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Archive of Articles in the "Congress" Category

"For The People Act" To Get House Vote

[ Posted Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 – 17:49 UTC ]

We are in the midst of one of those rare seasons in Washington where Congress actually gets some things done. Joe Biden's legislative legacy will begin with his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which now seems all but certain to pass. Hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour fell by the wayside, true, but the rest of the bill will be historic nonetheless (there are all sorts of things in it, above and beyond the pandemic relief and $1,400 checks and state and local aid). Meanwhile, the House is about to begin a marathon period of passing Democratic agenda items and sending the bills over to the Senate. First and foremost of these is H.R. 1 -- the "For The People Act." And if even some of the key ideas contained in this breathtaking and sweeping proposal ever make it into law, it would likely be the most consequential election law ever passed. So it's a good bill for Nancy Pelosi to lead with.

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Republicans Admit Why They Are Suppressing Votes

[ Posted Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 18:11 UTC ]

The issue of voting rights could be a pivotal one for Democrats, if they would focus intensely on it for the next month or so, and by doing so get their message out to as many people as possible. The political equation is pretty simple to understand, after all: Democrats are trying to make it easier for people to vote, while Republicans are making it as difficult as they know how. Republicans do not want you to be able to easily vote, because when that happens, they lose elections. Plain and simple. And they're even flat-out admitting it, these days.

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Minimum Wage Hike Now Doubtful

[ Posted Monday, March 1st, 2021 – 16:48 UTC ]

The prospects of Democrats scoring a big victory on hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour are getting dimmer and dimmer. Sadly, this is true not just in the current pandemic relief bill, but overall -- because if it isn't included now it's hard to see how it is ever going to pass otherwise. One has to be forgiven for wondering if this was really President Joe Biden's plan all along; that including it in this bill was nothing short of a feint, to provide a lightning rod for Republicans to attack while the rest of the bill goes largely ignored. If this is true, it worked like a charm, but that's an awfully cynical ploy for Biden at the start of his legislative legacy. And it's an ominous indication that a whole lot of other progressive ideas are also never going to actually be enacted, too.

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Friday Talking Points -- The GOP's Double Standards

[ Posted Friday, February 26th, 2021 – 18:31 UTC ]

In the past week, two of the biggest political stories have been which way the Senate parliamentarian was going to rule on an arcane rule in the chamber, and how one of President Joe Biden's nominees might be in trouble because in the past she had (gasp!) tweeted such mean things as: "vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz" (a statement that is not provably true only because vampires are mythical creatures while the heartlessness of Ted Cruz is, sadly, all too real).

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The Crucial Overlooked Issue In The Minimum Wage Debate

[ Posted Thursday, February 25th, 2021 – 17:39 UTC ]

The increase in the federal minimum wage currently being discussed in Congress will be revolutionary if it passes, but not for the reason you might first suspect. Admittedly, a raise to $15 an hour will be monumental in absolute terms, since it will more than double the paltry current rate. That's pretty notable, but it's not what I mean when I say revolutionary. Because the truly revolutionary thing about this bill is that it will quite likely be the last minimum wage raise Congress ever votes on. And surprisingly, this is actually a good thing.

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Manchin Is The New Lieberman

[ Posted Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

While everyone agrees on the obvious truism that President Joe Biden is now the most powerful Democrat in Washington, the person next in line in this new partisan power structure isn't as obvious. Because it is not actually Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, or Nancy Pelosi, despite them being (respectively) vice president, Senate majority leader, and speaker of the House. No, instead the biggest power player in Washington after Biden is now Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He has now set himself up to be "the next Joe Lieberman." Under President Barack Obama, Lieberman acted as a virtual caucus of one, determining what was allowably "centrist" enough for him to support and vote for. Manchin has now thrust himself into exactly the same position, and by doing so will hold the keys to Biden's ultimate legislative success or failure for at least the next two years.

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Democrats Hold The Winning Hand On COVID Relief Bill

[ Posted Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 – 17:31 UTC ]

Joe Biden's first major legislative initiative is going to be a winning one for Democrats, and (hopefully) a big anchor around the neck of all the Republicans in Congress who vote against it (which, as of this writing, looks like it's going to be "all of them"). It's rare that a bill this popular doesn't have bipartisan support, because most politicians on either side of the aisle know full well that voting for something wildly popular -- even if your party didn't propose it -- is usually good politics. It's something to brag about in the next election campaign, in normal times.

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Fighting The Ongoing Big Lie

[ Posted Monday, February 22nd, 2021 – 17:49 UTC ]

Since the riot at the Capitol last month, both Democrats and the news media have managed a notable achievement, by slapping a label on what is actually a persistent and ongoing danger to both them and American democracy -- Republicans using made-up "voting fraud" claims to make it harder and harder for citizens to vote. Because this fake and non-existent "voter fraud" was not just what Trump latched on to in order to try and overturn an election result he didn't like, but it is also the root of a decades-long Republican attempt to cling to power even while getting a minority of the votes cast.

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Friday Talking Points -- Ted Fled!

[ Posted Friday, February 19th, 2021 – 18:44 UTC ]

After one short month in office, President Joe Biden has already achieved his biggest goal. The country is united again. We all universally agree on one thing, with true bipartisan spirit. What is this unifying belief which all Americans now share? That Ted Cruz is an awful excuse for a human being.

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Biden Brilliantly Redefines Bipartisanship

[ Posted Thursday, February 18th, 2021 – 17:28 UTC ]

President Joe Biden has had his ups and downs in his first month in office. His biggest down to date has been his propensity to telegraph much too early that he knows his bargaining position isn't going to carry the day -- before the bargaining is even really close to being over. He's done this on the push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and now he's doing it on the immigration bill just proposed, by hinting that it might have to pass in several pieces instead of a comprehensive bill. Signaling what he'll ultimately accept too early undercuts Democrats fighting for the strongest bill possible, so this could be the start of a worrisome trend. However, Biden did hold rock-steady on the size of his COVID-19 relief bill, even in the face of faux bipartisanship, where Republicans offered an opening bid of less than one-third of what Biden wanted (proving it was really nothing more than the old "stall and obstruct" Republican tactics, in "bipartisan" clothing). So we'll have to wait to see which tendency becomes more prevalent in Biden, over the next few months.

But on the up side, Biden has already accomplished one brilliant political bit of jiu-jitsu. He has totally redefined "bipartisanship" in a way that bodes well for many progressive agenda items in the near future. This move was absolutely brilliant, even though few have realized it yet.

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