. There are plenty of Democrats still actively campaigning in rural areas and there are plenty of Republicans railing against "coastal elites."

I think you're the one being disingenuous. Railing against "coastal elites" isn't an attack on urbanites, it's an attack on coastal elites. Moreover, that there are Democrats in rural areas doesn't contradict anything I've said or implied (I didn't claim or imply that rural areas are totally devoid of Democrats--that would be absurd).

> Seriously, have you never looked at the comments section on foxnews.com? A guy literally shot up a pizza parlor looking for a Democrat-run child sex ring. There is plenty of demonization being perpetrated by both sides

It doesn't make sense to rebut "Democrats should court rural voters to gain more senate seats" with "but Republicans are mean too!". I don't dispute that Republicans are meanies too! It's just not productive to weigh the sins of either side, and it's explicitly counterproductive to use "Republicans are meanies" as a reason to defer something actionable today ("Democrats courting rural voters"). This is a loser's mentality.

> Sorry, but one side really has been much, much worse. I never claimed that Democrats were perfect, but you are the one who seems to be justifying an anti-democratic system just because some politicians, at some point, were mean to some country folks.

Don't apologize, I generally agree with you that Rs are worse. My point, per my previous paragraph, is that it's counterproductive to delay progress until we get the whole country to agree about who is worse. We can just stop being dickish to rural voters--that costs nothing.

Anyway, calling the US system "anti-democratic" is absurd, and I'm not sure how to have a reasonable conversation if we're throwing out overt falsehoods. Similarly, the Democratic Party has failed rural and blue-collar Americans for decades and its politicians, pundits, and media have increasingly used rural and blue-collar Americans as the scape goat for virtually every one of our national social ills--if you reduce that to "some Democrat politicians were mean to rural voters" it betrays any appearance of good faith or reasoned participation, and I likewise don't see how this conversation can advance productively.


> Anyway, calling the US system "anti-democratic" is absurd

It was clear from the context that I was talking about the Senate bias towards rural states, not the overall system.

> I'm not sure how to have a reasonable conversation if we're throwing out overt falsehoods.

Don't worry, I think the conversation has run its course. It seems we're in broad agreement about many things. I hope you'll call your Senators and Representative to express your support for the Freedom to Vote Act (especially if they are Republicans). It may not fix the Senate issue but it's a step in the right direction.


> Don't worry, I think the conversation has run its course. It seems we're in broad agreement about many things. I hope you'll call your Senators and Representative to express your support for the Freedom to Vote Act. It may not fix the Senate issue but it's a step in the right direction.

Well-said. :)


> attack on coastal elites

I'm surprised and not surprised that you think this is fine.


I didn’t say it was fine, but admittedly coastal elites are at the very bottom of the list of people for whom I have sympathy. I imagine a heartfelt appeal to the plight of the coastal elite would be tremendously amusing.


>While many Republicans like to lambast certain liberal urban strongholds (e.g., for crime and corruption), they're not categorically attacking urbanites and certainly not to the degree or duration that Democrats savaged rural and blue collar Americans.

Republicans have been categorically attacking "city-dwellers" and murmuring about a cold civil war and reckoning from the heartland for nearly a decade. Cultural war between the disgraced and disenfranchised white rural male and urban establishment elites has literally been the defining leitmotif of Trump era populism, and that itself draws from the long-held Republican precept that only rural people possess or respect "authentic" American (read Christian and conservative) values.

Even the persecution complex Republicans have about that one time HRC said the "d" word is expressed, when it so often is, explicitly in terms of righteous anger by rural people against the urban elites. Whatever the Democrats may have done to alienate rural voters, the Republicans have more than doubled down on in their response.

And let's not even get into how often Republicans have attempted to delegitimize black urban activism as domestic terrorism. The Republican party has a long history of weaponizing fear of the Angry Black Man, and that is inextricably linked to anti-urban rhetoric.


> Cultural war between the disgraced and disenfranchised white rural male and urban establishment elites has literally been the defining leitmotif of Trump era populism

This is certainly the impression one gets from the progressive media, but I don't think it bears out considering Trump's popularity among black and minority voters is quite high among Republican candidates in the last 20+ years. Similarly, 40% of women voted for Trump over a female candidate. Further, the media made a lot of hay making Trump out to be the scourge of immigrants (invoking lots of Nazi comparisons, esp 'concentration camps' and so on), but his policies were largely a continuation of Obama-era policies and he deported fewer immigrants than Obama.

