Senate Parliamentarian Rains on Chuck Schumer’s Parade

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H. L. Mencken, a well-known writer and journalist of the early twentieth century, is likely best remembered for the following quote: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

If, as we’re told, 81 million Americans voted for President Joe Biden, they are indeed getting it good and hard. In just over four months, the Democrats have radically transformed the United States of America.

Via a parliamentary procedure called budget reconciliation, which allows the Senate to pass “certain tax, spending, and debt limit” bills by a simple majority vote, the Biden Administration rammed through a bloated and unnecessary $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill without a single Republican vote. Reconciliation, however, has its limits. It can only be used twice each fiscal year.

Like a kid in a candy store, limitations simply will not do for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Knowing that the filibuster, which requires at least 60 votes to pass legislation, would otherwise prevent him from passing his socialist agenda, he has been desperately searching for a way to change the rules.

In April, he was convinced he had found one.

Specifically, Schumer and his aides had been eyeing Section 304 of the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1974 which covers “Permissible revisions of concurrent resolutions on the budget,” according to The New York Post.

You won’t be surprised to hear that their “interpretation” of the language is that they are entitled to use reconciliation to pass at least one (as opposed to only one) additional spending bill.

At the time, Axios’ Mike Allen wrote: “Top policy aides to Schumer recently argued to the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, that revising this year’s budget resolution could ‘trigger an additional set of reconciliation instructions,’ which would allow for further 50-50 votes that are decided by Vice President Harris.”

“If the Senate parliamentarian upholds Schumer’s interpretation, Democrats can pass more pieces of the party’s agenda without having to bust the filibuster rule, which requires at least 60 votes — and therefore 10 Republicans in the 50-50 Senate.”

“It’s not clear how many additional reconciliation opportunities this theory would open up,” Allen explained. “But the conventional wisdom is that Democrats have just one more shot at reconciliation this year, and this route would give them at least one more.”

One of Schumer’s aide’s told Axios that “no final decision has been made on the legislative strategy. Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement.”

Less than a week later, MacDonough appeared to hand Schumer a big win. Her ruling, according to the Democrats, meant that she agreed with Schumer’s interpretation and that they would likely be allowed to bypass the filibuster on two additional spending bills. In other words, Schumer would need only a simple majority to ram through two more bloated spending bills without a single Republican vote.

Following the ruling, Schumer’s spokesman Justin Goodman issued a statement which read: “The Parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions. While no decisions have been made on a legislative path forward using Section 304 and some parameters still need to be worked out, the Parliamentarian’s opinion is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed.”

It seems that Schumer might have misunderstood that there were conditions attached to MacDonough’s April decision which were spelled out in a new ruling issued late on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

In a memo to Senators about Friday’s ruling, MacDonough wrote: “The drafters and early users of 304 uniformly believed that it was to be used in extraordinary circumstances and not for things that should have been or could have been foreseen and handled in a 301 resolution. The potential for abuse was clear in 1974 and is all the more obvious now.”

Journalist Jake Sherman explains in the tweet below that in order for Democrats to use reconciliation more than once, “there would have to be reasons beyond political expediency – like an economic downturn.” It cannot be used to avoid the filibuster.

God knows we’re sorry Chuck.

(Note: The Hill’s Alexander Bolton provides a detailed explanation of the budget reconciliation process here.)

 

Did You Know that America Has a ‘Minority Rule’ Problem?; Democrats Claim its Effects Are ‘Deadly’

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The term ‘minority rule’ has been cropping up here and there on liberal media. This typically happens when Democrats are trying to advance a new narrative. The establishment of a narrative has a life cycle and much like a humans’, it begins with conception and peaks at a predictable point in order to achieve a political goal and then declines until finally, it dies.

Shortly after a narrative is born, we might see a couple of well-placed articles about it in widely read left-wing publications or hear it mentioned on a cable talk show. The tale gets repeated and the story spreads, until suddenly, it is everywhere and is treated as the truth by large swaths of the American people.

Democrats are frustrated over their inability to enact meaningful gun control legislation. Salon’s Amanda Marcotte argues that “Republicans barely bother to offer more than perfunctory arguments against gun control anymore. They know they don’t need to, because no matter what happens at the ballot box, no matter how many Americans reject them and their views, they are the ones who will control the country, especially on matters such as gun control.”

