On Saturday, the House Budget Committee advanced the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion American Families Plan as party leaders set their sights on teeing up the package for a vote in the lower chamber this coming week. House panel advances $3.5T spending bill.
The Democratic-led committee passed the package in a 20-17 party-line vote on Saturday afternoon, piecing together the chunks of legislation approved by 13 House committees earlier this month that make up the spending plan, an essential cornerstone of President Biden’s economic agenda.
A lone Democrat, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) joined Republicans in voting against advancing the legislation, citing concerns about the pace at which his colleagues are moving to advance the spending plan. [Did you get this from Joe Manchin and his U.S. Chamber of Commerce puppet masters?]
This is a crucial week for America and for Democrats. Will Democrats deliver on Joe Biden’s popular agenda and prevent a default on the U.S. debt, or will so-called “moderate” Democrats (call them what thy are, corporate Democrats bought and paid for by corporate campaign contributions) betray the American people and their party by appeasing the enemies of democracy, the Sedition Party?
This is the week that the senate filibuster should mercifully die in the Senate. Or will prima donna divas Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema insist on preserving this Jim Crow relic and domestic terrorist Mitch McConnell’s weapon of mass destruction? Whose side are they on?
The AP reports, Biden, Congress face big week for agenda, government funding:
An expected Monday vote on the related $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package is now postponed until Thursday, amid ongoing negotiations. More immediately, the Senate has a test vote set Monday to keep the government funded and avert a federal debt default before Thursday’s fiscal year-end deadline. That package stands to run into a filibuster by Republican senators — all but ensuring lawmakers will have to try again later in the week.
Why does the media instantly accept this as normal? As former Rep. Donna Edwards says, McConnell has given Democrats the justification they need to kill the filibuster:
News flash: The Grand Old Party, also known as the Deadbeat Republican Party, is unwilling to pay the bills and ready to turn off the lights in America. No principles here; this is all about politics — no matter the consequences of this deliberately inflicted economic crisis with a global pandemic and multiple natural disasters as a backdrop.
[Domestic terrorist] Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pronounced that no Republican would cast a vote to increase the debt ceiling. That moved the goal post, because he’s effectively threatening a filibuster if 10 Senate Republicans do not join Democrats to advance the measure. With classic McConnell cynicism, he declared that the government must pay its bills while announcing that Republicans won’t sign the checks. That was the reveal. Not to be outdone, every single House Republican voted against both increasing the debt limit and keeping the government running when funding runs out on Oct. 1.
Just as Republicans have fallen in line with the “big lie” about the 2020 election, undermining confidence in our democracy and its constitutional norms, they are now prepared to set fire to the entire house by tanking our economy. But this despicable move can give Democrats exactly the ammunition they need — a genuine, defensible justification for eliminating the filibuster.
Democrats have it in their power to end this domestic terrorist’s ability to take the country hostage every time a Democrat is in the White House, and to prevent serious repercussions from defaulting on the debt to the U.S. and world economy, already struggling under the weight of a global pandemic. Ending the filibuster has the added benefit of restoring democracy from a tyranny of the minority, and allowing the Biden agenda to pass on a simple majority vote as it would in every state legislature.
The indefensible appeasement and empowerment of the “Grim Reaper of Democracy” by prima donna divas Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema must end now. He only holds the power that they willfully concede to him. Take away his weapon of mass destruction and render Mitch McConnell impotent.
Democrats should call McConnell’s bluff. Kill the filibuster, raise the debt ceiling to pay our bills, fund the U.S. government. And then be free to move on and pass the broader agenda that the majority of voters want.
Republicans falsely claim that the debt ceiling needs to be raised to pay for President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. But as McConnell and his fellow Deadbeats know, the bills to be paid include the bipartisan $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief spending package passed in March and the Trump-era spending spree that racked up a historic $7.8 trillion in debt, including a 2017 tax cut that is projected to add $1.9 trillion in debt. They’re taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook — borrow, run up the bills and walk away from your creditors.
Government shutdowns don’t come cheap—the last three shutdowns cost nearly $4 billion, and that doesn’t include all the downstream costs and damage to the lives of ordinary Americans. If civil servants aren’t on the job to process Social Security payments or veterans’ benefits, people will be hurt. Your neighbor with a job at a nearby military installation or federal agency is one of a couple million workers who will get furloughed. If you’re a law enforcement officer or other essential worker in the federal force, you’ll have to show up for work, but you won’t be paid. If you own a coffee shop or diner or florist frequented by those government workers, you lose your customers. The pandemic may have already curtailed your business, but the Deadbeat Republican Party’s shutdown will finish you off.
For at least the last decade, the Republican Party has manufactured fiscal crises [hostage takings] while Democrats have governed through them like responsible adults on a playground filled with unruly toddlers — no offense to toddlers. It was Democrats who delivered the votes to George W. Bush to keep the economy from crashing in 2008. In 2013, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) engineered a 16-day government shutdown, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her Democrats came to the rescue to keep the government doors open. In 2019, Trump and congressional Republicans forced a shutdown over funding a border wall — it lasted a record 35 days at a price tag of $11 billion.
The word “hypocritical” is painfully inadequate for describing the Republican playbook. Under Trump and Bush, Republicans raised the debt ceiling. When Barack Obama held the White House, Republicans threatened to wreck our credit by refusing to increase the debt ceiling, resulting in a downgrade of our credit rating. Now that Biden is president . . . you guessed it: The Deadbeat Republican Party delivers once more.
Democrats, it’s time to flex your majority muscle, slim though it may be. Kill the filibuster and raise the debt ceiling to keep this country running. And then, having freed yourselves to govern the way most Americans want . . . start doing it. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to save our democracy, and for good measure throw in police reform by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It’s one thing for the Deadbeat Republican Party to take itself down, but it should leave the rest of us alone so we can move forward.
