Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Byrds and the Budgets


In Dearborn in the F-150 in May, Reuters photo via Hindustan Times.

So last night I saw Senator Klobuchar on CNN discussing the latest iteration of the Romney-Manchin American Heritage Infrastructure Plan (my name for it; the one where they're sworn to only have the kind of infrastructure admitted in the 1969 original edition of the American Heritage Dictionary) saying plain as day that we didn't need to worry about the other $2.7 trillion of the Biden plan because Democrats would be simply going on to pass that part independently as a budget reconciliation bill, more or less the way I've been saying it was going to happen, and I said to myself, Holy Cow, so it's all out in the open now?

And apparently at the same or almost the same time Doktor Zoom was seeing Senator Warren on MSNBC doing the same or almost the same exact job, and in the following hour Senator Markey: The Jobs and Families plans will now be sent through Congress on a two-track basis, sort of as I've been predicting, as the Doktor put it in inimitable Wonkette style:

Perhaps enjoying the metaphor a bit too much, Markey said that the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package might be going down "separate tracks, but [it] all comes into the train station at the same time."

Asked why any Republicans in the Group of Forever 21 would support the bipartisan track if they know Democrats are planning to do a reconciliation bill anyway, Markey noted that some Rs want to be able take credit for bringing home an infrastructure package, even if they'll grumble about the reconciliation bill.

Markey also confirmed that this was OK with Manchin, and with House progressives, too. They certainly would not approve the bipartisan "infrastructure"-only bill without a solid guarantee the reconciliation bill would include their priorities, and that it will have 50 votes in the Senate.

And Senator Manchin at some point on NBC proper has unexpectedly become aware of what reconciliation is and announced he's all for it: he

has now said he is really very open to the "human infrastructure" stuff being passed by reconciliation, particularly since much of it would be paid for by rolling back chunks of Trump's 2017 Big Fat Tax Cuts For Rich Fuckwads. NBC News has the deets, or at least as many as there are so far:

"I've come to the knowledge, basically, that budget reconciliation is for reconciling budgets. So it's money matters," Manchin told NBC News, calling for bolstering "human infrastructure" — Biden's term for investments in child care, community college and paid leave — and raising tax revenues to fund them.

"Republicans have drawn a line in the sand on not changing anything, and I thought the 2017 tax bill was a very unfair bill, and weighted to a side that basically did not benefit the average American. So I voted against it," Manchin said. "I think there are some adjustments that need to be made."

Like Schumer sat down with him for a long talk: "Joe, did your parents ever tell you about the Byrds and the Budgets? See, when a Byrd and a Budget love each other very much..."

Not that I believe that for a second: this "come to the knowledge" story is the one he's concocted for his voters to explain his sudden willingness to vote for something that isn't bipartisan. "I just found out it isn't even supposed to be bipartisan! It's money matters!" He knows perfectly well what reconciliation is. This is something he's been prepping since at least late April, when we first noticed him coming out for a Greenish New Deal with UMW president Cecil Roberts as cover: it was clear then that he wanted to vote for it

“Basically what is needed … is the human infrastructure,” Manchin said. “You can’t leave anybody behind,” especially those in his hard-hit state, which has lost thousands of jobs in mining and other resource extraction industries jobs in recent years.

And it was clear the whole time that he wanted it paid for through progressive taxes. So now it's starting to happen and it really is out there, starting with last night's choreographed opening. Sourpusses are out in force, of course

Incapable of understanding that it's processes that get results, and not even starting to envisage the two-track process in play here, and oblivious to the way legislation like this, putting real stuff under people's real feet in 50 states, is taking care of human needs every bit as basic as voting rights, and at the same time the source of the political capital that will make things like vote reform passable later on. Shaub and Hasan hate politics precisely because they despise the physical, they're such refined souls themselves, but physical reality is important too. Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi are the kinds of comical politicians interested in materiality, god love them, that I was talking about in the previous post. I'm pumped!

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