“Democratic helplessness to pass gun control legislation is a cold reminder that Republicans, despite being walloped at the ballot box, retain most of the power in this country.”

“American voters have been cast in the role of Sisyphus,” Marcotte claims, “where we keep pushing that rock labeled ‘Democratic victory’ up that ever steeper hill, only to see all the hard work and sacrifice tumble to the ground right on the precipice of actually getting anything done.”

“Adam Jentleson, the former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who served as Senate Majority Leader for some time while Barack Obama was president, has dubbed it the “minority rule doom loop.” As Jentleson describes it, the “doom loop” is one “by which predominantly white conservatives gain more and more power, even as they represent fewer Americans.”

For the daft among us, who don’t understand why Democrats, who currently control the presidency and both chambers of Congress, and don’t appear to be having too much trouble passing their agenda, feel  they are being stymied by Republicans.

The doom loop consists of four interlocking components. Candidates who represent white conservatives—Republicans, in our ideologically sorted era—begin every election cycle buoyed by a sluice of voter suppression and gerrymandering (what I call electoral welfare), which makes it easier for them to win. Then antidemocratic features of the American system that have always existed but never benefited one party over the other in any systematic way help those same candidates take control of institutions such as the White House and the Senate, despite winning fewer votes and representing fewer people than their opponents. Once in control of these institutions, these newly elected officials use them to entrench their power beyond the reach of voters. If they are eventually voted out of power, they retain a veto over the agenda of the majority, which they use to block change and feed the conservative case that the government is “broken.” This hastens their return to power—along the very path they greased with voter suppression.

“The minority rule doom loop isn’t just unfair and anti-democratic,” she says, “it’s also deadly.” She goes into a discussion of former President Donald Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic. If only Hillary Clinton, who received three million more votes than Trump, had been at the helm, the U.S., with four percent of the world’s population wouldn’t account for 20 percent of total COVID deaths.

We would also have fewer mass shootings, better health care and a greener economy.

There is, alas, a solution. “Democrats could strip the minority party of their nearly-absolute veto power but abolishing — or at least reforming — the filibuster.” After 1,000 words of complaining, she finally cuts right to the heart of the matter.

The filibuster, she explains is: “a pointless anachronism in the Senate that was mainly used in the past to defend white supremacy. When they were in power, Republicans didn’t think twice about nuking the filibuster when it got in the way of their main priority, which was controlling the Supreme Court.” This is a false argument. Does she forget that it was then-Senate Majority Leader who “went nuclear” in 2013 to confirm the Democrats judicial cabinet nominees? In 2017, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader was merely acting upon the precedent Reid had set. Does she recall how vehemently both Biden and Obama argued against ending ending the filibuster during the Bush Administration?

Lest we remind her that there are two Democrats currently standing in the way of it’s elimination, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, she writes that “both of these senators keep foolishly insisting that [the] filibuster is somehow a tool encouraging bipartisan engagement and debate, even though the reality is that it’s being used by Republicans to unilaterally end all Senate debate before it even happens.”

Or maybe they still have some integrity.

The filibuster isn’t the sole culprit, according to the misguided Marcotte. Republican-controlled state legislatures share the blame. They keep introducing “a bunch of bills to disenfranchise voters further.” Someone needs to tell Marcotte that over 70% of Americans support voter ID laws.

Finally, she laments “it may very well be that we’re entering a new era when Democrats can’t even technically win elections, despite having the majority support among Americans.” The Democrats’ House majority is one of the slimmest in political history. The balance of power in the Senate, at 50-50, is razor thin. And I’m still not convinced that Biden actually did win the presidency by legitimate means. So, she should spare us her “majority support of Americans” talk.

And mercifully, she concludes:

Our once great nation is being brought to its knees because a couple of scatterbrained Democratic senators can’t bring themselves to admit they are playing handmaiden to Republican plots to destroy the tattered remains of our democracy. Americans keep voting and voting and voting for the right not to be senselessly killed. That we can’t even get that shows that this thing we call a “democracy” is anything but.

First, America is a democratic republic, rather than a democracy. Additionally, Marcotte needs to stop whining, because in three months, the Biden Administration has passed enough of their agenda to cripple the country. And if they pass the rest of it, our “democratic republic” will be a “socialist republic”.

