Dems Plead With Reporters to Be More ‘Helpful’ in Reporting on Spending Bill

Dems Plead With Reporters to Be More 'Helpful' in Reporting on Spending Bill Dems Plead With Reporters to Be More 'Helpful' in Reporting on Spending Bill President Joe Biden. (Evan Vucci/AP)

By Fran Beyer | Tuesday, 02 November 2021 05:22 PM

Democratic lawmakers Tuesday pleaded with journalists to be more "helpful" when reporting on President Joe Biden’s massive social spending program — and focus on its substance rather than jagged negotiations to get it passed.

During a news conference Tuesday, members of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee were asked whether the party needed to change its messaging so the American public could understand what’s actually in the two bills they hope to pass, the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Build Back Better bill includes nearly $2 trillion in taxes and spending aimed at boosting the economy after the COVID-19 crisis; the infrastructure and jobs measure passed by the Senate is a $1 trillion package.

At the news conference, panel co-chair Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said it would be "helpful" if reporters could write more about what’s in the bills.

His plea starts at about the 28-minute mark.

"We’re also in a really different information ecosystem than we were in even a decade ago," Lieu said. "You know, QAnon folks believe that JFK is going to magically reappear pretty soon. So that is sort of what we're dealing with.”

"And we do, in part, rely on all of you to convey the truth and actual facts," he said. "And if you all want to write about this amazing tax cut for families and children that's really transformative, that would be really helpful."

Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., then lamented the media’s focus on the process "obfuscates away from the substance" of the bills.

"Most of the coverage right now and the better part of the last few months has been on process, which of course, makes sense because we are engaged in a complex legislative process to get these bills across the finish line," he said. "But that, in some respects obfuscates away from the substance of these incredibly important, consequential pieces of legislation that will have lasting impact on the American people and American families."

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said the committee plans to message with "simplicity and repetition about all the good, big, transformative, bold things that we have done for the American people.

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