Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last Call For The Good Package, Con't

Remember, only Democrats can kill the $3.5 billion infrastructure package and Republicans don't have to lift a finger, because Democrats will do it for them willingly.
Key moderate Senator Joe Manchin said fellow Democrats should “hit the pause button” on a $3.5 trillion package incorporating the bulk of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda -- presenting a clear challenge to the effort by party leaders to get the tax-and-spending plan through the evenly divided Senate in the coming weeks.

The West Virginia Democrat, who often splits with his party and works with Republicans, said this week that “runaway inflation” along with national security uncertainty after the troubled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan necessitates a go-slow approach and possible rethinking of the plan.

“Hit the pause button,” Manchin said at a Wednesday event hosted by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.”

Manchin’s comments come as Democratic leaders and committee chairs in the Senate and House are working out the specifics of the economic package, with a goal of moving it through Congress in the weeks after lawmakers return from an extended August recess. Manchin is a linchpin vote because Republicans are united in opposition. All members of the Senate Democratic caucus would have to back the measure in order for it to get the 51 votes needed to pass, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote.

The spending package also is facing obstacles in the House. Democrats can only afford three defections in that chamber if Republicans are united in opposition, and some moderate Democrats also are balking at the size of the package being drawn up.
Infrastructure Call

Manchin also called on the Democratic-majority House to pass within a few weeks a Senate-passed $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised progressives in the chamber that she will marry that legislation with the much bigger Democrat-only tax-and-spending package, although moderates have been promised an infrastructure vote by late September.

Manchin last month voted with other Senate Democrats to help pass a fiscal blueprint that could help enable the broader economic bill to pass the Senate without any GOP support, by short-circuiting the filibuster. However, even then, he didn’t commit to whether he would back a bill as big as $3.5 trillion with inflation rising and the federal debt soaring.
Of course, Manchin is bargaining because he has leverage. Sinema will eventually want her cut too, but Manchin has struck first blood.

Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not. While some have suggested this reconciliation legislation must be passed now, I believe that making budgetary decisions under artificial political deadlines never leads to good policy or sound decisions. I have always said if I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it, and I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $3.5 trillion.

Another reason to pause: We must allow for a complete reporting and analysis of the implications a multitrillion-dollar bill will have for this generation and the next. Such a strategic pause will allow every member of Congress to use the transparent committee process to debate: What should we fund, and what can we simply not afford?

I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs. This is even more important now as the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have sounded the alarm that these life-saving programs will be insolvent and benefits could start to be reduced as soon as 2026 for Medicare and 2033, a year earlier than previously projected, for Social Security.

Establishing an artificial $3.5 trillion spending number and then reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities that should be funded isn’t how you make good policy. Undoubtedly some will argue that bold social-policy action must be taken now. While I share the belief that we should help those who need it the most, we must also be honest about the present economic reality.
The only question is how much will be stripped before the bill passes, if at all.

I Recall Gavin, Con't

After polls for the recall of California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom narrowed to even this time last month, Democrats in the Golden State have gotten on the ball and the numbers are looking at lot better ahead of the September 14 special election.

Fewer than 4 in 10 California voters support removing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from office in this month’s recall election, according to a new poll of likely voters released just over a week before ballots are due to be returned.

Just 39 percent of likely voters told pollsters at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) they would vote to recall Newsom, while 58 percent said they would vote against the recall. Those figures are in line with earlier PPIC polls in March and May, which showed Newsom surviving by roughly the same margin.

About 4 in 5 Republicans will vote to recall Newsom. But the overwhelming majority of Democrats, 90 percent, say they will vote to keep him — and so do a plurality, 49 percent, of independent voters.

Newsom’s campaign has long staked its fortunes on labeling the recall a naked power grab fueled by Republicans and supporters of former President Trump. The poll offers a data point to back up what Democratic strategists around the state have been saying for weeks: that Newsom’s message has woken up Democratic voters to the prospects that a Republican who receives just a tiny fraction of the vote could replace their governor.

Three-quarters of likely Democratic voters say the outcome of the recall election is very important to them, higher than the 67 percent of Republican voters who said the same.

Republican voters remain more enthusiastic about voting in the recall election than their Democratic counterparts, but the sheer advantage Democrats have in a state where their party’s voters outnumber the GOP by a nearly two-to-one margin may be sufficient to overcome any kind of enthusiasm gap.

A survey of ballots that have actually been returned shows a similarly strong turnout among Democratic voters: Of the more than 4.6 million ballots that have been returned, Democrats account for 2.5 million, or 54 percent — a higher share than the 47 percent they make up on the voter rolls, according to Political Data Inc., a California-based firm.
Dems still need to press through the entire election period on this, but I feel a lot better about Newsom keeping his job than I did a month ago.

The Road To Gilead, Texas Con't

Roe v Wade is dead, abortions are as of right now, impossible to get safely in Texas, and dozens more states will follow the Road to Gilead.
The Supreme Court late Wednesday declined to halt a Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy, allowing the nation's most restrictive measure to remain in effect.

The court ruled 5-4 against providing relief to abortion providers, who asked the Supreme Court on Monday to put the law, which outlaws most abortions in the state, on hold. Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices were in dissent.

The high court failed to act before the law took effect earlier Wednesday, and abortion providers in Texas informed women they would no longer offer the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy in compliance with the law. Then, nearly 24 hours later, the high court rejected the request from abortion rights supporters to block the law.

In its opinion, the majority acknowledged the abortion providers "have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue," but said their request to the court presents "complex and novel" procedural questions that prevented them from meeting their burden.

While the high court refused to stop the law while the legal fight continues, the majority said its decision "is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas's law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts."

The decision from the Supreme Court is a significant victory for anti-abortion advocates, who are looking to the high court's expanded 6-3 conservative majority — with three justices appointed by former President Trump — to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion. The court is poised to hear this fall a case involving Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, and a decision upholding that measure could clear the way for more restrictive abortion laws.

In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the court's order "stunning" and said the law is a "breathtaking act of defiance — of the Constitution, of this court's precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas."

"Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand," she wrote.

The Texas law is the most restrictive abortion measure in the country, as it bars the procedure after six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before many women know they're pregnant. The coalition of abortion clinics and abortion rights supporters that sought the Supreme Court's intervention argued it defied the high court's precedents, under which states cannot outlaw abortions before fetal viability, which generally occurs around 24 weeks.

In the final hours Tuesday before the law took effect, Whole Woman's Health, which operates four clinics in Texas and is a plaintiff in the case, reported having full waiting rooms of patients seeking abortions. But as of Wednesday, the clinics would only provide the procedures if ultrasounds do not show cardiac activity in compliance with the law, Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, told reporters.


A majority of the Supreme Court refused to even implement the basic legal principle of precedent for Roe. Roe is dead. The right to a woman's bodily autonomy is gone, and it can be freely taken by a state. And as I said yesterday, even if SCOTUS rules against Texas tomorrow, every clinic in the state will close, every patient will be doxxed, and every health care worker, clinic escort, and donor will be sued by unlimited individuals at a maximum penalty of $10k per suit, bankrupted and destroyed.

The law was designed to do this. And it worked.

More like it will be coming.

Your rights depend on which state you live in if you are a woman, full stop.

We warned you this was coming.

But, her emails.

Gilead is here.


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