I do agree that Trumpism opposes the cultural elite and I have many strong criticisms of Trump and his followers, but the gender/racial identity framing is entirely disingenuous.

> And let's not even get into how often Republicans have attempted to delegitimize black urban activism as domestic terrorism.

First of all, Republicans didn't deligitimize "black urban activism", they delegitimized "woke progressive activism" and the two aren't the same considering only a minority of blacks fall under the "woke progressive" monicker or support any of their policies. Woke progressives (including those in the media) try very hard to give the impression that the culture war is black vs white or male vs female, but it's largely progressives (and if anything, white progressive elites) against moderate liberals and conservatives. The racial component is small and whites and blacks and men and women share far more common ground than woke progressives would have you believe.

Secondly, per my previous post, whatever bad behavior you or I attribute to Republicans, it doesn't vindicate bad behavior by Democrats (nor do our attempts to minimize or whitewash Democratic bad behavior).


"One person, one vote" is not semantics.


My specific claim is that 'how senate seats are allocated' is subjective. Whether or not proportional senate representation is the only valid form for a representative democracy is the semantic argument--it doesn't rebut my original claim.

I'm clearly not arguing that "proportional representation is semantics"--that doesn't even make sense.


I don't understand why we're talking about spending trillions so flippantly and none of it has anything to do with health care. That's the biggest issue in the US today. I've never even heard of a trillion dollar spending bill until the pandemic, now it seems almost commonplace. If you want to spend trillions, give us real change.


Healthcare in the US lags behind many first world countries, so there's room for improvement and if we can have our cake (climate) and eat it too (healthcare), I'm all for it. But the climate scientists are warning us that if we don't take action on the climate today, we're looking at civilization-collapse-level consequences in the near future. Healthcare reform pales in comparison. So this is precisely the place to spend trillions, to the extent we have to choose.

The more concerning problem is that the climate change initiatives are spending trillions on what amounts to a drop in the bucket. If we could muster the political will to pass carbon pricing legislation, we could actually generate revenue and carbon pricing is a far more effective way to combat climate change, but it's a bridge too far for fossil fuel companies (and their politicians) so we won't get that.


==I don't understand why we're talking about spending trillions so flippantly and none of it has anything to do with health care. ==

This is not true. Plenty of the $3.5 trillion is aimed at healthcare. Everything is still up for negotiation, but there are lots of provisions focused on health.

- Expanded Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing is in there [1].

- Lowering Medicare age to 60 [2].

- National paid leave [3].

- Negotiated drug prices [4].

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/08/09/1026104....

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/03/politics/lower-medicare-eligi...

[3] https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20210617.78983...

[4] https://www.rollcall.com/2021/08/12/biden-sets-drug-pricing-...


Notably, one of the big benefits from the recent move away from coal is the cleaner air and the healthier lungs that it creates (this is also true of gas, though not as much as coal). So even the energy bits are about health too.

> Economists believe that in 2030, the Clean Power Plan could save the country $20 billion in climate-related costs and deliver $14 billion to $34 billion in health benefits. The shift to energy efficiency and cleaner power will also save the average American family $85 on its electricity bills in 2030.

Similar effects are found for various similar things, like the Clean Air Act, and California's auto emission legistlation. https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/progress-cleaning...


You’re right, it does have health pieces. It’s a band aid. We need M4A!


No disagreement here, but that doesn’t happen until we elect more Senators who support m4a.


It has a TON to do with healthcare. It would expand hearing and vision coverage for medicare, likely dental too but right now not in effect for years (cause teeth are expensive which is it's own problem).

It would allow govt to negotiate drug prices which should ideally save money e.g. less tax increases needed for pay fors.

Perhaps amongst some other things like more obamacare subsidies.

But i'm sadly not super optimistic. I think biden's initial plan was huge knowing it would get negotiated down. But now we're being held hostage and it will probably get small....

I would also argue pre-k, food, expanding child tax credit are key to health too.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2021/08/30/budget-re...


I'd say healthcare is a huge issue in the US. That said, there won't be any need for healthcare if we don't do anything about climate change...


What could happen in the next 20 years that makes us not need healthcare? I haven’t heard of anything that extreme.


