Durbin tests positive for COVID — imperiling Dems’ major breakthrough agreement

Durbin tests positive for COVID — imperiling Dems’ major breakthrough agreement
Image via Flickr.

For the first time in almost a year the stars seemed to be aligning for Senate Democrats – and President Joe Biden’s agenda – as Senator Joe Manchin (R-WV) Wednesday night finally reached an agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to support legislation to attack climate change, invest in energy, and address healthcare issues including pricing in Medicare and the Obamacare exchanges. Also on deck is legislation to protect same-sex marriage.

Thursday morning Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois and the Senate Majority Whip, announced he had received a positive COVID test.

“He starts his quarantine today and will be unavailable for votes for at least next 5 days in the 50-50 split Senate,” reports C-SPAN Capitol Hill producer Craig Caplan.

READ MORE: Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Senators’ COVID Diagnoses Could Threaten Plan to Pass Bill This Week

In a 50-50 Senate, one Democrat generally means game over — or in this case something akin to a postponement due to weather.

Wednesday evening when news of the Manchin-Schumer bill broke, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes tweeted: “Wait what is this strange feeling…hope? Optimism? Feels weird!” That may have been a bit premature.

Majority Leader Schumer had planned to put the legislation on the floor this week.

READ MORE: Marco Rubio Recorded an ‘Emergency Video’ After Pete Buttigieg Responded to His Anti-LGBTQ Attack. It Didn’t Go Well.

The Senate leaves late next week for the August recess, so timing here is everything.

CNN calls the deal “a major reversal for Manchin, and the health and climate bill stands a serious chance of becoming law as soon as August — assuming Democrats can pass the bill in the House and that it passes muster with the Senate parliamentarian to allow it to be approved along straight party lines in the budget process.”

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