Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) conducts a news conference

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) conducts a news conference outside the Capitol to reintroduce the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Mondaire Jones Warns Against Watering Down Human Infrastructure Proposals

The New York Democrat is advocating universal programs, not means-tested ones, for programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Andrea Germanos

Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones on Sunday criticized efforts to include means-testing requirements on programs in his party's reconciliation package as an approach that is not cost-effective and that could exclude those most in need.

The vocal opposition to means-testing from Jones and other progressive Democrats came amid a push by conservative Democrats including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to pare back the climate and safety net package by imposing income limits on proposals like Medicare expansion.

"When you force people to prove that they qualify for a social program," Jones (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC's Ali Velshi, "you have to create processes and an entire administration to then verify eligibility."

"We know that that is overly burdensome for the neediest Americans, people who... can't obtain the documentation they need," he said.

A further problem, Jones continued, is that people "may be intimidated by the countless pages that they have to complete in many instances—in many instances complex pages."

"We know that universal programs are popular," he said. "There's a reason why Social Security and Medicare have withstood the test of time despite the best efforts by Republicans to roll those programs back."

Jones echoed some of the arguments against means-testing he made in a Washington Post joint op-ed last week with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

"For [President Joe] Biden’s agenda to meet its potential, we must heed the lessons of the past," Jones and Porter wrote. "That means making our investments universal."

"We can’t, as some have insisted, weaken the proposals by 'means-testing' them: restricting benefits only to those who meet arbitrary income requirements and who have the ability to prove they do."

In that joint op-ed, as well as in his interview with Velshi, Jones pointed to 2011 research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research that found "meanstesting is not an effective route for reducing the cost of Social Security" and could in fact raise the costs of the program.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·

Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·

Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo