McConnell proves once again there's no 'good faith' among Senate Republicans
Weeks ago, President Joe Biden gave Senate Republicans a deadline. They had until Memorial Day to prove they were serious about participating in government by working with him on infrastructure. Biden could have taken Sen. Mitch McConnell at his word when the latter declared he is "100% committed" to blocking Biden's agenda and has "total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country."
Biden either wanted to give the Senate Republicans benefit of the doubt—to let Susan Collins prove that she's not really McConnell's puppet (she is)—or he has been setting about proving to Senate Democrats like Joe Manchin, Tom Carper, and Kyrsten Sinema that Republicans are really who McConnell says they are. But what's happened is much of the momentum from passing the truly groundbreaking American Rescue Plan is petering out. Now Congress is facing the usual tightening of timelines ahead of must-pass budget and debt ceiling deadlines.
That means that all of a sudden, time is very short for getting that American Jobs Plan—Biden's $2+ trillion (unless he's officially whittled it down to $1.7 trillion) infrastructure initiative—out the door. In fact, despite the Memorial Day deadline, Senate Democrats are just now beginning discussions with the Senate parliamentarian on putting together a budget reconciliation package to pass it without Republican votes.
Republicans who are supposedly negotiating with the White House "sounded dour notes on Monday evening and are mulling whether to even make a counteroffer to President Joe Biden's proposal last week," according to Politico. The White House is giving the Republicans another chance, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying that they're "not quite there" when it comes to closing the door on talks.
Wicker says Biden demanded $1T over 8 years and Rs are willing to do that. But so far, WH says Rs have only offered $225B in new money...— Steven Dennis (@Steven Dennis) 1621954135.0
Because, apparently, "moderate Democrats" think there's hope. That includes Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Jon Tester of Montana, who all say there's hope of bipartisanship and should all know the hell better. Even Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who has never been accused of being a progressive partisan, is raising an eyebrow at these guys. He told Politico that this group of Democrats who continue to push bipartisan negotiations "need to be more clear about their patience and timeline."
As if to put a point on how they should all know the hell better, there isn't even bipartisan agreement on putting together a bipartisan commission to figure out how to prevent violent mobs from attacking them in the future. As of now, Mitt Romney is the lone Republican in the Senate who says he'll support the Jan. 6 Commission legislation. That's 51 votes. The bill needs 60.
But this is the headline: "Filibuster fight looms over Jan. 6 commission." Republicans are filibustering the legislation, co-authored by a Republican House member, to investigate a threat to all of their lives and an insurrection that intended to overthrow them. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could try to bring the bill to the floor this week ahead of the Memorial Day recess.
"I'm sorry that some Republicans believe that a bipartisan investigation of the attack on our democracy is inconvenient for the midterm campaigns, but the Democratic-led Senate … is not going to sweep Jan. 6 under the rug," Schumer said. "We're going to vote on the Jan. 6 commission in the Senate, and the American people will see where every member stands—on the side of truth or on the side of Donald Trump's big lie."
With Ipsos polling showing that a majority of Republicans—53%—believing the Big Lie and actually say Donald Trump is the real president, it's not much of a stretch to see where Senate Republicans are going to land on that one.
While Schumer is figuring out the timing of that one, he's got another bill on the floor: the Endless Frontier Act that was supposed to have bipartisan support and in fact advanced to the floor last week on a 86-11 vote. The legislation is primarily intended to advance U.S. scientific and research efforts and strengthen the U.S. tech sector as it competes against China. McConnell, of course, is gumming up the works on that, too. As of now, there's a fight over how many amendments to allow. As long as this bill is on the floor, Schumer would have to get unanimous consent to bring up the Jan. 6 commission bill. Which Republicans will not allow.
So that is probably going to be pushed back to the week of June 7 when the Senate returns from Memorial Day recess. Infrastructure could be pushed until the fall, when it might be tied in with government funding and debt ceiling fights just like McConnell wants it. It's almost as if Democrats don't have the Senate majority after all.
Schumer may as well push it and try to get the Jan. 6 commission bill on the floor this week and show the Manchins and Sinemas and all the rest of the moderates where they stand. This week is as good as any to to make them decide the limits of their patience with the filibuster.
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