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The battle playing out among Democrats on Capitol Hill is allegedly between progressives and moderates. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are threatening to sink the White House’s proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation budget by either withdrawing their support or dramatically slashing its scope. New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer, meanwhile, has been trying to speed ahead with a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which, if passed, would have the same result of tanking the reconciliation bill by removing moderates’ incentive to vote for it. Meanwhile, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are being called bomb-throwers for lining up behind the White House’s agenda and for refusing to vote for infrastructure until there’s a deal on reconciliation.
To hear Sinema, Manchin, and Gottheimer tell it, they’re a voice for sober rationality in a party careening toward the extreme left, bravely standing up for the forgotten majorities who want to keep corporate taxes low and spending under control. But what does it mean to be a moderate in the era of the climate crisis?
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