Lauren Moye, FISM News
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has made it clear that she wants to see the progressive Build Back Better legislation pass at any cost, including forcing it with the use of a presidential executive order if the democratic process continues to impede her vision of what America needs. Jayapal called on President Joe Biden to “use executive action” in a Dec. 26 Washington Post op-ed that largely relied on mischaracterization and emotional appeal to drive her points.
Jayapal began her opinion piece with her rendition of the history of the bill, including the well-documented internal fighting between progressive representatives and Democratic senators Joe Manchin (W. Va) and Krysten Sinema (Wash.). Because Democrats intended to pass the legislation along party lines as a budget reconciliation, these holdout voters threw a huge wrench in the plans.
“Despite that, we must move forward. The president’s agenda is even more urgent today,” Jayapal wrote, as if Manchin is a true outlier whose decision selfishly kills the bill against the wishes of the majority. In reality, an NPR/Marist poll from earlier in December found that only 41% of respondents supported the massive spending bill. This means that many Americans are skeptical of the legislation and are at risk of their wishes being disregarded through a tyrannical act if Jayapal’s suggestion is followed.
Yet Jayapal doesn’t seem interested in balancing her wishes against the wishes of a significant chunk of U.S. voters, as if certain demographics should have their votes weighted more heavily. She even acknowledged the lack of bipartisan support and thin support from independent voters later in her op-ed. She wrote, “People of color, women and young people helped deliver the White House and Congress to Democrats, but their needs were consistently delayed in search of bipartisanship.”
This emotional appeal mischaracterizes the greater concern of rising inflation, which reached a 39-year high earlier this month. Inflation and the $2T price tag is the consistent reason Manchin has provided for not supporting Build Back Better, and it is a problem with potentially devastating effects on the majority of Americans, including people of color, women, and young people.
Jayapal positioned the need for the Build Back Better act against the backdrop of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which she says has “once again disrupted people’s ability to work” and therefore hindered their ability to care for children, elders, and medical needs.
Omicron, while driving a recent surge in infections, is also known for milder symptoms, which makes it the center of debate over how big a threat it poses. Most recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chose to halve its isolation and quarantine guidelines from 10 days to 5 days to “balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses,” in the words of CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Near the end of her op-ed, Jayapal pivoted from attacking Manchin and Sinema to providing her solution for the lack of support: a presidential executive order. Jayapal wrote, “At the same time, we are calling on the president to use executive action to immediately improve people’s lives. Taking executive action will also make clear to those who hinder Build Back Better that the White House and Democrats will deliver for Americans.”
The congresswoman’s blatant lack of concern for the voices and votes of conservative Americans is made even more clear one paragraph later when she states, “Democrats must prove that their voices and their votes matter, and that we can produce tangible economic assistance.”