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Infrastructure Bill Moved Forward Today-- As 18 GOP Senators Ignore Trump's Ravings



Not fringe extremists like Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mad Cawthorn (Nazi-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) or Mary Miller (Q-IL) or craven too-smart-for-the-room sociopaths like Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rick Scott (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY) or Josh Hawley (R-MO), but some Republicans-- the ones who just like the good job and don't want to lose it-- are suddenly waking up to a threat that's been hanging over this country for 5 years. Some Republicans may be asking themselves how exactly did Hitler come to power? How did Germany flush democracy down the toilet in 1933? The context in the late 1920s was economic and political turmoil. And like Trump's first coup attempt on 1/6, Hitler's first coup in late 1923 was a dismal failure, so ridiculous that no one took it very seriously. Hitler was given slap on the wrist and served a few months in jail.


Millions of voters liked Hitler's simplistic nationalism and calls for extreme law and order and were tired of the elderly politicians of all the established parties who were disliked and seen as failures by huge segments of the population-- similar to how American voters see Pelosi and McConnell. Hitler, who thrived on instability, used chaos the same way that Trump does. German conservatives-- inside and outside government, the old ruling class and new business class-- thought they could control Hitler and use him for their own purposes-- the same way conservatives have treated Trump.


The German conservative elite-- which hated the left and labor unions decided to "make a deal with the Devil." Political heavy-weights on the right like Chancellor Franz Von Papen, Hjalmar Schacht (who wound up in a concentration camp) and Oskar von Hindenburg (President von Hindenburg's son) threw in with top industrialists, Fritz Thyssen (who also wound up in a concentration camp), Ernst Brandi, Georg von Schnitzler (IG Farben) and Gustav Krupp to fund the Nazi Party and then to give Hitler a chance to destroy the left, after which they figured they could oust him and restore the monarchy.


They were wrong in both cases. Even though the 1932 Reichstag elections went badly for the Nazi Party-- which was down 11% from the Reichstag elections 4 months earlier-- these conservative elites pressured President von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor two months later.


Once Hitler was in power, the Nazis staged a pretext for taking over-- the so-called Reichstag fire. Hitler started screaming "There will be no mercy now. Anyone who stands in our way will be cut down." The next morning von Hindenburg signed the Reichstag Fire Decree, which led right to the the end of civil rights and the beginning of the dictatorship Hitler wanted. Opposition to Naziism was outlawed. In the next election, the Nazis still failed to get a majority but forced the Reichstag to pass (444 to 94) the Enabling Act, giving him complete control.


Today the Democrats won the first cloture vote to move forward with Biden's conservative infrastructure bill. 18 conservative (but not particularly fascist) Republicans-- Blunt, Capito, Cassidy, Collins, Cornyn, Cramer, Crapo, Fischer, Grassley, Hoeven, McConnell, Murkowski, Portman, Risch, Romney, Rounds, Tillis and Young-- joined all the Democrats to pass it 67-27. They disobeyed Trump, knowing full well he will label them RINOs.


This is Trump's statement from earlier today. Obviously, someone more coherent than he is, wrote it for him:


Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is a disgrace. If Mitch McConnell was smart, which we’ve seen no evidence of, he would use the debt ceiling card to negotiate a good infrastructure package.
This is a 2,700 page bill that no one could have possibly read—they would have needed to take speed reading courses. It is a gift to the Democrat Party, compliments of Mitch McConnell and some RINOs, who have no idea what they are doing. There is very little on infrastructure in all of those pages. Instead, they track your driving so they can tax you. It is Joe Biden’s form of a gas tax but far bigger, far higher and, mark my words, far worse. They want to track you everywhere you go and watch everything you do!
Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill will be used against the Republican Party in the upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024. It will be very hard for me to endorse anyone foolish enough to vote in favor of this deal.
The good news is that the progressive wing in the Democrat Party will lose all credibility with this approval. Additionally, Kevin McCarthy and Republican House members seem to be against the bill. If it can’t be killed in the Senate, maybe it dies in the House!
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats understand that this is the way to get the horrendous $3.5 trillion, actually $5 trillion, Green New Deal bill done in the House. Mitch is playing right into Nancy’s hands, not to mention the fact Chuck Schumer is already going around saying this is a big victory for the Democrats. Whether it’s the House or the Senate, think twice before you approve this terrible deal. Republicans should wait until after the Midterms when they will gain all the strength they’ll need to make a good deal, but remember, you already have the card, it’s called the debt ceiling, which the Democrats threatened us with constantly.

The two Florida senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were very conspicuously absent and not voting today.


Before the vote, L.A. Times reporters Eli Stokols and Jennifer Haberkorn asked why McConnell is giving Biden a bipartisan win on infrastructure. Bear in mind, though, that's there's another vote this tomorrow that will definitively shut down the filibuster by clowns like Cruz, Hawley and a new star of raging fascism, freshman Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.


Stokols and Haberkorn reminded their readers that McConnell has said he is "100%" focused on stopping Biden’s agenda-- and yet he voted with every Senate Democrat last week (and again today) to set the stage for passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill that would be a major political win for the White House-- and in the face of multiple missives from Señor Trumpanzee demanding they block it.


