Friday, June 25, 2021

For the Record: Schrödinger's Group of 21


President Biden with the Group of Ten Minus Two (Tester and Collins invisible behind Portman?), or something. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP via Deseret News

I just meant to be helpful, I'd got this thing nobody was talking about from Wonkette, reading for the previous post. But Professor Rosen kind of snapped at me.

Two weeks ago, rather. This was a kind of mirror image of that, when I was mystified by the way nobody was saying the senators' plan didn't have the votes, and all these important outlets seemed to be deliberately obscuring the fact, unless they just hadn't thought to wonder (I sent Rosen a link to that blogpost, which I regret—I've deleted the tweet, I didn't mean to be seeking his attention). Now nobody was saying the senators' plan does have the votes, and The Times in particular doesn't seem to even have heard about it. Unless of course the Reuters story was simply wrong—as suggested by the fact that only members of the original group seem to have been present when Biden made his announcement.

But it's not wrong, or not exactly. It's in lots of places this morning, notably in CNBC and USA Today,

In the East Room of the White House on Thursday, Biden declared “we have a deal" after a 30-minute meeting with the group of senators earlier in the day.... 

The new bipartisan coalition, spearheaded by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., includes 11 Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent. The coalition included a number of moderate dealmakers in the Senate.

Which named all 21:

  • GOP (11): Burr, Cassidy, Collins, Graham, Moran, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Rounds, Tillis, Young 
  •  Dem (10): Coons, Hassan, Hickenlooper, Kelly, Manchin, Shaheen, Sinema, Tester, Warner, King (I)

But it's not mentioned on NPR or Washington Post, and The Times is now explicitly denying it:

Leaders aim to finish the first step on the reconciliation measure before leaving Washington for the August recess, but would probably push any final passage to September. And while 21 senators endorsed a theoretical infrastructure framework this month, only five Republicans and five Democrats signed on to the final compromise with Mr. Biden that was announced at the White House on Thursday.

Ed Kilgore, God love him, backs me up in New York magazine, and does mention that the plan has the votes:

In what represented the culmination of one complex legislative maneuver over his agenda and the beginning of another, President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of centrist senators announced the basics of a “deal” (as the president called it) on a $579 billion infrastructure package Thursday. According to the New York Times: “$312 billion would go to transportation projects, $65 billion to broadband and $55 billion to waterways. A large sum, $47 billion, is earmarked for ‘resilience’ — a down payment on Mr. Biden’s promise to deal with the impact of climate change.”

Enough Republicans (11, in fact) signed onto the deal to overcome a conservative filibuster, assuming Senate Democrats support it as well. 

Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the group of 21, certainly didn't say he'd refused to sign onto the deal, on CNN as the deal was being announced,

Well, Dana, this is a great day for President Biden, for the determined group of ten Democrats and Republicans who you just heard from

But Republicans Lindsey Graham and Jerry Moran are extremely put off by Biden's intention of doing the rest of the program through reconciliation, though, which Lindsey denounces as "extortion":

I guess that's your answer right there: the Group of 21 is still in the box, and we don't know whether it was alive or dead at the time they ran the experiment, but it's probably dead by now, in the sense that the votes of Graham and Moran have removed themselves if they were there in the first place. Meanwhile Manchin has made his commitment to vote for the budget reconciliation, as I was noting yesterday, and I'm going to hope he won't back out. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment