Carter misleadingly vowed that PBJI would provide tax relief, "strong incentives to keep families together ...
Based on what Carter said about the bill, PBJI received positive press coverage.
Carter sold PBJI as comprehensive reform that would bring widespread tax relief, though he knew the opposite to be true.
Three key congressional Democrats, House Ways and Means Chairman Ullman, Louisiana Senator Russell Long, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Moynihan, became increasingly unhappy with PBJI. To make matters worse, Carter did not properly stroke congressional egos.
Due to Carter's lackluster rapport with Congress, key supporters he needed to pass PBJI were needlessly rankled.
In fairness to Carter, achieving a consensus of support for PBJI from the Senate Finance Committee was a difficult task.
His advocacy of PBJI was absolutely crucial for the bill to have any chance of becoming law.
When Moynihan introduced PBJI to the Senate, he described it as "the most important piece of social legislation since the New Deal." (78) Despite the clear and present need to mollify Moynihan, the administration did anything but.
In announcing his opposition to the administration's welfare proposal, Moynihan unleashed a scathing broadside against PBJI. In his testimony to the House Special Committee on Welfare Reform, the administration's former "point man" for PBJI called the bill "grievously disappointing." (82) Claiming that he had finally "reviewed" the legislation, Moynihan not only found it lacking but complained that it ruined the "climate for welfare reform." (83) Citing opposition to PBJI from interest groups ranging from the AFLCIO to the Congressional Black Caucus, Moynihan claimed that the president was spoiling a unique opportunity to build a broad coalition which could pass a bill.
Eizenstat counseled the president that Moynihan's opposition did not "call for any precipitate action on our part." (85) However, as PBJI was now opposed by Long and Moynihan the legislation was in trouble.
Carter needed the political cover of "comprehensive" welfare reform to pass the expensive jobs package contained within PBJI. However, many congressional liberals complained that the bill's expenditures for jobs and full employment was not enough.
With Carter's highly anticipated welfare reform bill floundering and the economy stumbling, PBJI faced additional criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.