Updated: Jun 21, 2021
While much of America’s and world’s media attention was focused on the initial meeting of doddering senile President Joe Biden and Russian strongman President Vladimir Putin in
Geneva last week, a less headlining event occurred much closer to home in our nation’s capital that could ultimately have a much greater and widespread impact in the United States:
The bipartisan infrastructure plan died. (Note: Senate “moderates” on both sides continue to keep it on life support, but it won’t go anywhere without complete leadership buy-in.)
For those of us, myself included, who never were confident that Democrats and Republicans could come together and agree on a package that one, would only include what the average person considers “real” infrastructure -- stuff like roads, bridges, dams, canals, the electric grid, power lines, pipelines, railroad maintenance, airports, etc. -- and two, would keep the price tag at a number that wouldn't bankrupt the country, it wasn’t a surprise that the effort is now most likely headed for the legislative shredder machine.
While the finger pointing and blame has just gotten started, one speculates that the bipartisan group’s proposals didn’t contain enough “green” fluff for the all-climate-change-all-the-time Democrats and was perhaps too laden with expensive and wasteful excess for fiscal conservatives to stomach. Budget watching isn’t a well-practiced art in Washington these days, but there are still at least a handful of representatives and senators who aren’t afraid to talk about purse strings and bankruptcy.
At any rate, word is that Democrats aren’t taking the setback sitting down -- they’re committed to going it alone if they have to, using the reconciliation process. And it certainly looks like they will have to. Are they brave, or stupid? You decide.
“Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is set to kickstart the reconciliation process … paving the way for Senate Democrats to pass a massive infrastructure package without Republican support as bipartisan negotiations sputter.
“Schumer told reporters [last week] that he will convene a meeting … with all 11 Democratic members of the Senate Budget Committee to start the process of passing a budget resolution, kicking off the formal steps needed to move toward the reconciliation tool that would allow President Biden’s spending and tax proposals to pass with 50 rather than 60 votes.
“Schumer added that the move would allow lawmakers to approve elements of Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan with simple majority votes after the August recess.”
Doesn’t the plan just leave you satisfied and happy to know Democrats are plotting to bypass the normal legislative process and invent a new path all their own? What a deal! Rather than continue browbeating poor Senator Joe Manchin to death on the filibuster and demonizing the otherwise agreeable liberal Kyrsten Sinema, “Chucky” and his henchman are bent on ignoring them completely.
Or are they?
The Hill reporters’ article also included the news that certain “progressives”, such as Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, the always good for a crackpot quote Sen. Ed Markey, “The Bern” Bernie Sanders and the kook from tall tree country -- Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley -- all indicated they won’t agree to a stand-alone infrastructure bill until they have buy-in from Manchin and Sinema. In other words, they don’t want to make donkeys of themselves over Chucky’s reconciliation end-around until they’re assured it will pass on a party-line vote.
So, there will be a negotiation within a negotiation. Leave it to Democrats to complicate a matter even further! “Pocahontas” and the lefty boys are bent on guaranteeing that the big spending package is large enough and includes stuff like child care and lots and lots of slush for green energy boondoggle enterprises to grease the wheels of the corruption train.
In essence, the radical liberals have eliminated Republicans from the equation but it sounds like Manchin and Sinema still will have significant input in the final product. The Democrat “moderates” will be under intense pressure to bow to the greater caucus’s demands, however, not being able to deploy their typical “bipartisan this, bipartisan that” excuses to rescue them from a tight spot. Now that “bipartisan” has been removed from the discussions, there’s no reason to talk about it any longer!
Republicans are so yesterday. Besides, to Democrats, there’s lots of lost time to make up for. After all, Trump was an illegitimate president elected with Russian meddling, which forestalled Democrat plans to take over the country and stamp out the last vestiges of individualism and capitalism. Remember Hillary Clinton’s campaign theme? “Stronger Together”?
The “together” part didn’t include the awful “deplorables”, but any soft-hearted tree-hugger would already realize this.
Oh yeah, the ultra-ultra-socialist crowd insists on tax hikes, too. As responsible Democrats who’ve likely never done anything in their entire careers other than serve in academia and/or as politicians, they need to make sure they can go back to their leftist voter constituencies and say with a straight face that the “rich” will foot the bill for all of this crap -- I mean beneficial “investments”.
As far as abandoning the “bipartisan” ruse, it could be said Republicans learned the same lesson during President Trump’s tenure. Democrats made no pretense to work with the GOP majority on anything back then, forcing the leadership to pass most proposals and nominations with only Republican votes. It was somewhat easier for Mitch McConnell, but not a whole lot, since the RINOs in the caucus required much of the same type of pandering that Manchin and Sinema are receiving now.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the late John McCain sank the very last party effort to do a “skinny” repeal and replace of Obamacare in 2017, turning on his own people at the 11th hour to frustrate every Republican in America. Yes, McCain didn’t go for it, but Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski were also “no” votes. Therefore, it was a group effort.
The terminally-ill McCain grasped he wouldn’t be around to see the issue resolved and hoped his final act of grandstanding would foster some sort of wondrous “bipartisan” comity, where bills were written and debated in committee and amendments were introduced and voted on, etc. It never came to pass. The parties are just as far apart as they were back then. If Democrats now want to push through their infrastructure schemes, they’d better get everyone in line. Or elect more Democrats.
Ditto for the Republicans.
So-called moderates don’t have any power except to say “no.” It’s basically like declaring, “We know we’re not going to get what we want, but at least you won’t get what you want either.”
If anything, McCain’s move four years ago prodded the parties to move even farther apart and prompt “Chucky” and Democrat senators to bypass the process entirely now in order to insert their big spending programs into bills bound for budget reconciliation. Not only will there be little or no opportunity for input from the opposing party, the packages will be lumped into one huge bill that will pass by a razor-thin margin in both houses of Congress.
Democrats are planning on spending trillions of dollars without really legislating. Talk about a dictatorship. The Founding Fathers never contemplated future arcane rules would permit someone like “Chucky” Schumer to commandeer the process and grant himself federal powers beyond anyone’s understanding, even the president’s. Would the Supreme Court strike down the budget bill as unconstitutional?
One can’t help but condemn the Democrats’ “win at all costs” reconciliation strategy, but that’s what it’s come to in American politics. At least we won’t have to endure brainless bluster about “bipartisan” working groups any longer. There was the “Gang of Fourteen” (assembled to stave off deployment of the “nuclear option” on the filibuster in 2005), the “Gang of Eight” (another wishy-washy group that worked on amnesty for illegal aliens in 2013) and now, this year, the 10-member infrastructure working group.
I guess it means gangs don’t work. And neither does bipartisanship -- at least not on the real important stuff. Bye-bye, bipartisan rhetoric. Democrats are going it alone now, and probably into the future. Will America survive?
bipartisan infrastructure bill