What she refers to as the Democrats’ burden, are a series of checks and balances that were put in place to protect whichever party is in the minority. These devices have endured throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Anyway, this is the minority rule or the “minority rule zoom loop” narrative. It’s early in the growth process, but it will quickly take root among liberals. Expect to hear more of it.

God help us.

Dems Think They Found a Senate Loophole to Bypass Filibuster, Pass Radical Agenda Without GOP

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H. L. Mencken, a well-known writer and journalist of the early twentieth century, is likely best remembered for the following quote: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

If, as we’re told, 81 million Americans voted for President Joe Biden, they are indeed getting it good and hard. In just over two months, the Democrats have already radically transformed the United States of America.

Via a parliamentary procedure called budget reconciliation, which allows the Senate to pass “certain tax, spending, and debt limit” bills by a simple majority vote, the Biden Administration recently rammed through a bloated and unnecessary $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill without a single Republican vote. Reconciliation, however, has its limits. It can only be used twice each fiscal year.

Like a kid in a candy store, limitations simply will not do for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Knowing that the filibuster, which requires at least 60 votes to pass legislation, would otherwise prevent him from passing his socialist agenda, he has been desperately searching for a way to change the rules.

Unfortunately, he may have just found one.

Specifically, Schumer and his aides have been eyeing Section 304 of the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1974 which covers “Permissible revisions of concurrent resolutions on the budget,” according to The New York Post.

You won’t be surprised to hear that their “interpretation” of the language is that they are entitled to use reconciliation to pass at least one additional spending bill.

According to Axios’ Mike Allen, “Top policy aides to Schumer recently argued to the Senate parliamentarian that revising this year’s budget resolution could ‘trigger an additional set of reconciliation instructions,’ which would allow for further 50-50 votes that are decided by Vice President Harris.”

“If the Senate parliamentarian upholds Schumer’s interpretation, Democrats can pass more pieces of the party’s agenda without having to bust the filibuster rule, which requires at least 60 votes — and therefore 10 Republicans in the 50-50 Senate.”

“It’s not clear how many additional reconciliation opportunities this theory would open up,” Allen writes. “But the conventional wisdom is that Democrats have just one more shot at reconciliation this year, and this route would give them at least one more.”

One of Schumer’s aide’s told Axios that “no final decision has been made on the legislative strategy. Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement.”

So, based upon the parliamentarian’s decision, Democrats may be able to use reconciliation to pass at least one more budget busting bill this year than they had anticipated.

There is hope, however. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has disappointed Schumer before. The Democrats had hoped to slip a $15 minimum wage hike into the COVID-19 relief bill and according to CNBC, MacDonough ruled that its inclusion would violate Senate rules.

Immediately, some Democrats wanted MacDonough fired, as The Washington Post reported.

At the time, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote, “The Parliamentarian’s role is key to a system of orderly legislative process. To simply disregard such rules (and fire those who seek to maintain them) is yet another example of the rage that has replaced reason in our current politics.”

Turley is right about that.

Additionally, I don’t think Republicans in the Senate would simply take this on the chin. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to go “scorched earth” if Democrats were to abolish the filibuster. During a floor speech to his colleagues last month, he said: “Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin — can even begin to imagine — what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like.”

This is nothing but a power-play. Democrats would do well to remember when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid nuked the filibuster for executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments in November 2013. His bold move backfired spectacularly when Republicans won back the Senate majority in 2016.

In 2017, then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell nuked the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations allowing former President Donald Trump to confirm three of his nominees to the court by a simple majority in the Senate.

Although it feels impossible at this point, Republicans may take back control of the Senate in 2022 and Democrats may be setting a precedent they will regret.

Key Senate Aide: Gun Control bill is ‘Just dead on arrival. Period. It doesn’t have the votes’

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On March 11, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021,” otherwise known as H.R. 8, a bill which would require a background check for every U.S. firearm sale, passed the House.

Afterward, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters, “Last time, [H.R. 8] went into Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard. The legislative graveyard is over. H.R. 8 will be on the floor of the Senate and we will see where everybody stands,” according to a report in Yahoo. He added, “No more thoughts and prayers – a vote is what we need.”