The fact that you're asking "what could happen within the next 20 years" when it comes to the life on our planet screams the doom of the human race to me. Jesus...


"Life on our planet"? You think that climate change is going to end life on Earth? That's crazy. Climate change is a threat to modern human civilization. Not life as a whole.


I think people dying of treatable diseases is a much more real issue to most Americans than climate change.


That's a failure of education and politics, not an indicator of what needs additional money.


How so? “Dad is dying because we can’t afford his cancer treatment” vs “in 50 years, there will be geopolitical unrest”


Not sure what that is supposed to mean? Well need healthcare regardless of climate change effects


Um, no, climate change is by far the greatest existential threat to human civilization. Civilization thrived for thousands of years without healthcare of any kind, and although inefficient and too expensive today, healthcare is a near non-issue when compared to the climate crisis. If we do nothing, in a mere couple of centuries Earth will no longer have a breathable atmosphere above 6C warming.


I don’t understand why people keep suggesting we throw more money at a broken healthcare system when we already spend more on healthcare than any other country. I agree about spending though, that $ should be allocated towards long-term economic growth(Think quantum computing, fusion energy, etc) - not these half ass short-term measures.


Spending more money isn't going to fix U.S. healthcare. The federal government already spends quite a bit on healthcare per capita compared to most countries. The U.S. has a healthcare cost problem, which is a lot trickier to fix, and is the results of a lot of obscure policies that have built up and calcified over decades.


we don't need more money in healthcare, we need less rent-seeking, bloat and graft. we spend more than any other country on healthcare for very marginal benefit.

and climate change is too amorphous of a concept to muster enthusiastic support from a broad base of americans. the framing needs to be air and water pollution, the reduction of which (as others have pointed out) has significant health benefits across the board, rather than amorphous arguments about lower the temperature and saving some animal/plant species and habitats (which we should certainly try to save too, but we save them through framing for broad support).


My partner is a civil engineer so I go to a lot of ASCE happy hours and it is common wisdom among civil engineers that for every $100 you spend on infrastructure, you get like $113 to $117 in economic activity. I also believe that almost all federal infrastructure spending has Buy American clauses.

The linked Reason article makes some libertarian arguments against Buy American clauses that if you know anything about libertarianism you can anticipate, but I am not a libertarian and personally think that more things should have Buy American clauses.

https://www.epi.org/publication/the-potential-macroeconomic-...

https://reason.org/transportation-news/analysis-of-the-bipar...


Riding on a subway car in Tokyo and then riding on one in New York makes me wish there were more exceptions to buy American.


That's because there's no debate about it. If everyone agrees on a health-care subject, then it just happens... and it happens almost immediately.

We've literally purchased so much vaccine that its free. We've pumped so much money into COVID19 that its ridiculous. Not only have we purchased free vaccines for everyone, we've also put in millions of orders of $2100 per dose monoclonal antibody treatments. That's billions-of-dollars of treatment.

It happened with a snap of the finger. We noticed we were running low on monoclonal antibodies (and they are a relatively safe and effective treatment for those who are inflicted with COVID19). Since we're running low on supply, Biden allocated money for it, and then billions poured in. A big purchase agreement was made, we'll have millions of doses ready in a month.

This process happened months ago as well (which is why we have monoclonal antibodies even with an unprecedented surge in COVID19 cases occurring across the USA). It probably will happen again as we prepare for the winter surge.

Those are also free, thanks to all the money the government thrown at it.

-----------

The fact of the matter is: free vaccines / free monoclonal antibodies / etc. etc. is not even a debate. Literally everyone agrees on it. So it happens, it happens so quickly no one even notices.

Only when a "debate" comes up will you ever hear about it in the news.

You'll also see it come up when poor planning causes a problem. We famously had the PPE shortage and needle shortage last year. (Can't inject vaccines unless you make more needles), but those were resolved rather quickly and seem to be forgotten about now. Money can't solve poor planning: people need to buy things months in advance so that they're ready in time for the emergency.


> I don't understand why we're talking about spending trillions so flippantly and none of it has anything to do with health care.

Private health insurance has its bribes paid up.

The corporations this bill has a negative impact on are pinning their hopes on Joe Manchin because they can't afford to bribe the entire Democratic party.


