HOOSER: Republicans and Conservative Dems join hands to block BBB

Because of a handful of conservative Democrats and 100% of the Republicans in Congress, 62 million Medicare recipients will not be receiving help with their dental and vision needs this coming year.

Instead, 62 million kupuna, our parents and grandparents living in what is supposed to be their golden years, are being denied this little bit of extra help because 2 Democrats in the Senate and another 6 to 9 in the House, together with their Republican allies would rather protect the Elon Musk billionaires of the world.

This same unholy alliance between conservative “D’s” and Republicans have also managed to deny 4 million high school graduates the opportunity to attend a community college or trade school regardless of their ability to pay.

In theory, if the Democrats stuck together, there are sufficient votes to get the job done but unfortunately, that’s not the case (pun intended).

Yes, the cold hard truth is that passage of the Build Back Better bill has been repeatedly blocked, and provisions such as those cited above, repeatedly weakened by the actions of a small group of House and Senate conservatives Democrats including Hawai‘i Congressman Ed Case (CD1).

Not surprisingly, Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele (CD2) who represents Kaua‘i and the neighbor-islands, and both Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Mazie Hirono are all enthusiastic supporters of the measure and have been fighting hard to keep it strong.

This is a critical week for President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. The House of Representatives is poised to pass this $1.75 trillion dollar measure, that while significantly weakened by this small conservative faction of Congressional Democrats – is still a potentially historic accomplishment.

What exactly is in it?

• Universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds.

• Capping childcare costs at 7% of income for parents earning up to 250% of a state’s median income.

• 4 weeks of federal paid parental, sick or caregiver leave.

• A one-year extension of the expanded Child Tax Credits which has cut child poverty in America by 25%.

• New hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, including coverage for a new hearing aid every 5 years.

• A $35 per-month limit on the cost of insulin under Medicare, and capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year.

• Raising the state/local tax deduction limit from $10,000 to $80,000.

• $500 billion to combat climate change – The largest-ever federal investment in clean energy.

• $150 billion for affordable housing.

What’s next?

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill by the end of this week and pass it over to the Senate. Whether or not this vote actually occurs is up to Congressman Ed Case and a handful of House conservatives.

Under the guise of being “fiscally conservative”, they are demanding proof that the proposal be “paid for” and will not increase the federal debt. Though President Biden and others have assured them that this will ultimately be the case, they continue to stall passage awaiting the “final reports” from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

It’s important to note that Case and the others did not make this same demand when approving the recently passed massive infrastructure bill, nor did they insist on this when approving military spending totaling $8 trillion over the same period.

There’s still a long way to go. After the House finally passes it over, the Senate will then likely make further changes and the sausage-making will continue.

If the Build Back Better bill is important to you – I encourage you to contact both Congressman Ed Case, and Congressman Kaiali‘i Kahele today.

Representative Ed Case

(808) 650-6688


Kaiali‘i (Kai) Kahele

(808) 746-6220


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.

  1. ManuMaui November 17, 2021 3:54 am Reply

    As a representative you get more visibility to the complexities of government decisions yet you post an extremely simplified opinion of the bill. I would hope we all agree that seniors need more financial protections for their health but you ignore how complex this bill really is. You should know that phrases like ‘capping costs’ means money must be moved from one place to another to make up for the difference. If you simply ‘capped costs’ you would not generate enough money to provide the service you are referring to. The bill has over 2500 pages, do you really think you did a good job reviewing it?

  2. randy kansas November 17, 2021 5:16 am Reply

    my parents worked 2-3 jobs to put 3 kids through college…we all worked in college….our whole family worked !! anything worth having, requires work…enough with the free stuff…

  3. YuCalJoe November 17, 2021 5:46 am Reply

    The “Build Back Better” is a plan from evil people. It must be defeated. It is filled with lies and deceit, as is this article. Don’t fall for it.

  4. Dilligaf November 17, 2021 8:54 am Reply

    Gary likes inflation. Gary likes people without children to pay for other peoples children to be watched and go to school. How about if you have a child,expecting others to pay for it is ridiculous. How about personal resposability Gary. Don’t hear you talking about kids in cages unless it is political. The Democrats have more children in cages than Trump ever had put in obamas cages. If you are affilitaed with either party you are the problem.