Schumer’s plan to take up this legislation in the Senate, however, was thwarted last week after three key senators spoke out against it. The three include: Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski spoke to several key senate aides who agreed that the restrictions in the bill were “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Particularly objectionable was the “requirement that licensed gun dealers perform background checks nearly every time someone sells or even lends a gun to another person is a non-starter.”

An aide to Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told Gutowski, “H.R. 8 is just dead on arrival. Period. It doesn’t have the votes. Not only does it not have the votes quietly, it doesn’t have the votes loudly because Manchin and Toomey are out there opposing it.”

He said that “Senator Toomey is not interested in playing political games or being an example in a background check exercise. He’s interested in achieving an actual outcome.”

According to these sources, there has been speculation that Democrats may “revive a bipartisan 2013 bill that would only apply background checks to private sales.” Toomey had been a co-sponsor of this bill and “played a leading role in selling the policy to voters and fellow senators” including “four Republicans.”

The bill did not receive the 60 votes required for passage. The Toomey aide added that “He’s interested in a consensus product, he’s not interested in political theater. He’s not interested in helping lead a project that’s just ultimately doomed to fail.”

Toomey, considered a swing vote, was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his February impeachment trial.

Other staffers Gutowski spoke to were not convinced that the Senate could reach an agreement on the 2013 bill. If the filibuster remains in place, any gun control legislation would require 60 votes for passage.

On Thursday, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that he and the Majority Leader will “spend the next several weeks working with both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to try to craft the strongest background checks bill that can pass.”

In a Sunday interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, Murphy said, “”I am not interested in getting 50 votes in the Senate. I am interested in getting 60 votes.”

Schumer’s position is far less accommodating than Murphy’s. On Thursday, he told reporters, “We will try to work with our Republican colleagues on a bipartisan basis when and where we can. But if they choose to obstruct, rather than work with us to deliver for American families, we must make progress nonetheless. Failure is not an option.”

One GOP staffer told Gutowski that the passage of any gun control legislation really depends on Schumer’s willingness to compromise. “Does Schumer want to actually come to the table and talk about stricter enforcement on straw purchases? Does he want to talk about some of the gun restraining order proposals that had strong due process checks in them? Or does he just want to keep trying to run up against the filibuster and score political points?”

For the Uber-partisan Schumer, I’m afraid it’s only the latter.

The resistance of Sens. Manchin, Tester and Collins was a big win for Republicans. Although seven House Republicans voted for H.R. 8, it’s difficult to imagine there would be sufficient Republican support in the Senate to get to 60 votes.

The checks and balances have saved us for now. And while this is good news, especially in the short run, this isn’t the end. Democrats will never give up the fight to take away our gun rights.

God help us if the Democrats somehow manage to end the filibuster.

Chris Wallace Makes an Astute Observation as Psaki Stonewalls Him: ‘You Are Being Less Transparent Than the Trump Administration’

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The Trump administration was often painted as doing nefarious things just out of the media’s eye despite the press being given access to many areas and events. The Biden administration is actively blocking reporters from covering the border crisis in person and stonewalling every attempt by journalists to get answers for the American people.

It took about a nanosecond for Fox News host Chris Wallace to realize that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was not going to answer his questions either, prompting him to say, “You are being less transparent than the Trump Administration.”

Wallace opened the interview with a quote from President Joe Biden on the border crisis. Last week, Biden insisted, “Nothing has changed. … It happens every year.”

Wallace then read a comment from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who said, “We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”

“So, who’s wrong,” he asked. “The DHS Secretary or the President?”

When Psaki begins an answer with “Well, first factually,” one knows that what follows will be a whopper and it was.

“There was an increase of about 31 percent of people coming to the border during the final months of the Trump Administration. It’s been about a 29 percent increase since Biden took office. But our focus is on solutions,” Psaki told him. Dodging the question, she then went on to enumerate all of the steps they are taking to protect children.

Well aware that immigrants likely began planning their journeys on Nov. 4, and the 31 percent figure Psaki quoted belonged to Biden, Wallace said, “You can play with percentages, but in absolute numbers, these are record numbers. There are now 18,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody. …”

“Well, Chris. Our objective is to take a different approach from the last administration,” Psaki replied. “We are not going to send children under the age of 18, kids under the age of 18 back on this treacherous journey. They are fleeing challenging economic circumstances, hurricanes, prosecution in some scenarios. It does not mean they get to stay in the United States. It means their cases are adjudicated. …”

Pivoting to the administration’s pledges of transparency, Wallace played a clip of Biden at last Thursday’s press conference. “You’ll have full access to everything once we get this thing moving.” Asked how soon that would be, Biden said, “I don’t know.”

