Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Infrastructure Week

"We'll always have Infrastructure Week!"

Politico suggested the principals were still hung over from the last Infrastructure Week at the end of April and the current one already was dead, hours before it officially got started (in the Cabinet Room, at 11:15):
WELL, THIS [the three-weeks-ago one] WENT ABOUT AS WELL as any other infrastructure week. The White House is not going to present any plan to pay for rebuilding the nation’s roads and highways.
INSTEAD, the administration will ask DEMOCRATS to make the case for a $2 trillion package. The White House has identified roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts to pay for legislation -- about as realistic a plan as saying this newsletter will fly you to the moon if you say abracadabra.
TO REALLY DRIVE THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN, Trump sent a letter to PELOSI and Senate Minority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER on Tuesday saying they should pass the USMCA before turning to infrastructure. The letter
Heh. Apparently in the end it was more explosive than that, per Peter Baker and Katie Rogers:

WASHINGTON — President Trump abruptly blew up a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up and declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him.
He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate at the same time. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.
Walked out in a histrionic rage in three minutes, and the stage hands had a prop ready for him, so you can tell it was pretty tightly scripted.

Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.
It's nice that the president is acknowledging that he can't walk, or even ride in a golf cart, at the same time as he's chewing gum. Steve also got the impression of some Trumpian anoyance at the way other people, some quite a bit older than he is, seem to be capable of taking two meetings in a single morning:

That Nancy is such a goddam showoff.

The 93rd Congress, by the way, managed to get a fair bit of legislating done while it was investigating and successfully booting out President Nixon, including the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 (the first to allow Highway Trust Fund money to fund mass transit and first time a national speed limit was established), the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 establishing the process for presidential disaster declarations, the Legal Services Corporation Act, the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 which established minimum standards for private pension plans, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Privacy Act of 1974, to name just a few. Of course Richard Nixon was a bad man but a literally infinitely more competent person than our current president, but I think Democratic control of both Houses also played a role in this stellar record.

If I were to come up with a properly silly take, I think I'd say that this Democratic ballet over the president-booting procedure that dare not speak its name, or when is it OK to say "impeachment", could be a masterful strategy cooked up by Pelosi and Raskin secretly collaborating, to keep Trump so off-balance that he can't function at all. His staff can't have thought it was a good idea to "blow up" the Cabinet Room meeting, but it happened anyway, as if he couldn't trust himself spending more than three minutes in a room with a bunch of people who know what they're doing.

And a very happy Infrastructure Week to you and yours! Nancy LeTourneau has a good take on the Rose Garden tantrum.

Aaron Rupar's catch in the second of these two clips is awfully interesting:

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