Background Briefing: August 10, 2021


19 Senate Republicans Vote For an Infrastructure Bill the House Will Put on Hold

We begin with the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the senate today with 19 Republicans joining all the Democrats and speak with David Dayen, the Executive Editor of The American Prospect and author of Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power. He joins us to discuss his latest article at The American Prospect, “Infrastructure Summer: The Bipartisan Bill Is Step One of Many” and assess how much the bill was weighted in favor of Republican priorities over Democratic ambitions. We also look into how the bill will be greeted in the House at the end of the month where progressives are already indicating they are underwhelmed and want to vote for the $3.5 trillion package first while centrists who want to vote on the bipartisan bill first, will be happy to bring home the bacon in terms of jobs and infrastructure investment.


Biden Celebrates the Bill’s High-Paying Union Jobs

Then with President Biden applauding the bill today and referring many times to the high-paying union jobs it will bring to working Americans, we discuss how much it will be a boost to unions since Biden is the most-pro-union president since FDR. Joining us is Steven Greenhouse, who was a reporter for The New York Times where he covered labor and the workplace for nineteen years and is the author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor. We discuss his latest article at The New York Times, “A Labor Leader Is Gone, and the Road Ahead for Unions is Steep.”


Time Wasted and the Urgent Need to Decarbonize

Then finally we assess how much time has been lost by governments in facing the looming crisis of climate change, in particular here in the U.S. where the last four years were not only wasted, but were steps backwards from the urgent challenges made clear by yesterday’s alarming IPCC report. Joining us is Joel Clement, an Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs who was previously director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of Interior where he resigned in protest because of Trump’s determination to kill any initiative to deal with climate change.