He then showed a series of photos taken last week by members of Congress who had traveled to the border. “Jen, these kids are living in these conditions now. They’re not living in these conditions some indeterminate time from now when the President says everything will be fixed, so why not allow reporters and camera crews in, on a pool basis, safely to take pictures and show the American people what’s happening in those border patrol facilities right now.”

“Chris, we are absolutely committed to that. The President is committed to that. I’m committed to that. Secretary Mayorkas is committed to that,” she insisted. “Just last week we had a pool camera providing footage to Fox News, just last week into the shelters. We want to provide access into the Border Patrol facilities. We are mindful of the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. We want to keep these kids safe, keep the staff safe. We are absolutely committed to transparency and providing access to media … and we’re working to get that done as soon as we can.”

Wallace wasn’t going to let Psaki’s disingenuous statement slide. “Just to clarify Jen. You allowed a camera crew in to see the HHS facilities. What we’re talking about here are the border patrol facilities, the detention cells. … There is a law – let me just finish – that they are not allowed to be there for more than 72 hours. Many of them are there for ten days. At this point, in terms of allowing access to border patrol facilities for reporters, you are being less transparent than the Trump Administration.”

“The Trump administration was turning away kids at the border and sending them back on the treacherous journey, or they were ripping kids from the arms of their parents. We’re not doing that. We are committed to allowing cameras into the border patrol facilities, absolutely. We are committed to solutions.” Psaki said.

However, according to a March 17 report, two CBP officials told The Washington Examiner that “Biden Homeland Security officials have muzzled spokespersons and top officials at the Customs and Border Protection agency from speaking with the media about the situation on the border. … Officials have been placed under a sort of “gag order,” and they said they were told verbally not to communicate with media beyond statements approved from the top.”

Switching gears, Wallace said, “The president has come out strongly for the voting rights bill that has passed the House and is now being deliberated by the Senate. But look at some of the things that are in H.R. 1, the House voting rights bill. It creates public financing of congressional campaigns. It takes redistricting away from state legislatures and it opens the door to D.C. becoming a state.”

He asks Psaki, “Now, you can argue whether these are good ideas or bad ideas, but to get bipartisan agreement, to get compromise with Republicans, would the president consider supporting, taking some of those elements out and focusing just on voting rights?”

The press secretary delivers another non-answer. “Well, the president is absolutely open to the idea from Republicans, from Democrats, to make any piece of legislation better and stronger. But what he is not going to allow for is efforts to make it more difficult and harder to vote. And efforts to do that, people should question whether they have – why they would be doing that? If they have the best ideas, they should make it easier for people to vote. But you know, this is the process of a bill becoming a law – .”

“Chris, if Republicans want to come to the table have a discussion about what kind of package they can support to make voting more easy, easier and more accessible, the president is absolutely open to having that discussion.”

Wallace moved on to the filibuster. He noted that some Democrats were trying to convince Biden “to push to kill the Senate filibuster in order to pass legislation to protect voting rights.”

He played a clip of Biden from his press conference. “If there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

Referencing Biden’s current characterization of the filibuster as “a relic of the Jim Crow era,” Wallace played a clip of Sen. Joe Biden when he supported the measure.

Biden said, “At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill. It’s about compromise and moderation.”

Pressing further, Wallace reminded Psaki that, “Just last year, Kamala Harris, when she was in the Senate, led the filibuster against Republican Senator Tim Scott, an African American, his plan for police reform. So, is the filibuster racist? Is it wrong?”

Psaki replied, “As the president said just last week, Chris, it’s been abused, and in the first 50 years of the filibuster being around, it was used about 50 times. It was used five times that many last year. The president doesn’t think that’s how the filibuster should be used.”

The Democrats often used the filibuster to block civil rights legislation. But no one is supposed to remind them of those days. Regarding its frequent use last year, it looks like Psaki forgot which party was in the minority.