How much of this is just more handouts to Industry? Separating the tax payer from their hard earned money. You think they could come up with a better plan to help Joe6Pack but that would reward their rich friends. Americans can't read beyond the headline to realize they are being fleeced. Why can't we demand a better approach with money going directly to the the citizen to upgrade their home insulation, windows, install solar panels, etc. Solar Panels should be heavily subsidized along with battery storage for the homes and businesses. We shouldn't have to pay 25k to have a decent installation. More Government waste and handouts while the environment goes down the shitter.


> Americans can't read beyond the headline to realize they are being fleeced.

the cynical view is that plenty of people who can read are also economically invested in the existing system, while many people who do not read much, are fed those headlines

> More Government waste and handouts while the environment goes down the shittier

painful, true, agree


Are bipartisan bills a thing of the past? I don’t have any sources, but I thought a sizable segment of the voting public in the US favored bipartisanship. Just wishing we weren’t so polarized…. Also wishing I better understood what interests were pushing the polity towards polarized ideologies. I’m not convinced it’s a completely organic phenomenon (rather, that there are special interests benefiting from the polarization).


Everyone says they are for bipartisanship because it sounds nice but they don't seem to vote that way, as each parties representatives have drifted somewhat away from each other. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2014/06/12/political-po...

We haven't had much bipartisan support for anything since before the bush years really: https://www.businessinsider.com/animation-rise-partisanship-...

It was particularly intensified during the Obama administration where McConnell's stated intent was to pass nothing and make him a one term president, but he hardly invented the effect.


> Everyone says they are for bipartisanship

Sure, and they mean it. Its just that everyone means “both parties voting for my preferences” when they say “bipartisanship”.


The US voting public favors bipartisanship as an abstract concept. But they don't reward bipartisanship at the ballot box.


Bipartisan bills still happen, but when it comes to climate change or improving our health care system or reforming election laws or changing the tax code so the extremely wealthy pay effective rates that are in line with what the middle class or moderately wealthy pay, there just aren't any Republican votes for those things.

Bipartisanship is a nice idea, but if two parties are ideologically opposed then sometimes no compromise is possible. The options in the U.S. to move legislation then become: use budget reconciliation and 50 votes plus the vice president, get rid of (or seriously reform) the filibuster, or wait for a 60-vote Senate supermajority. The latter happened in 2009 and lasted for a couple of weeks (it took a long time for Al Franken to be seated, and then Ten Kennedy died), and may never happen again in our lifetimes.


> Are bipartisan bills a thing of the past?

Did you ask this question about all the partisan bills passed by the GOP when they were in power? And if so, was the answer not the same?

> I don’t have any sources, but I thought a sizable segment of the voting public in the US favored bipartisanship.

In the abstract, yes. In reality, politicians get punished for failing to deliver on campaign promises and the GOP obstructs campaign promise success using any means possible. So its political suicide for a Democrat to rely on that. Which leads to:

> Just wishing we weren’t so polarized…. Also wishing I better understood what interests were pushing the polity towards polarized ideologies. I’m not convinced it’s a completely organic phenomenon (rather, that there are special interests benefiting from the polarization).

Yup. Its called oligarchy and its the real government model of the US at this stage. Polarization is really just two camps of rich people fighting it out with PR/political campaigns. More polarization leads to better viewing and better base turnout.

One group of rich people who think the rich should be taxed more, that climate change should be tackled, etc.

And one group of rich people who want lower taxes and to obstruct the first group.


> In the abstract, yes. In reality, politicians get punished for failing to deliver on campaign promises and the GOP obstructs campaign promise success using any means possible.

A similar phenomenon. Polls show that everybody hates Congress, but everybody likes their own congresspeople.


Any time there was bipartisan consensus, both sides agreed to do truly awful things -- e.g. Iraq war. I don't miss "reach across the aisle" one bit. Although, now the dems are largely playing Kayfabe so eh. Lose/lose.


Honestly I was personally shocked they got the first bipartisan cars & bridges bill through with Republican votes.

That was a big one for bipartisanship, been like 20 years of presidents talked about it. Infrastructure week is here!!!

But beyond that I don't know.

McConnell explicitly said he will not allow Republican votes on the debt ceiling if Dems push for this bill.

That is INSANE imho. Even that thread is damaging.

I don't know if there is a solution given the huge differences that are growing.

