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Archive of Articles in the "Congress" Category

Put The Reconciliation Bill's Numbers In Perspective

[ Posted Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 – 16:34 UTC ]

Sadly, the public debate over the budget reconciliation bill in Congress has so far usually been reduced to a single number. I say "sadly" because what this means is that while the media (and, also sadly, too many Democratic politicians) obsess over that one number, it means they seldom (if ever) talk about what is actually contained within the bill itself. Perhaps Democrats can pivot to having this discussion if the bill ever actually passes. But for now, I'd like to put that big, scary $3.5 trillion number into some necessary context.

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Get It Right: It Is Corporatist Democrats Versus Mainstream Democrats

[ Posted Monday, September 27th, 2021 – 16:19 UTC ]

The mainstream media, as usual, is mostly presenting the power struggle taking place right now within the Democratic Party in a rather slanted way. The fight, we are told, is a fairly equal one between "moderates" or (as is becoming more in vogue recently) "centrists" and the progressives. The progressives are usually painted as the radicals, while the "centrists" are seen as those cautioning moderation and compromise. Virtually none of this is true, however. What is really going on is the old-guard "New Democrats" are being forced to confront the reality that it is no longer the 1990s, and their particular brand of "Wall Street-friendly" Democratic politics is not only seriously on the wane but has now been almost totally eclipsed. Senator Bernie Sanders was at the vanguard of effecting this drastic shift, but it is almost complete. And the old guard is none too happy about it, as they cling to the remaining leverage they still have.

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Friday Talking Points -- Crunch Time

[ Posted Friday, September 24th, 2021 – 16:58 UTC ]

It's one of those rare weeks in Washington, where Congress is actually forced into doing its job -- legislating, holding hearings... you know, the things the taxpayers actually pay them to do. As usual, they are facing multiple deadlines. They deserve zero pity, though, since they just returned from their annual month-long summer vacation. If they had stayed and worked instead of gone and played, then they wouldn't be facing all these time crunches simultaneously. Which is why we say: zero pity.

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Abolish The Debt Ceiling

[ Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 – 15:23 UTC ]

Here we are again. The Washington Kabuki theater is raging while all the media cheerfully go along for the ride. Will the United States reach its debt ceiling without Congress acting, and will the country then default on its debts for the first time in over 200 years? What will that do to the world's economy? What will it do to the American economy? Red flags are waved, warning beacons go off, fire alarms sound, signal flares are launched. It's all merry fun until a way is figured out (at the last minute!) to save us all from the "fiscal cliff" of defaulting on our obligations. It's all as regular as clockwork, now. But it just doesn't have to be this way.

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Monday House Deadline Looking Shaky, At Best

[ Posted Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 – 16:22 UTC ]

In less than a week, congressional Democrats will face a deadline of their own making. Next Monday is the day Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised she would bring to the House floor the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate has already passed. Because it has cleared the Senate, the next step for the bill (if the House passes it) is President Joe Biden's desk, for his signature. But unfortunately, it is increasingly looking like the companion budget reconciliation bill will not be ready for a vote -- perhaps not in either chamber. Since these two pieces of legislation are linked, this may mean neither one of them passes (at least, not next Monday). This would endanger the two bills which not only form the base of Biden's agenda, but also the basis for Democrats to run their campaigns on next year. Either both bills pass, Biden will be seen as a transformative president (on the order of L.B.J. or even F.D.R.), and the Democrats can run on a spectacular record of getting good things done in Washington -- or none of that will take place at all, which would pretty much doom the Democrats chances in the 2022 midterms. In other words, it's an important week -- one that may actually stretch into being an important month.

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Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Immigration Reform In Reconciliation Bill

[ Posted Monday, September 20th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

Last night the Senate parliamentarian released the first in a series of opinions about the Democratic efforts to draft an enormous budget reconciliation bill. She said that, in her opinion, legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants should be seen as a policy proposal, not a budget proposal. If Democrats follow her advice, they'll have to remove the path to citizenship from the reconciliation bill. This would be a major blow to immigration reform, although not entirely unexpected.

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From The Archives -- Royal Pain

[ Posted Friday, September 17th, 2021 – 16:15 UTC ]

[The Scene: A warm Philadelphia evening, 226 years ago. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention -- after a long and miserably-hot day of respectful debate (and quite a lot of just plain bickering) over the text of Article I, Section 10 of the proposed draft of the new United States Constitution -- take up the final item on the agenda. We join the Founding Fathers as they (somewhat-wearily) begin discussion of the final subject of the day. Since the debate was conducted behind closed doors, this re-creation uses no names for the participants, to protect their anonymity.]

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Policing Saturday's Pro-Insurrectionist Rally

[ Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2021 – 15:45 UTC ]

This Saturday, America will get to see whether the police responsible for the security of the United States Capitol have learned their lesson or not. After their abject failure to prepare adequately for the insurrectionist mob which took over the Capitol on January 6th (in an attempt to forcibly halt the final step in a presidential election), the police are going to face a crowd of sympathizers of the insurrectionist riot's participants. In other words, the insurrectionists' fellow travellers. One would like to assume that the police presence will be a lot bigger and a lot more proactive on Saturday than they were eight months ago.

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Some Recall Reflections

[ Posted Wednesday, September 15th, 2021 – 17:17 UTC ]

California Governor Gavin Newsom emerged victorious from his recall election last night, chalking up a rather stunning margin: with 71 percent of the vote counted, "No" on the recall was beating "Yes" by a whopping 28 points (64 percent to 36 percent). Not quite 2-to-1, but close. Since it was a special recall election held at an odd time, it garnered more than the normal amount of media and political interest nationwide -- especially after a poll a few months ago seemed to suggest that the race was somehow neck-and-neck. Obviously, it wasn't. Newsom may in fact beat the margin of victory he managed in his last election. Whatever the final numbers turn out to be, though, it's hard not to use the word "landslide" to describe the outcome.

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Friday Talking Points -- Democrats Should Lean In To Biden's New Pandemic Mandates

[ Posted Friday, September 10th, 2021 – 17:04 UTC ]

This week, President Joe Biden picked a political fight. Or, more accurately, he got up off the sidelines and engaged in a political fight that had already begun, by strongly opposing Republican politicians fighting against basic public health safety measures under the fake guise of "freedom." Biden stood squarely for science and safety, while Republicans are left to fight for recklessness and death. That is precisely how the matter should be framed politically, and so far it looks like Biden is doing a fairly good job of presenting this dichotomy to the public. He's even taking the fight directly to all the GOP governors who are sounding increasingly unhinged about the basic concepts of public health and safety.

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