    1. Steve Martin November 20, 2021 10:47 am Reply

      Dilligav I personally know people who had children so they could collect more money monthly from the system. Fact

  5. biggovernment November 17, 2021 9:31 am Reply

    What a bunch of pap and ongoing scare tactics by Democrats. You create a bill that is full of horrible waste and pork for you and your liberal progressive friends, like opening the border to all, or must be 100% solar in 3 years, no more cows after 2030 because they fart, and then you slip in dental for seniors to make it sound good. Why would anybody vote for anything you come up with when such huge portions of your “bills” will break the Country and kill freedom?

  6. Doug November 17, 2021 9:54 am Reply

    Inflation is already through the roof here in Hawaii, and you want to pump even more money into the economy and drive it even higher? Ask yourself what you are paying for food, gas, and everything else recently and then ask if you want to pay even more! So much money already pumped into the economy due to the pandemic and now you want to raise the national debt even more? Well, I guess the answer is to print even more money to cover BBB and drive inflation even higher. Free money doesn’t do you any good when the cost of gas is $10 a gallon!!!!!

  7. KauaiEd November 17, 2021 12:25 pm Reply

    Yet Medicare is set to go insolvent in 2026 and this was before the Trustees report took COVID into account. Mr Hooser has a math problem. $30 trillion in debt is the equivalent of 30,000 billionaires. Unfunded liabilities are over $70 trillion so add another 70,000 billionaires. The problem is politician promises and the size of government. The audited financial statements of the USA are supplied to the President, Congress and the Treasury. The auditors report (GAO) has clearly stated for over a decade that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path.

  8. Zchechuan November 17, 2021 1:05 pm Reply

    This bill points out general concerns of which neither Kai Kahele or Ed Case is in a position to change anything. The bill points to something of a day job. The representatives can do nothing because they are not in charge of America’s healthcare system. Useless babbling just li this bill. 2500 pages of it.

  9. manawai November 17, 2021 1:14 pm Reply

    This from the brain of someone who failed in private business and had to go work for the government to survive. He even arranged to have the taxes he collected from his customers and pocketed FORGIVEN. Can we trust a single word from him? Nope!

  10. RSW November 17, 2021 5:18 pm Reply

    You think that this BBB bill will be a positive for the people the political hacks (you included) pretend to want to help? As usual you talk as if you understand monetary theory and economics. You harbor the misguided notion that printing more paper money is all that’s needed to make people better off. Money is like any other commodity; if you flood the market with more fiat currency all it will do is become more and more worthless.
    Perhaps you’ve heard of the Wiemar Republic hyperinflation of the 1920s? In 1923 one American dollar was worth 4,210,500,000,000 German marks. Same thing is now happening in Venezuela…the government there is now printing 1,000,000 peso notes because all the smaller denominations are worthless. Don’t think this can’t happen in the USA.
    There is a very simple formula that perhaps even you can use to see what happens when you print more and more fiat currency in the face of stagnating production.
    MxV = PxQ (M is the money supply; V is the velocity of money i.e. once received how quickly people spend it; P is the price level and Q is the quantity of goods and services aka: real GDP)
    As any eighth grader should be able to see that if you inflate M while Q remains the same (or because of covid fraudulent shuttering of the economy, actually falls) the only way the formula balances is for P to increase (as it’s doing right now) or people hoard money and V falls.
    Wake up Gary, your utopia of massive fed spending by creating money is a disaster sponsored by ignorance. And, it will severely punish the very people you pretend to care about.

  11. Doug November 18, 2021 9:28 am Reply

    And here’s another thought Gary, how about we fix Social Security and Medicare so they don’t run out of money in a couple of years BEFORE we blow a bunch of money on more free stuff! Doesn’t do much good to add dental and vision to Medicare if the whole thing is underfunded. Joe Manchin nailed it when he brought this up in an recent interview.

  12. whatarevoltingdevelopment... November 18, 2021 9:54 am Reply

    2 parties, both worthless, both dangerous, one more worthless than the other, one more dangerous than the other… what a revolting development this is!

  13. Federalist101 November 27, 2021 4:13 pm Reply

    Gary, really?? I love your list as a tax paying citizen. How about we take 80% of your income and pay it to the scofflaws you apparently want to help. This is one of the most idiotic articles you’ve written. The more you give money, benefits, etc. etc away the more you will have people sitting on the bench. They need to participate. This country has spent trillions since LBJ and the poverty rate as a percentage has not budged. Same in 1960 as it is currently. For instance, our people defined as impoverished equals the European middle class. Our standard of living in the U.S. is much better than any other country.

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