Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: The Budget Bill Scramble and Hiram Rhodes Revels


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

The Budget Bill Scramble: If you read last week’s article, you may remember our discussion on cutting President Biden’s infamous budget bill (if you haven’t, you might want to pop over there real quick and come back). I mentioned how the Biden administration, whose campaign has promoted the “Build Back Better” agenda, and Democrats alike have been trying to hastily come up with a policy bill adhering to progressives and moderates, but time is running out and they need to come up with something by the end of the week. 

You may be wondering, what’s the rush? NPR has the answer. Pressure is on as Progressive Democrats refuse to support funds in the bill for roads, bridges, and broadband until the social policy package is secured. Further, the Senate approved the scaled down $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, originally $3.5 trillion, over the summer. If the Administration and Democratic leaders can create a bill honoring the President’s promises while appealing to important moderates such as Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, the anticipated bill could arrive on Biden’s desk in the next couple of days (Walsh).

CNBC explains that as Biden “prepares to depart on Thursday for a week of summits in Europe,” Democratic leaders are rushing to finalize a framework for their domestic policy bill. If achieved, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote to sign it into law this week, if approved (Wilkie). NPR reports that on Monday, Biden furthered the probability of Pelosi’s goal when discussing his successful meeting with Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the weekend. Trimming programs established in the bill is not a simple task, and Pelosi details that “90% of the bill” has been agreed to besides the tax portion of the board spending package (Walsh). So, what have they agreed on exactly?

Decreasing further effects of climate change has been a major goal for Biden during his Presidency, promoted heavily during his campaign. When he initially created the bill, he included the Clean Energy Performance Program, which encourages utility companies to use greener technologies and fines those who refuse. If it was put into action, he believed it could majorly contribute to meeting his goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. Spoiler alert: this is not happening. Manchin, representing a coal reliant state, refutes this program and it has therefore been dropped from the bill. Although the program was a vital aspect to the President’s climate agenda, Pelosi reassures that there are other options to reach the promoted goal. With the COP26 climate change conference coming up in Scotland, Democratic leaders are discussing various proposals that Manchin will support to demonstrate that America is making efforts towards renewable energy (Walsh).

Child tax credit, an aspect of spring’s COVID-19 relief package, was intended to last four more years if Biden’s original plan was to be approved, as it was responsible for dropping child poverty rates. Although many Democrats pushed for the same goal and were certain it would last based on its popularity and impact, the credit is now to last for only one year. Paid family leave has been scaled back from 12 weeks to 4 weeks, many Democrats vocalizing their fight for more. Speaking of diminishing the extent of elements in the plan, three major health care programs called the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid will all remain in the bill but dialed down (Walsh).

There have been other major changes to the bill such as getting rid of free community college and increasing corporate tax, progressives and moderates giving up on certain expectations from each side (Walsh). The alterations within the new bill will impact every American, and Democrats are working together to get in on Biden’s desk to be signed and approved by the end of the week.


Immerse into the Diverse: In order to understand the vitality of diversity in the 21st century, we have to look “far” into history, though today we are only looking 150 years ago. The New York Public Library explains that in 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first African American Senator and Congressman, elected by the state legislature of Mississippi (“Hiram Rhodes Revel”). Born in 1827 in North Carolina, the official senate website explains that Revels was a free man and the son of a Baptist preacher, receiving an education at an African American woman run private school. In 1845, he became a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and attended Knox College in Illinois to study theology. In the 1850s, he preached to free and enslaved men and women and secretly helped fugitive slaves, going from pastor to Union army chaplain once the Civil War began. He even created schools for freed slaves in Missouri, ending up in Mississippi once the Civil war ended (Senate Historical Office). 

His first elected position was as alderman in the town he settled in, Natchez, Mississippi and won the election to the state senate “as one of the 35 African Americans elected to the Mississippi state legislature that year” (Senate Historical Office). When Mississippi withdrew from the Union in 1861, two Senate seats were vacated by Albert Brown and future President Jefferson Davis and remained empty. In 1870, the new Mississippi state legislature wanted to elect a Black man to fulfill Brown’s term for one year and a white man to fulfill the other seat for the full 5 years. Black legislators, who believed that electing a Black man would “be a weakening blow against color line prejudice,” agreed to the deal. The state legislature, three days and seven ballots later, voted Hiram Revels into Brown’s seat on January 20, 1870 with a whopping vote of 85 to 15 (“REVELS, Hiram Rhodes | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives”). 

Revels described himself as “a representative of the State, irrespective of color,” but also a representative of freedmen (“REVELS, Hiram Rhodes | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives”). While on the Senate, he played a major role in many historical movements such as fighting for education for Black Americans and civil and political rights, as well as opposing racial segregation (Senate Historical Office). One of his, according to him, greatest accomplishments was successfully appealing to “the War Department on behalf of black mechanics from Baltimore who were barred from working at the U.S. Navy Yard” (“REVELS, Hiram Rhodes | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives”). After the Senate, he served as the first president of Mississippi’s Alcorn University, the oldest U.S. public historic Black land-grant institution, and remained true to his religious lifestyle. He died in 1901 at 73 years old due to a paralytic stroke in Mississippi while at a religious conference (“Hiram Rhodes Revels”).

Although more than a 100 years ago, Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels’ impacts as the first African American Senator cannot be undermined, and his government stance and actions during his term created vital pushes for future progress that have impacted us and the Black community today.

Works Cited

Senate Historical Office. “U.S. Senate: Hiram Revels: First African American Senator.” United

States Senate, 6 Jan. 2021,


Walsh, Deirdre. “Here’s What We Know Is in the Scaled Back Biden Budget Bill and What Got

Cut.” NPR, 25 Oct. 2021,



Wilkie, Christina. “Democrats Trim Biden’s Social Spending Plan as They Rush to Strike a Deal

This Week.” CNBC, 25 Oct. 2021,



“Hiram Rhodes Revels.” New York Public Library,


“REVELS, Hiram Rhodes | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives.” History, Art

& Archives: United Sates House of Representatives,