Hopefully This Won’t Work

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about President Biden’s plans to get his legislative agenda passed.

The article reports:

Joe Biden is telling Democratic leaders in the House and Senate that he will lean on moderate Democrats in order to force passage of change to the Senate’s filibuster. He will also lobby hard to pass the voting rights bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he wants to vote on this week.

Biden and the Democrats want a “carve-out” for the electoral power grab known as the “For the People Act.” It would allegedly be a one-time exception to the filibuster and allow for a straight up-or-down vote on the bill, which Democrats mischaracterize as a “voting rights” bill.

Both Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have publicly come out against altering the filibuster and both have expressed doubts about the voter bill without substantial changes. But Biden apparently believes his powers of persuasion will work on them and other centrist Democrats.

Manchin will be a tough nut for Biden to crack. The West Virginia senator has been adamant about opposing any “tweaks” to the filibuster.

Make no mistake–this is a serious threat to our Republic. The U.S. Constitution specifically states that election policies are left to the states–they are not under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Unfortunately at this time, we have no guarantee that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution.

Rolling Stone recently reported:

Winning over the two Democrats who’ve declared their opposition to filibuster reform, Sens. Manchin and Sinema, won’t be easy. In April, Manchin wrote in an op-ed that he would not support tweaking or abolishing the filibuster, which he described as a “critical tool” to protect the interests of small and rural states like his. Sinema, for her part, likes to point out how often Democrats used the filibuster when they were in the minority during Donald Trump’s presidency. The filibuster, she wrote in June, “compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”

Yet Sinema has broadly endorsed the need for voting-rights reforms, and Manchin says “inaction is not an option.” Congressional aides and anti-corruption activists who support the For the People Act say Schumer’s strategy has been to give Republicans every opportunity to work with Democrats on a compromise bill, and to allow Manchin the space to lead those negotiations, if only to show that Republicans won’t support any version of pro-democracy reform that Democrats come up with. “We continue to see that the Republicans are not willing to negotiate in good faith on these fundamental issues to protect our democracy,” says Tiffany Muller of End Citizens United.

First of all, we are not a democracy–we are a constitutional republic. If you really want to get to the root of our current political problems, you might want to take a look at the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This opened the door for the corruption we currently see–the illegal campaign money, the earmarks, the runaway spending, the power grabs, etc. The election reforms the Democrats want will make it even easier to cheat.

 

I’m Not Sure I Believe This

Red State posted an article yesterday about a recent statement by Senator Joe Manchin. The Senator wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal  stating that he will not support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation budget proposed by the Democrats. The article notes that he is requesting a pause to decrease the amount of spending in the proposal. Some are celebrating that this is the end of the $3.5 trillion budget, but you need to look at the wording of the statement and the history of Senator Manchin more carefully. Senator Manchin always claims to be a fiscal conservative. He even votes that way WHEN HIS VOTE DOESN’T COUNT. When his vote counts, he votes with the Democrats. He is in an awkward position right now because he represents West Virginia, a mostly conservative state. If he wants to get re-elected in 2022, he has to at least make some conservative noises. I am skeptical as to whether this will be anything other than noise. Chances are that the budget will be cosmetically scaled down and he will vote for it.

The article at Red State includes part of the opinion piece:

The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future. Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.

An overheating economy has imposed a costly “inflation tax” on every middle- and working-class American. At $28.7 trillion and growing, the nation’s debt has reached record levels. Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent more than $5 trillion responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Now Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans.

It will be interesting to see how he actually votes. When you think about it, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema hold the keys to Joe Biden’s presidency. As long as the Democrats have 50 votes for the budget reconciliation package, they need Kamala Harris to be the 51st vote to pass the budget. If the Democrats do not have 50 votes, then Kamala Harris is not needed as the 51st vote. Therefore she can be promoted to President if Joe Biden seems to be failing. Stay tuned.

 

Not Surprising

Hot Air is reporting today that Senator Manchin of Kentucky has seemingly decided not to be the finger in the dike to control Democrat spending. It'[s not definite yet, but I suspect he will be voting with the Democrats on their latest spending spree. As I have previously stated, the Senator only votes with the Republicans when his vote is not significant. When push comes to shove, he can be depended upon as a Democrat vote. His recent statement is going to put immense pressure on Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema to support the Democrat’s reckless spending.

The article reports:

When Senate Democrats had lunch with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, much of the discussion centered on their 3.5 trillion dollar grab-bag spending bill that was announced earlier this week. They’ve already resigned themselves to the idea that there won’t be a single Republican vote in favor of the measure, so they can’t afford to lose a single Democratic vote. As usual, that means that all eyes are on King Joseph of West Virginia to see if he will derail the entire thing. Manchin took the floor after Biden left the meeting and reportedly told them that he will be “a team player” and not derail the bill, provided he’s kept in the loop as it is being written. But he didn’t go as far as saying he would definitely vote for it, either.

