Moore: Democrats “Better Deal” Rings Hollow

Monday, July 31, 2017
Russell J. Moore GoLocal MINDSETTERâ„¢

Charles Schumer
Here’s the good news: national Democrats apparently understand that simply being the party of resistance and obstruction isn’t going to improve America. It also isn’t going to win them elections.

They’re not Donald Trump. Ok, we get it. So what do they have? Apparently, not much.

National Democrats introduced their new policy plan dubbed “A Better Deal”, which, presumably is going to highlight that their legislative priorities and agenda is superior to that Republicans. One might think that that’s en easy hurdle to clear. But apparently, nothing is easy for the Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) recently held a press conference and released talking points and ran an Op-Ed in the New York Times to roll out the Democrat’s priorities.

Unfortunately, their policy priorities are either underwhelming, ineffective, or hypocritical.

A Real Alternative?

For instance Schumer claims that Democrats want to reduce the price of prescription drugs.

“Right now, there is nothing to stop vulture capitalists from egregiously raising the price of lifesaving drugs without justification,” wrote Schumer.

That’s a great and laudable goal. The problem is, Democrats haven’t done anything to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Earlier this year, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) introduced legislation to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. This bill would allow Americans to have access to much cheaper prescription drugs, since they’re sold cheaper in Canada.

The problem is 13 Democrats, including potential 2020 Presidential candidate and supposed progressive Cory Booker joined a majority of Republicans in shooting down the measure, which failed by a 52-46 vote.

The argument against the measure is that the drugs cannot be regulated since they’re coming from another country with its own version of the Food and Drug Administration. But there are seldom, if any, ever reports about harmful prescription drugs from Canada.

Campaign Cash Rules

The real story is that Democrats are susceptible to listening to lobbyists since money talks. Booker, for instance, has received over $250,000 from people connected to the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2009, when the Democrats were busy passing Obamacare, they didn’t bother making it legal to import prescription drugs from Canada or allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices (which Schumer now says he wants to do) because they were too afraid of alienating Big Pharma.

The Democratic Minority Leader inadvertently highlights the real problem with our government--too many of our politicians are making decisions based on what benefits their campaign financiers instead of their constituents. That’s why the real reforms we need are ethical reforms like campaign finance reform at all levels of government.

Schumer also offered idea including strengthening antitrust laws and enforcing the ones currently on the books. He also calls for a tax credit for companies to train workers, citing the so-called skills gap (which is really just employer spin to allow them to not pay people higher wages.)

The ideas are solid, but they’re hardly the policies that will markedly improve the lives of the underemployed.

Hollow Rhetoric 

And who can trust the Democrats to make good on a promise like lowering the cost of prescription drugs when they didn’t do it when they had the chance?

I guess the first step for the Democrats to improve their electoral fortunes is to first admit that they have a problem.

But problems demand solutions--not vagaries and double talk. Sorry to break it to Democrats, but it’s going to take more than just not being Trump to win elections.

Russell J. Moore has worked on both sides of the desk in Rhode Island media, both for newspapers and on political campaigns. Send him email at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @russmoore713.

  • Gina Raimondo 

    RI Governor 

    "Rhode Island is making strong progress to provide our people with the education and job training they need to be successful and to expand access to affordable, quality health care to virtually everyone in our state. 

    President Trump's budget betrays Rhode Islanders by giving huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans while drastically reducing federal funding for vital programs that create jobs, raise wages, and protect low-income Americans. 

    Even as we analyze President Trump's budget in the coming days to determine its specific impacts on Rhode Island, I appreciate the members of Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation for their leadership and advocacy, and I join them in calling on their colleagues in Washington, D.C. to stop the Trump administration from making massive cuts to health care, public schools, affordable housing, and other programs that Rhode Islanders rely upon."

  • Jim Langevin 

    U.S. Congressman

    “In March, President Trump released a budget outline that I strongly condemned for its drastic cuts to programs that help everyday Americans. Unfortunately, the President’s full budget proposal continues these harmful policies by gutting programs that invest in our economy, create jobs and provide crucial assistance to families across the country. 

    This proposal slashes funding for education, food assistance and health care for low-income seniors, children and people with disabilities. It makes cuts to worker training, environmental protection, and investments in medical research and advanced manufacturing. These are not mere luxuries, but programs that make meaningful differences in the lives of Rhode Islanders. 

    Congress must reject this cynical and misguided budget. Instead, we should work together in a bipartisan manner, as we did on the recently passed 2017 funding bill, to find a balanced approach to funding priorities that will support families, promote economic growth and provide for our national security.”  

  • David Cicilline

    U.S. Congressman

    “If a budget is a statement of your priorities and values, then Donald Trump’s budget shows he doesn’t understand the challenges facing honest, hardworking Rhode Islanders. This is a budget written by the wealthiest Americans for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But it’s a setback for the middle class. It makes life harder for anyone who’s trying to punch a ticket to the middle class.”

    Donald Trump has already proposed a huge tax cut for billionaires. But the budget he released today says everyone else is on their own. This budget eliminates hundreds of millions of dollars for job creation. It zeroes out funding for workforce training and good-paying manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island. And it makes it even harder for young people to succeed by cutting teacher training, eliminating afterschool funding, and making it harder to pay off student loans.”

    This budget does nothing to address Rhode Island’s crumbling infrastructure. It eliminates the TIGER grant program, which is critical to supporting local infrastructure projects like the new commuter rail station in Pawtucket. And it cuts funding for public transit by $928 million.”

    And most worrisome of all, this budget makes our towns and cities less safe. It actually cuts funding for firefighters. It cuts billions from the EPA and other resources to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. And it slashes $978 million from the Army Corps of Engineers – meaning Rhode Island will be less prepared for hurricanes and have fewer resources to protect the quality of our waterways.”

    Plain and simple, this is not a budget that any Member of Congress should be comfortable supporting. Along with my colleagues in the House Democratic Leadership, I will do everything I can to reverse these devastating cuts and shape a budget that invests in the future of our country and puts honest, hardworking families first.”

  • Sheldon Whitehouse 

    U.S. Senator

    “This budget is reckless, plain and simple. The President proposes massive cuts to Medicaid, breaking yet another campaign promise. He seeks to decimate the federal government’s central command in the battle against the opioid crisis affecting communities from Burrillville to Westerly. He pursues tens of billions of dollars in cuts to student loans and loan forgiveness programs.

    His plan would slash funding for research into life-saving cures; lay waste to endowments that support Rhode Island’s world-class cultural institutions; hamstring the EPA so big polluters can poison our air and water; and weaken NOAA, sapping critical resources for coastal economies like Rhode Island’s. The list goes on.

    These senseless, irresponsible choices serve one purpose: to pave the way for tax cuts for the very wealthiest.  The good news is that this extremist proposal will go nowhere in the Senate. I look forward to moving past this political stunt of a budget and working on one the American people will support.”



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