From my perspective there is a not only a refusal to negotiate in good faith on the right but active attacks on Democracy. It's hard when a 30% of their constituents live in an alternate reality compared to the other 50+%. Politicians are attacking democracy and pushing dangerous racist/gender attacking social policy in their attempts to replace Trump (see DeSantis and Abbott).

A consequence of two party primary politics and the make up of the Senate. Leaders (on both sides) appease the small % that vote in a primary.

I view myself as a center left progressive (very left on climate, right on foreign policy like China) and the behavior of Republicans just seems completely incompatible with bipartisan governance or the absolute dire needs we have to at least try to address.

even on social issues, check out comments from last thread I can't believe we're still arguing over some of the beliefs that white men on this board still hold. And it seems the others feel so attacked and fragile that they lash out.

They feel the same about me/us.

I guess one way to view bipartisanship is when Rs get control back they will repeal the tax increases, while the popular expansion of child tax credits, medicare stay in place. Which just make it even more unaffordable. A kind of 'balance' but a dangerous one.


This reminds me how in Germany the "government" parties CDU and SPD kept this balanced budget meme going for a decade by cutting spending on infrastructure and now that we've made the sacrifice it's time for Germany to go into debt... for income tax decreases for the wealthy... FDP's proposal feels like a big joke. 88 billion for absolutely nothing.

https://twitter.com/AnnaGallinaHH/status/1432079457905483779...

https://twitter.com/boavista_social/status/14246286234961264...

Whenever a government goes into debt to finance infrastructure the bean counters will tell you, no, you can't waste money like that. That infrastructure will only last 20-30 years. Future generations will be burdened by the roads, public transportation and clean energy infrastructure we have built for them.

The truth is that when you are doing something like an infrastructure investment, the people that are making sacrifices are people who could have worked on something more productive. Companies don't seem to care. If they are lacking labor they simply set up business in Asia. If the infrastructure bill hires unemployed people then the present net burden could even be negative.


Wasn't the >$1T infrastructure bill a bipartisan effort?


Yeah but it only passed the Senate. House leadership won't allow a vote on it until the democrat-only $3.5T bill passes.


I wouldn't call that bet. My bet is reconciliation gets diluted to about the same spend level and they both pass.


> I thought a sizable segment of the voting public in the US favored bipartisanship

Polls consistently show people favoring bipartisanship as long as it's the other side that has to compromise: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-much-do-americans-r...


Now-day's, for Democrats, bipartisan = when moderates and progressives come together.


Interesting that there's money being set aside to convert trucks to electric. I'm assuming that means converting existing trucks and isn't just a shorthand for replacing old gas trucks with new electric trucks.

I think EV conversions of regular passenger cars should also qualify for a tax credit. (Perhaps there should be a few minimum standards for safety and usefulness.) EV conversion is rarely done now because it's a lot of work and doesn't make financial sense given the cost of parts, labor, and custom engineering. However, if the costs were less it might be more of a thing. Especially if major manufacturers started selling kits that can be installed by a mechanic in a reasonably short amount of time. This could create a lot of jobs.

Some other things I think we should be looking at are establishing some pilot projects and mechanical and electrical standards for electrified highways. EVs would be a lot more attractive and less expensive if people could drive cross-country without lugging around 800 pounds of batteries and instead could recharge at regular intervals while they're moving at freeway speeds on major interstate highways. The benefits for long-haul trucking would also be enormous.

Something else to look at is establishing high-capacity transcontinental high-voltage DC lines so we can buy and sell renewable power internationally. If we can sell surplus solar energy to Asia and Europe during our day and buy solar energy from the Sahara during our night, then we wouldn't need to spend so much on grid-scale battery arrays.


Getting laws passed via "budget reconciliation" should be stopped, it is a slippery slope. Both parties are so busy with short term thinking they are willing to erode a lot of checks and balances. (This is also how we have expanded so much power in the executive branch).


If laws can only be passed using reconciliation (because of the filibuster) then only reconcilation will create laws.


We're already at the bottom of the slope and covered in mud. This isn't the place to draw the line. Since 2012 virtually all major legislation has passed through reconciliation and it has pretty common dating back to the 90s.


what checks and balances? lol.


s/Ever/Yet/

Saves one character and leaves room for the near-certainty that there will be larger spending bills in the coming decades.


I actually just wrote my congressperson a letter about this! You can read it here:

https://glench.notion.site/A-Climate-Letter-to-My-Congresspe...




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