Archive of Articles for June, 2021

Who Will Sit On The 1/6 Select Committee?

[ Posted Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 – 15:40 UTC ]

The House of Representatives just passed a measure to create a select committee to investigate the 1/6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and all the things which led up to it and fed into it. This will be a partisan undertaking, as the 13 members of this committee will be named by Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- and while she may be open to allowing up to six Republicans on it, she will also have the power to veto any suggestions made by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. It is looking like this committee will provide the most substantive and wide-reaching investigation into all the things which were allowed to go wrong. That's important, because America really does deserve to know the truth -- the whole truth -- about what happened that dark day.

Read Complete Article »

Let The Haggling Begin

[ Posted Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 – 15:46 UTC ]

So far, most of the attention on the progress of President Joe Biden's economic agenda has been on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. It went first, so it got the spotlight first. Now that the Republicans and Democrats seem to be in the final stages of hammering out a deal, the attention is soon going to shift to the second part of the plan: the budget reconciliation bill that will be designed to make it through the Senate solely with Democratic support.

As I've been pointing out, the most interesting thing about this bill is that Senator Bernie Sanders is in charge of writing it. Bernie's not on the outside looking in anymore, he now chairs the Senate's budget committee. And he's about to flex his power for the first time. Although the key will be (as always, these days) what Senator Joe Manchin will agree to. And this past weekend, this bidding game began in earnest.

Read Complete Article »

Biden Should Have Let Pelosi Take The Heat

[ Posted Monday, June 28th, 2021 – 15:07 UTC ]

President Joe Biden made a political mistake, last week. Thankfully, it looks like he has rectified it with the right people, meaning it will not be a major stumbling block in the continuing negotiations over his hoped-for bipartisan infrastructure deal with a group of moderate Republican senators. Biden walked his error back, and everyone sounded placated a few days later, and now the process is back on track once again. So far so good. But Biden never needed to get out in front of this issue in the first place, because Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had already volunteered to take all the political heat. Which is precisely what Biden will now allow her to do, and what he really should have done from the start.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- The Art Of The Deal

[ Posted Friday, June 25th, 2021 – 17:49 UTC ]

Call it true irony. The man who had a book ghost-written for him called "The Art Of The Deal" could never actually manage to strike any kind of deal. So the man who replaced him ran on his own dealmaking skills, in a time where pretty much everyone in Washington considered the idea too old-fashioned to ever work. But President Joe Biden just got his first big deal, this week. A bipartisan infrastructure plan is now going to move forward in the United States Senate and has what can only be called a better-than-average chance of passing.

Read Complete Article »

A Successful Endgame Emerges

[ Posted Thursday, June 24th, 2021 – 15:03 UTC ]

After months of breathless anticipation, a path forward hove into sight. The legislative endgame for a major portion of President Joe Biden's agenda is now in view. And -- surprise! -- it looks like a bipartisan infrastructure deal will actually be a part of it. I fully admit I was wrong about this one, because I have been cynically calling the entire negotiating process Kabuki theater and I would have put the odds of failure much higher than the odds of success. But today, Biden publicly appeared with the Republicans who have been negotiating with him and the Democrats, and he formally put his seal of approval on the last-ditch offer the Republicans just made. By doing so, Biden opens the door to having two successful bills arrive on his desk, one with 10 or more Republican senators' votes and the other passed on strictly partisan lines. As I've been saying all along, the American people just do not care about the process, so this whole exercise was pretty pointless, to me, but it now at least it looks like it's going to be successful.

Read Complete Article »

Social Security For Kids

[ Posted Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 – 15:40 UTC ]

I just read one of the most hopeful articles I think I've ever read about the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi and the White House are making a huge push to get all Democrats to get out there and toot their own horns. This really shouldn't be all that amazing -- it shouldn't even be news because it should be so routine -- but it really is, since Democrats have long been particularly bad in this regard. Republicans know how to settle on one songbook and then endlessly sing the same thing from it -- for just weeks on end. But Democrats have never had that singular focus, which is part of the reason why I became a blogger in the first place (in the hopes that they would, eventually).

Read Complete Article »

Happy Birthday, Dianne Feinstein. Now, Please Step Down?

[ Posted Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 – 15:52 UTC ]

Dianne Feinstein was born in 1933. She was 11 years old (two months' shy of turning 12) before any president in her lifetime was not named "Franklin Delano Roosevelt." She was not a baby boomer, she was a Great Depression baby. She probably grew up listening to F.D.R.'s fireside chats on the family radio. Not television, mind you, radio. That's how old she is.

When Feinstein was born, there were only 20 amendments to the U.S. Constitution (there are now 27). Her mother was four months pregnant with her when the most recent amendment had been added, which changed the date of the presidential inauguration from March 4 to January 20. Prohibition was still in effect when Feinstein was born, but (ironically) under federal law "marihuana" was still legal. The first drive-in movie theater opened the same month as her birth. At the end of 1933, FM radio received a patent. That was the world Dianne Feinstein was born into.

Read Complete Article »

Reconciliation Needs To Pass First

[ Posted Monday, June 21st, 2021 – 16:29 UTC ]

To an outsider, what is happening in Washington right now is splitting hairs for no particular reason. It won't matter to the public one whit whether what Congress passes to advance President Joe Biden's agenda is in one bill or two, or whether any Republicans vote for any part of it. The public is really only interested in results: "Did you get anything done? Are they things that will help me out?" That's it. And pretty much everything being discussed is wildly popular, proposal by proposal, so the public's going to support and enjoy seeing these programs implemented or expanded no matter what the vote count in the Senate or the House winds up being. Joe and Jane Public just do not care about any of that.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- America Is Back

[ Posted Friday, June 18th, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

President Joe Biden had a pretty good week all around. He began the week in Europe, where he met with the leaders of NATO, the European Union, the G7, a few royals (just to mix things up), and Vladimir Putin. That's a pretty packed schedule, but Biden seemed to manage just fine. The Europeans were both visibly thrilled and massively relieved to be visited by a United States president who was, once again, a sane adult (and not a petulant little child-man). They heaped praise upon Biden -- mostly just for being "President Not-Trump." You may laugh, but please recall President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize solely for being "President Not-Dubya," years earlier. But more seriously, Europe announced some deals with Biden (including, notably, a truce being called on the subsidy war over Boeing and Airbus airplanes). Not only were personal relationships either reaffirmed or begun, tangible diplomatic progress was made. Europe stood as one with the United States over the contentious issues of Russia and China, which only strengthened Biden's position for his meeting with Putin. The Putin summit didn't produce a whole lot in the way of tangible deliverables, but then again it didn't produce an American president willing to believe Russia's ex-K.G.B. leader over his own intelligence services either, so it has to be chalked up as a major improvement. Throughout it all, Biden stuck to one very simple slogan that summed up what his trip was supposed to be showcasing to the world: "America is back."

Read Complete Article »

Manchin Lays Out His Voting Rights Priorities

[ Posted Thursday, June 17th, 2021 – 16:32 UTC ]

This has been an extraordinary week. I say that because things seem to actually be happening in Washington, which is (to put it politely) not the normal state of affairs at all. Congress even proved that, on occasion, they could move with blinding speed, as they passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in a matter of days, instead of the usual "months, if not years." President Joe Biden has already signed the law, long before most Americans were even aware of its existence. The federal workforce will get to take tomorrow off, which just wasn't true at the beginning of the week, or even yesterday. It's long been a closely-held secret, but Congress can act this quickly, when they really want to.

Read Complete Article »