Biden held a conference call with a group of Democratic moderates and conservatives yesterday-- his kind of senators-- including Joe Manchin (WV), Mark Warner (VA), Tom Carper (DE), Dick Durbin (IL), Maggie Hassan (NH) Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Frackenlooper (CO), Jon Tester (MT), and Angus King (I-ME). I wonder what West Virginia voters will think if they ever find out that Manchin's contribution was to whine that the weekly unemployment benefit in the House-passed COVID-Rescue package should be reduced from $400 to $300. As one of two Democratic senators-- the other being Kyrsten Sinema-- who prevented an increase in the minimum wage, they might conclude that Manchin doesn't give a flying fuck about working families.
Meanwhile, House Dems are doing what they did all the while it was McConnell killed all their initiatives instead of Manchin and Sinema-- pass "messaging bills" that will never get to the president's desk-- their ambitious, progressive agenda, as CBS News called it this morning.
The House is expected vote on H.R. 1, a comprehensive election reform bill, later this week. It is also expected to take up a wide-ranging policing reform bill, a gun control measure and a labor bill protecting union organizing rights. This comes after the House approved the Equality Act last week, a bill that would enshrine legal protections for LGBTQ Americans.
Several of these measures have previously passed in the House but stalled in the Senate, as then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring them to the floor for consideration. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had referred to McConnell as the "grim reaper," overseeing the "legislative graveyard" of the Senate. However, even with Democrats now nominally in control of the Senate, many of these bills still face an uncertain future.
I'm pretty sure it was McConnell who referred to himself as the grim reaper long before Pelosi called him that. And the Senate is still a legislative graveyard. The only difference is now, the conservatives who will-- rightfully-- get the blame are not necessarily just McConnell and the GOP but equally rotten Democrats like Manchin and Sinema (+ the 2 creeps each from Delaware, New Hampshire and Virginia and newbies Mark Kelly and Frackenlooper). Watch that New Hampshire imbecile Maggie Hassan, who only won in 2016 by a thousand votes-- 354,649 (48.0%) to 353,632 (47.8%)-- go down to defeat in 2022, in a state that just crushed the conservative Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes-- with just a third of the vote, 516,609 (65.2%) to 264,639 (33.4%). The pathetic Feltes who had run as a conservative against the progressive in the primary, lost every single county in the state. Hassan is exactly like him. (Over 160,000 New Hampshire voters who cast ballots against Trump, went on to cast ballots against Feltes.)
The only way for Democrats to get any of this ambitious platform that Biden dubiously claims to support is by eliminating-- or reforming-- the legislative filibuster Biden. But that can't be done without support from Manchin and Sinema either. She said she will never vote to back killing the filibuster and isn't open to even discussing it and Manchin screeched at reporters Monday when they asked him if he would change his mind on it: "Never! Jesus Christ! What don't you understand about never?"
CBS reporter Grace Segers noted that "Senate Democrats invoked the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for most judicial nominees in 2013, and Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017. Defenders of the filibuster argue that it preserves the rights of the minority, but opponents say that it allows the minority to hold the will of the majority of Americans hostage by preventing the party in power from implementing its agenda. Republicans have expressed opposition to several of the bills under consideration in the House. H.R. 1 was a major target of speakers during the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend, and was even mentioned by former President Donald Trump in his speech. The legislation includes campaign financing reform, expanding voting rights and anti-corruption measures."
Meanwhile, also this morning, Annie Nova reported for CNBC that the reconciliation bill has no extension of the national ban on evictions that is set to expire this month, meaning millions of Americans could be at risk of losing their homes. Biden says he wants to extend it, for whatever that means, and asked Congress to pass legislation accomplishing that.knowing full-well that would be impossible with a Republican filibuster. Advocates are asking Biden to extend it via executive order, which he has refused to do. "Around 1 in 5 renters," wrote Nova, "said they were not caught up on their rent in January, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities. Closer to 36% of Black renters said they were behind. A high volume of evictions could thwart the country’s efforts to get the pandemic under control. Recent research has found that evictions lead to significantly more coronavirus cases and deaths in an area."
So let's go back to a mid-January Navigator poll that asked the American people about the filibuster, that is so precious to conservatives like McConnell, Biden, Manchin and Sinema. What do Americans really think about it?
Most Americans say they think getting rid of the filibuster would make the government work better for the people. Only 13% (including just 23% of Republicans) disagree. Most Americans see the gridlock that conservatives cherish as their enemy and they realize that the filibuster is the problem.
What can I say? This is what you get when you vote for Republicans or for the lesser of two evils Democraps from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. It's why I didn't vote for Obama in 2012, for Hillary in 2016 or for Biden last year. I vote for candidates, not against candidates. Lesser of two evils is still evil, as people are beginning to figure out about Joe Biden, something they could have figured out, as I did, in 1972 when he first ran for the U.S. Senate as a racist champion of white grievance, the exact same kind that we now recognize as pure Trumpism. So, no, Biden ain't getting better with time.