We all know about the bipartisan deal to fund the government through FY 2015 that still needs Congressional approval.

We know that this deal omits an extension of Unemployment Insurance.

We know that the largest obstacle facing this deal is House Republicans, in particular the government shutdown/repeal Obamacare crazies.

Now to pivot for a moment.

We know that Democrats have a problem with voter turnout in midterm elections.

And we know that the number one issue of voters in practically any election is the economy. Even though Wall Street has been humming along nicely since the recession, the working class have not seen much of a recovery yet. So it is a safe bet that having a clear vision to address the economy will be a factor in 2014, as well.

Taken together, I come to this conclusion.

This budget deal offers the perfect opportunity to start pushing for an actual jobs bills. But not just any jobs bill, a Progressive jobs bills, in the style of the Back-to-Work Budget, a plan proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that would have created an estimated 7 million jobs.

In other words, a jobs bill that, unlike many other jobs bills, is one that repudiates trickle-down economics.

Adding Back-to-Work style legislation could be the leverage that gets this budget deal passed, maybe even with the EUC extension. It would also set up the Progressive answer for the economy on which Democrats can run in 2014. One that shows the political viability of economic populism.

It already looks like House Republicans are ready to gum up the works, which is no surprise. In other words, House leadership might need many Democratic votes to pass the budget, either way.

Extending Unemployment insurance is one of the tools being proposed to put pressure on House Republicans to pass the budget deal.

Why stop there?

Progressives should not stop at just extending the EUC. As part of the negotiations over the budget deal, they should include a plan that actually creates jobs. After all, unemployment is one of the best social safety nets we have, but what do the unemployed want more than unemployment insurance? Employment.

It would be all the better to be a progressive jobs bill, instead of one watered down by bipartisanship. These bipartisan bills were supposedly more politically viable, but guess what? They're not. If we're going to face Republican obstruction either way, it might as well be for a goal that really exemplifies our true values. One of the few ways we lose to the Tea Party.

We have that bill already, proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus as the Back-to-Work Budget.

Too pie-in-the-sky? Doesn't stop all the fawning over the Ryan budget. The only thing is not enough people are getting to hear about the other side of the coin. And the problem is that they might like what they haven't been hearing.

Extending the EUC is a reasonable request to add to the budget negotiations. But if Boehner isn't willing to put it up for a vote, they might as well up the ante: add a progressive jobs bill to the demands. Compared to that, extending EUC would be a far easier compromise for all to swallow.

But even if the Back-to-Work doesn't come to fruition this time, now it'll be out there as the platform for Progressives to rally behind, at an opportune time in the run-up to the 2014 primaries. And as kos said, when the base comes out to vote, we win. An economic platform that includes a Progressive, no, an Aggressively-Progressive plan to create jobs, will get them out there.

The Republican Party took a hit with the electorate over the government shutdown, but it's not clear if the negative trends will continue all the way until next November. Standing in the way of a budget deal that avoids similar shutdowns could keep those trends going. So can cutting unemployment benefits and SNAP. And so can standing in the way of creating jobs for Americans.

So while the Republican Party keeps coming up with ways to hurt the working class Americans, the Democratic Party will show that it can keep up, by instead, coming up with ways to help the working class.

For example, getting them back to work.

Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 06:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Keynesian Kossacks.

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