…Manchin is talking about being a “team player” but he added in a lot of caveats that didn’t show up in the story lede. Reading into the details, all he’s saying at this point is that he won’t try to block a floor vote on allowing the bill to be drafted. That doesn’t mean the finished product will receive his approval. That’s why he is asking to be kept in the loop and for the members working on crafting the bill to keep some of his priorities in mind.

The article concludes:

Obviously, Joe Manchin can envision scenarios where that roadblock will crop up. And all it would take is one roadblock to send the entire thing down in flames. In other words, Joe Manchin may not be part of the committee that’s going to assemble the bill, but he’s pretty much the one calling all the shots as to what does or doesn’t make the cut. And if they somehow do manage to pass this bloated Democratic wish list, it’s going to meet his requirements. Joe Manchin is still clearly the most powerful person in the Senate at the moment and probably will be until the Democrats either lose their majority or expand it significantly.

I expect Senator Manchin to vote for the bill, but I would love to be wrong.

Good News For America

John Hinderaker posted an article today at Power Line Blog about a recent statement by Senator Joe Manchin.

The article reports:

Now that they control Congress, although by the barest of margins, the Democrats can do considerable damage. But for their long dreamt-of power grab–adding more states, packing the Supreme Court, institutionalizing electoral fraud–they need to break the filibuster.

Ending the filibuster would require the votes of all 50 Democratic senators. That has always seemed unlikely, and yesterday Joe Manchin made it official in an op-ed in a local newspaper. Manchin said that he will not vote for H.R. 1, the Universal Voter Fraud Act, nor will he vote to end the filibuster…

Yesterday Senator Manchin posted an editorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail explaining his vote.

Here are some highlights from that article:

The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics. Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.

…Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.

As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.

Democrats in Congress have proposed a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act. This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican support. Why? Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?

The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.

…I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.

American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party, or the tweet-filled partisan attack politics of the moment. It is my sincere hope that all of us, especially those who are privileged to serve, remember our responsibility to do more to unite this country before it is too late.

Interesting. I don’t mean to by cynical (but I am good at it), but considering the pressure Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema have been under to support the For the People Act, it may be that both of them have put the interests of America above their party or personal interest. If that is the case, that is wonderful. But there is another possible scenario. It is quite possible that they are not the only Democrats who don’t support the For the People Act. In that case, their statements may be an excuse for the Democrat leadership not to bring the vote to the floor. In that case, no one is on the record for supporting it. Also, Senator Manchin is a Senator from a state that voted 68 percent for President Trump in 2020. If the bill was not going to pass anyway, this puts Senator Manchin in a very positive light. I wonder if he would have voted against it if all of the other Democrats were willing to vote for the bill.

 

When Your Power Grab Gets Slowed

Yesterday National Review posted an article about a recent ruling by the Senate parliamentarian that will put a crimp in the plans of Democrats to use the reconciliation process to pass their radical agenda without Republican support.

The article reports:

The Senate parliamentarian issued a new ruling that would effectively allow Democrats to use automatic budget reconciliation just one more time this year to bypass Republicans to advance President Biden’s progressive agenda. 

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that a revision to the 2021 budget resolution cannot be automatically discharged from the Senate Budget Committee, according to The Hill. This means that Democrats would need at least one Republican on the 11-11 panel to vote with them if they want to use reconciliation on more than one occasion before the legislative session ends in October.

The bi-partisan talk during the presidential campaign was simply talk. There never was any plan to work with Republicans unless the Republicans agreed to everything the Democrats wanted. To Democrats the definition of unity is “when everyone agrees with me.”

The article notes:

The ruling makes it more likely that Democrats will pursue a fresh fiscal 2022 budget to bypass Republicans if infrastructure negotiations fail, according to Bloomberg.

The news comes as Biden said on Tuesday that June “should be a month of action on Capitol Hill” and that while pundits on TV may ask why he has not done more to pass his legislative priorities that it is because he “only has a majority of effectively four votes in the house and a tie in the Senate with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends,” likely referring to Senators Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.).

During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to rewrite Biden’s remarks, claiming that the president was only commenting on TV punditry.

“I can tell you that sometimes these conversations can be oversimplified. TV isn’t always made for complex conversations about policymaking,” she said. “What the president was simply conveying was that his threshold, his litmus test is not to see eye-to-eye on every single detail of every issue and he doesn’t with Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin.”

“He believes there’s an opportunity to work together to make progress to find areas of common ground even if you have areas of disagreement,” Psaki said.

However, Republicans have criticized Biden and his party for doing little to work with the GOP to find common ground. Democrats used budget reconciliation earlier this year to pass the president’s COVID-19 response package with a simple majority and without Republican support.

“He knows well having served 36 years in the Senate that sometimes it’s not a straight line to victory or success, sometimes it takes more time and he’s open to many paths forward,” she said. “I don’t think he was intending to convey anything more than a little bit of commentary on TV punditry.” 

Keep your eye on the filibuster. If the filibuster survives, we may get through the Biden administration without bankrupting the country.