Huffington Post reports that Democrats are still trying to humor the vanities (or is it the insanities?) of prima donna divas Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Democrats Discussing 2 Options To Change The Filibuster To Pass Voting Rights Laws:
Democrats are currently discussing two ways to change the Senate’s filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation. The options under consideration include a special carve-out from filibuster rules for voting rights legislation or the implementation of a new kind of talking filibuster.
[A] Schumer-promised floor vote on Manchin’s compromise bill, the Freedom To Vote Act, may come as early as next week. Republicans are expected to filibuster Manchin’s bill then.
What comes next is unclear. The only way to pass the bill is for Democrats to change filibuster rules. With a bare 50-vote majority, every Democrat needs to agree to do that. And two senators, Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), oppose eliminating or reforming the filibuster.
That hasn’t stopped conversations from happening. According to sources inside and outside of Congress, the options Democrats are currently discussing include a potential carve-out for voting rights from the filibuster rules or the restoration of a talking filibuster.
[H]owever, while many Democratic senators support such a carve-out, Joe Manchin has rejected the idea, stating, “The filibuster is permanent” on Sept. 14.
I’ll just say it, Manchin is a traitor to his country. The barbarians are at the gate, they have already engaged in a violent seditious insurrection against the government, and are still engaged in an ongoing slow-motion insurrection. Now they are threatening to blow up the U.S. and world economy by defaulting on the U.S. debt in yet another act of domestic terrorism. Manchin’s “useful idiot” appeasement and empowerment of the Sedition Party, in the face of such tyranny of the minority is nothing short of traitorous. If he continues, he will be the Benedict Arnold of our era.
The other option being discussed is to restore a talking filibuster.
This is a waste of time that we do not have in order to humor Manchin and Sinema.
The Senate ultimately ditched the talking filibuster because senators believed the endless talking took up too much time and inhibited the Senate’s ability to operate in a functional manner. Today, filibuster reformers levy the same complaints of dysfunction at today’s silent filibuster system.
Just end the damn filibuster and get on with doing the job that the American people elected Democrats to do – pass the Biden agenda. No more damn excuses! No more coddling prima donna divas like Manchin and Sinema.
The AP continues:
Biden, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are deep into negotiations over the president’s broader proposal, which is being chiseled back to win over key senators and a few House lawmakers who have so far refused the $3.5 trillion price tag and the tax increases on corporations and the wealthy to pay for it.
I’m sorry, but Democrats in the House and Senate voted unanimously for the $3.5 trillion compromise budget reconciliation resolution. This is the compromise plan that has been acted on by the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction. A handful of corporate Democrats who have sold their souls to corporations for campaign contributions do not get to make demands at the eleventh hour about reducing the size and scope of this compromise bill – the time for objection has already passed. They all voted in favor of it. Their bad faith complaints should not be heard now. They are just obstructionists.
James Downie of the Washington Post reports, Why are moderate Democrats okay with killing Biden’s legislative agenda? (excerpt):
[So-called] “moderates” [corporate Democrats] have spoken up about specific pieces they object to. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and a handful of House Democrats oppose letting Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices, which would save more than $500 billion over 10 years. (Incidentally, three of the Democrats opposing the idea have received $1.6 million in donations from the pharmaceutical industry.)
By the way, the savings realized from negotiating drug prices is one of the ways in which Democrats pay for the social programs in this bill. By protecting Big Pharma, Kyrsten Sinema aka “Pharma Girl,” is screwing American families out of popular social programs that they have been demanding from Congress for years. This is the consequence of her unprincipled actions.
For the rational, reasonable position, see Colin Allred, Cindy Axne, Sharice Davids, Andy Kim and Abigail Spanberger, End the monopoly. Let Medicare negotiate drug prices.; and Dylan Scott, who explains why Why Democrats desperately need to cut prescription drug prices. Aaron Kesselheim and Jerry Avorn destroy Pharma Girl’s bogus talking point, Letting the government negotiate drug prices won’t hurt innovation.
The New York Times also reports that Sinema “has privately told colleagues she will not accept any corporate or income tax rate increases,” while Manchin remains opposed to the current plan’s proposed corporate tax rate. Gottheimer wants to repeal the cap on state and local tax deductions, which would help many of his wealthiest constituents.
So Sinema is a willing tool of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Plutocracy. U.S. Chamber rewards Senators Manchin, Sinema for opposing Biden initiatives.
James Downie continues:
But while it’s one thing to hold these views, it’s another to argue that these objections should derail the broader package that these lawmakers (and a majority of Americans) support. If Sinema swallows the tax increases she doesn’t like, she gets the climate measures that she prioritizes. If Manchin agrees to not means-test the expanded child tax credit, he gets billions in infrastructure spending.
That’s called compromise — just as progressives have already compromised by reducing their ask by trillions. The final number may well end up higher than these moderates would like. But, as President Biden noted during a Friday news conference, when skeptics of the bill “go through their priorities, it adds up to a number higher than they said they were for.”
No doubt moderates don’t like being pressured to vote for things they don’t completely support. No one ever does. [It should be noted that Progressives are committed to voting for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package which includes things that they do not like; they are acting in good faith.] But opportunities such as this don’t happen often.
[B]ecause a [Sedition Party]-controlled House or Senate will almost certainly never give Biden a win, history suggests that this Congress is the Democrats’ last shot at passing major legislation until the next Democratic president. [If the Seditious Insurrectionists win, there will not be another Democratic president; this is the whole point of GQP authoritarianism.] If moderates want to kill these bills, then they need to explain not just what they object to, but why those objections justify derailing the last, best chance at big change for years.
The Post’s E.J. Dionne states the obvious – Democrats: Political suicide is not a strategy.