Bad news can be good news

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U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) departs a meeting of Senate Democrats prior to a delayed vote in the U.S. Senate to suspend the federal government's $28.4 trillion debt ceiling, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 6, 2021. Photo by Leah Millis/Reuters.

For Democrats negotiating the Build Back Better plan, bad news is good news: because every disagreement means they’re a step closer to passage. But to get there, they’ll have to combine changes that satisfy both Joe Manchin and many Democrats’ least favorite Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema.

What’s driving their motivations to block the bill from passing? Where are the hard asks? Could Sinema just be trying to fill up her campaign coffers by protecting big business interests, and what happens if she gets primaried? We discuss.

Next: climate action policies are a major plank of Biden’s agenda and there’s a lot of agreement that it’s needed. Are these the right policies? Will they achieve the benchmarks in the Paris agreement, and Biden’s goals? This bill earmarks lots of money for green infrastructure like electric vehicle charging and renewable-friendly power grid upgrades. 

But is it too ambitious a plan? Do voters care about an issue whose impacts are so long-term and diffuse? Are climate subsidies the right tool to make the most impact? Joseph Majkut joins the show to analyze the bill and what it could mean for the United States and the rest of the world. 

Also in this bill: a child care plan, which has been under scrutiny this week. Does it have too many of the same features and pitfalls as the Affordable Care Act? Federal quality requirements add cost – and as with the ACA, many states are likely to be uncooperative in administering this Democrat-designed benefit. Should the government simply give money to families and let them decide how to spend it? And does the plan ignore parents who want to stay at home with their kids?

Finally: friendly reminder that vaccines make you safer, not immortal; when your pandemic hairdo is a don’t, and why you should consider the magic of radio if you’d rather be watching the game instead of driving Josh around LA.



  • Joseph Majkut - Director, Energy Security and Climate Change Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies - @JosephMajkut


Sara Fay, Nisha Venkat