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When Democrats first set out to expand the social safety net, they envisioned a piece of legislation as transformational as what the party has achieved in the 1960s. In the process, they hoped that they’d win back the working-class voters the party had since lost.

But now that they’re on the brink of reaching a deal, the question is whether the enormous cuts and compromises they’ve made will make it impossible to fulfill either ambition.

By insisting on low means testing for benefits, Manchin is handing Republicans a powerful weapon: telling the middle class the Democrats only favor the poor.

23-min podcast
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