Monday, January 25, 2021

Reconciliation is Real

Peter Paul Rubens, The Reconciliation of Henri III and Henri of Navarre, 1628, via Wikimedia Commons.

Ezra Klein's dour Times piece last week ("Democrats, Here's How to Lose in 2022: And Deserve It") put it in pretty distressing terms, though he didn't seem quite aware of what he was saying: he knows how Democrats can hold onto the Senate in 2022, by quickly passing some legislation that makes a difference in people's lives, which has already been basically written—

The good news is that Democrats have learned many of these lessons, at least in theory. The $1.9 trillion rescue plan Biden proposed is packed with ideas that would make an undeniable difference in people’s lives, from $1,400 checks to paid leave to the construction of a national coronavirus testing infrastructure that will allow some semblance of normal life to resume.

—and doubling of the federal minimum wage to $15, that's pretty popular too. All they need is to abolish the Senate filibuster, which is unfortunately not going to happen:

Senate Democrats could eliminate the filibuster if every single one of them wanted to, but even a single defection would doom them. Senator Joe Manchin has promised to be that defection. Mere days after the election, he went on Fox News and said, “I commit to you tonight, and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching. I want to allay those fears, I want to rest those fears for you right now because when they talk about whether it be packing the courts, or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that.”

(not just Manchin, but Sinema of Arizona, King of Maine, and likely others). Democrats will not only fail to rescue the population from Covid and economic catastrophe, we'll also lose the midterms, and we'll "deserve it" why exactly? Because somebody ten years ago failed to identify the West Virginia socialist who could beat Manchin in the primary? Or because we forgot to ask the Green Lantern to use his magic powers to change Manchin's mind?

It was especially distressing because there was a simple and obvious solution, and nobody seemed aware of it—well, almost nobody, because there was my tweep Noah Berlatsky, and then there was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had suggested in a radio interview that it was a done deal: passing the Covid rescue plan through the budget reconciliation process, which would only require 50 votes plus VP Harris in the Senate, and which Manchin and possibly even a Republican or two would support:

We could manage without getting rid of the filibuster, and with a chance of doing it in 2023. Why weren't people talking about it?

Turns out I was just talking to the wrong people; as recently as Vox reporting by Dylan Scott this morning, which you should check out for its excellent treatment of the technicalities, there was a belief that Biden was hesitant on it, but:

This is really likely to happen, folks! 

Update: CNN reporting as I type that according to Mitch McConnell, he and majority leader Schumer have finally come to a power sharing agreement (on the operation of Senate rules, assignment of committee chairs and memberships, etc.) because, he says, "two senators" have announced that they will not vote to abolish the filibuster (Manchin would be one of those). Chris Cuomo, bless his heart, thinks this is a signal of victory for the Republicans, but I think it's a signal that Schumer is confident he has the votes for the Covid bill, which is, as our president said of a previous reconciliation vote (on the ACA), a Big Fucking Deal.

No comments:

Post a Comment