Psaki continued with her deflection. “There’s an easy solution here, though, which the president would certainly advocate for, which is Democrats and Republicans, Republicans coming to the table with a willingness and an openness to discussing how we get things done. They want to come the table and talk about how to make voting easier, more accessible, let’s have that conversation. The president is eager to have it.”

“He’s not eager to move with destroying the filibuster,” she added. “He’s eager to get things done for the American people, but he’s also not going to stand by and prevent forward moving progress from happening. So that’s what people heard from him last week.”

Wallace rightly points out the obvious, “If you’re talking about abuse of the filibuster over the last two years, the Democrats were in the minority, so they were the ones abusing it.”

Could it be that the radical transformation of the U.S. government under the Biden Administration has become too much even for anti-Trumper Chris Wallace?

We learned nothing from this interview. From the get-go, Psaki was in defense mode. She struggled to provide cover for an administration whose real motive is to amass power for the Democratic Party and make it difficult for Republicans to ever win another presidential election.

We are witnessing the most flagrant power grab by a political party in American history. The Trump years left the Democrats emboldened. They paid no consequences for perpetrating a plot to frame then-President Donald Trump for crimes they knew were false, two bogus impeachments and so much more. Now that they control the White House and both chambers of Congress, they’re looking to consolidate that power so they can control the U.S. for generations to come.

Dem Campaign to Change Manchin’s Mind on Filibuster Starts With Nomination of His Wife to Key Position

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Democrats have no shame. Not even a little bit.

Two Democratic Senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, currently stand in the way of their goal to abolish the legislative filibuster.

Naturally, Democrats are launching a major pressure campaign to get one or both to change their minds.

In a Friday press release, the White House announced that Gayle Manchin, Sen. Manchin’s wife, has been nominated to serve as the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. On its website, the organization describes itself as an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments which works to “strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.”

Manchin is eminently qualified for this position. As per the White House announcement:

An educator from West Virginia, Gayle Manchin worked in Marion County Schools, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University, and was the Director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program. She directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in WV and implemented a statewide initiative, WV Partnerships to Assure Student Success. Manchin previously served as West Virginia’s First Lady and was appointed to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, serving her last two years as President. She is the Chair of the Board for Reconnecting McDowell, Inc., an AFT initiative serving rural WV, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and as an Emeritus Member of The Education Alliance. She also served as Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Office of Education and the Arts.

Gayle Conelly Manchin attended West Virginia University, attaining her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in Reading, and a second master’s specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from Salem International University.

Still, most would agree the optics of her nomination coming at this time aren’t good.

Democratic leaders aren’t the only ones trying to influence Sens. Manchin and Sinema.

Politico reported this week that black civil rights leaders plan to lobby hard to persuade them to reconsider. Rev. Al Sharpton plans to hold town halls and rallies in Sinema’s and Manchin’s home states. He said, “The pressure that we are going to put on Sinema and Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism. Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.” I posted about this story here.

As I wrote, Sinema and/or Manchin may yet flip, but I would be willing to bet it wouldn’t be because Al Sharpton and his merry band of civil rights leaders came to their states and called them racists. The application of such overt pressure could backfire spectacularly on them, particularly in a bright red state like West Virginia.

Nor do I think offering his wife the co-chair position at ARC would cause Manchin to flip. He is well aware of how that would appear.

Expect the pressure on Sens. Manchin and Sinema from party leaders, colleagues, civil rights leaders and a portion of their voters to accelerate in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to watch the Democrats beclown themselves.

Black Leaders Take Aim at Sens. Sinema, Manchin Over Refusal to Nix Filibuster; ‘They Are, in Effect, Supporting Racism’

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The Senate website defines the filibuster as an “informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.” This device is meant to prevent the party in the Senate minority from being completely overpowered by the majority party.

Prior to the election, the Indivisible Project, a movement dedicated to advancing the election of progressive candidates, explained why the filibuster is bad news for Democrats:

“It’s simple: none of the progressive issues that Democratic candidates and congressional leaders are discussing today will become law unless we do something about the filibuster.”

“If [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell expects to be the Grim Reaper of progressive policies, the scythe he’ll use is the Senate filibuster. Unless we change the rules.”

With a 50-50 balance of power in the Senate, Democrats control the upper chamber by the slimmest margin possible.