"At a moment of such intense partisanship," they wrote "this momentary alignment of incentives for Democrats and Republicans... is the Washington equivalent of a total eclipse. However rare and fleeting, Republicans and Democrats believe they are serving their own self-interests, not just the president’s, in voting to pass a bipartisan bill to improve roads, bridges, rail lines, water pipes and broadband networks. 'Every incumbent benefits from the sense that the Congress can figure out how to get important things done,' said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)... After Trump failed to achieve infrastructure legislation-- his repeated efforts to promote 'Infrastructure Week' became a running Washington joke-- Biden has sought to leverage his 36 years of experience in the Senate to pursue a domestic program modeled after President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.


“The president always felt like this is a bill that’s going to get Republican support because these are issues that have always been bipartisan,” said Anita Dunn, counselor to the president, in an interview. “We haven’t had a major infrastructure bill in this country for a long time, and there’s desperate need for it.”
President Obama, who provoked strong reactions from the GOP base, exhausted precious political capital in his first two years in office on a more ideological push for healthcare reform. Conversely, Republicans have struggled to negatively define Biden, and his prioritization of infrastructure legislation has maintained broad public support and generated little political backlash.
“It’s not like we’re asking people to vote for unpopular things,” Dunn said. “We’re asking them to vote for popular things.”
Seven in 10 Americans back the bipartisan infrastructure proposal, according to a Monmouth University poll that the White House cited in a memo to lawmakers this week. The initiative also has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups, as well as the country’s largest labor unions.
With both parties looking ahead at the 2022 midterm election that will decide control of Congress, several Republicans have calculated there’s more risk in outright obstinacy than occasionally meeting the president in the middle.
“If you’re a Republican, you want to prove that you’re not just here to completely block and stop the entire agenda,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate. “It’d be good maybe for the administration and they probably need a win right about now, but I also think that there are benefits politically to members on both sides.”
Biden’s push for bipartisan legislation has required persistence, flexibility and legislative acrobatics. After talks with Republicans faltered in early June, Biden encouraged his team to engage with a bipartisan group of senators drawing up their own infrastructure plan. After agreeing to a basic framework, Biden nearly torpedoed the effort by saying he wouldn’t sign it until Democrats passed their own companion bill-- a likely $3.5-trillion package through the budget reconciliation process.
Though Biden quickly walked back that comment, his blunt assertion underlined his pursuit of a two-track approach that has proven-- so far-- to be politically shrewd.
The two bills, in theory, placate both ends of the president’s party: moderates craving a return to bipartisan deal-making and progressives eager to enact a broader agenda-- giving Democrats, as some Republicans have argued, a chance to have it both ways.
“If you can get major legislation through with support from both parties, in Washington right now, that is a major accomplishment,” said Mike DuHaime, a GOP strategist in New Jersey. “He’s giving cover to a lot of Democrats in swing districts who need it. And it does give him freedom to go in a more partisan direction on other things.”
But the bifurcated approach also benefits Republicans. By backing the bipartisan bill, they can showcase a willingness to work with a Democratic administration to advance shared goals, while vehemently opposing the Democrats’ second bill, a release valve for the partisan steam that animates the party’s base.
“For Republicans, it’s a two-fer,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster. “There’s lots to like in both positions.”
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who has supported the bipartisan bill while opposing the Democrats’ reconciliation measure, is OK giving the president a bipartisan “win,” believing GOP lawmakers will benefit from delivering their voters long-needed improvements and projects.
“Not every transaction requires a winner and a loser,” Cramer said. “Some transactions can have winners on both sides. I think infrastructure along with national defense are the policy issues that provide opportunities for us to do the right thing.”
Republicans also feel confident that any bipartisan credit Biden receives from the deal will come crashing down when Democrats turn to the partisan proposal.
“The problem he’s going to have is he’s going to shift within minutes of passage of this bipartisan bill into a hyper-partisan bill,” Cramer said. “He will in that moment, I think, squander all the goodwill he would rightfully deserve.”
Republicans plan to attack Biden for ramming through a costly partisan bill immediately after reaching across the aisle. They have already warned that Democrats will attempt to raise taxes on higher earners to pay for the plan.
But drawing a clear distinction between the two bills could be something of a challenge. Republicans “want to be sure voters understand the difference in this bill and the next bill,” said Blunt, the Republican senator from Missouri. “And it is a fairly hard sell.”
To that end, McConnell and other Republican leaders, such as Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who led negotiations on the bipartisan proposal, have stressed to their colleagues in closed-door lunches that the two bills are separate-- that backing the infrastructure plan doesn’t amount to enabling the Democrats’ larger agenda.
Many Democrats believe the tangible benefits for Americans in their go-it-alone measure-- and potential tax hikes on people earning more than $400,000 a year that would pay for the new programs-- are popular, setting up their 2022 campaigns to draw sharp distinctions with their GOP opponents.
“I look forward to running on both bills,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who is up for reelection next year. “After years and years of obstruction, years and years of just partisan warfare that hasn’t delivered much for the American people, we now, with these two bills, are going to deliver quite a lot.”

"Infrastructure" by Nancy Ohanian