Current Senate rules require a minimum of 60 votes to pass legislation. Some Democrats have hoped to abolish the filibuster so that only a simple majority of 51 votes (50 Democratic senators plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote) would be necessary to advance their progressive agenda.

Their latest challenge is that two Democratic Senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have both quite strongly announced their opposition to abolishing the filibuster.

Just two months ago, a representative for Sinema told The Washington Post’s White House reporter, Seung Min Kim, that “Kyrsten is against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.”

Up until then, conservatives had been counting on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to save us from being overrun by leftist lesiglation. Manchin won re-election in 2018 in a state that went overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump by nearly 40 points in 2020 and over 41 in 2016.

Shortly after the announcement from Team Sinema, Politico reported that Manchin was “emphatic” that he “will not vote to kill the filibuster.” Asked if there were any scenario in which he would change his mind, the senator replied: “None whatsoever that I will vote to get rid of the filibuster.”

Protecting the filibuster is essential to protecting us from the tyranny of the majority.

Even with the filibuster in place, Democrats can do and have already done a lot of damage. But their major radical initiatives, such as the Election Reform bill which passed the House earlier this month, granting statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and stacking the Supreme Court, can be blocked by the Republicans.

Naturally, Democrats are trying to exert maximum pressure on Sinema and Manchin to change their minds.

Politico has interviewed several black civil rights leaders to find out what they plan to do about this. According to Politico, “top [civil rights] officials framed the choice as existential for a party that depends on Black and brown voters — and they are planning pressure campaigns privately and publicly to make that clear.”

Rev. Al Sharpton plans to hold town halls and rallies in Sinema’s and Manchin’s home states. He said, “The pressure that we are going to put on Sinema and Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism. Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.”

Sharpton cautioned Democrats that if they fail to end the filibuster, then “civil rights leaders might have less reason to help generate enthusiasm and turnout in the 2022 midterm elections without being able to point to actual laws Democrats passed.”

Sounds like a threat.

He added, “Many of us, and certainly all of us in the civil rights leadership, are committed to policies and laws and causes, not to people’s political careers. We’re not into that. We want to change the country. And if there is not feasible evidence that we’re doing that, it is not in our concern to be aggressively involved.”

Sinema and/or Manchin may yet flip, but I would be willing to bet it wouldn’t be because Al Sharpton and his merry band of civil rights leaders come to their states and call them racists.

Although politicians are famous for flip-flopping, after putting out such a strong statement of opposition as her representative did in conversation with the Washington Post reporter, I would be surprised if Sinema caved. Sharpton’s actions might just make her dig in her heels a little deeper.

Manchin, on the other hand, strikes me as less resolute than Sinema. However, he did say he was “emphatic” he wouldn’t vote to end the filibuster.

There is another option. The Senate could potentially create a carve-out specifically for voting rights legislation, a measure they’ve taken before. The Senate has created exceptions to the filibuster in the past for confirmations of Supreme Court nominees and for budget reconciliation (which is how the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill was passed).

Manchin is currently the only Senate Democrat who is not a co-sponsor of the voting reform bill known as S. 1.

On Wednesday, Manchin told reporters, “I think all of us should be able to be united around voting rights, but it should be limited to voting rights.”

But if the bill were to be limited to votings rights, according to CBS News, “it would strip provisions related to campaign finance and ethics reform, which are key priorities for progressives.”

In a Tuesday statement, “Manchin expressed concerns about S. 1, and said that he would support bipartisan legislation on voting rights.” The statement said:

As the Senate prepares to take up the For the People Act, we must work toward a bipartisan solution that protects everyone’s right to vote, secures our elections from foreign interference, and increases transparency in our campaign finance laws. Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the U.S. government.

He issued another statement on Thursday in which he reiterated his opposition to creating a carve-out to the filibuster rule specifically for voting rights. He noted that would be “like being a little bit pregnant.” You either kill the filibuster or you keep it.

Let’s hope that both he and Sinema stand by their pledges not to abolish the filibuster. All Republican senators, even those whose votes can’t always be counted on, such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are unanimously opposed to ending the filibuster. They are also opposed to the voting reform bill.

Sinema and Manchin are the only thing standing between us and the enactment of the Democrats’ entire radical agenda.  Let’s hope they stand strong.