Somewhat surprisingly, three major bipartisan deals are working their way through Congress.
The Biden Administration’s two big legislative priorities – Build Back Better and “voting rights” – blew up on the tarmac. That does not mean Congress has stopped work for the year. Three major bipartisan deals working their way through Congress saw new progress this week.
- First, a 16-Senator bipartisan “gang” is negotiating an update to the 1887 Electoral Count Act. This reform would clarify the vice president and Congress’s roles in electoral certification.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer abandoned his previous dismissiveness of this effort after his filibuster-busting scheme went bust. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also indicated interest in ECA reform.
- Second, the House of Representatives is finally moving on a China competitiveness bill. The Senate passed its own version in 2021 that would provide billions for US research and development and support a domestic semiconductor industry.
- The Senate bill was bipartisan, but House Republicans have problems with the House version. Any final bill will have to be negotiated between the two chambers.
- Finally, eight senators of both parties are negotiating a new bill to address the Russia-Ukraine crisis. It would provide lend-lease military equipment to Ukraine and impose new sanctions.
- The “mother of all Russian sanctions” bill would also create a new sanctions regime to target sectors of the Russian economy should Russia invade Ukraine. The compromise could also include a form of sanctions on the new Russo-German NordStream 2 pipeline that failed to pass in December.
- The Guardian published an interesting “glass half full” column calling out the “big lie” of civil war 2.0 fetishization that’s popular among left-wing academics/media types and right-wing populists. In fact, fears of political violence, “impending fascism,” etc. are greatly overblown – and they have the studies to back it up. It’s worth your time.
- The New York Times interviewed Ruy Teixeira, the originator of the influential “emerging Democratic majority” thesis in 2002. Teixeira, now a “liberal heretic,” thinks modern progressives have gone astray.
- James Carville always has something interesting to say. He dishes on Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and the 2022 midterms in a wide-ranging interview with Vox.
- In case you missed it, Charles C. W. Cooke wrote the definitive (satirical) piece on the Joe Biden-Peter Doocy “stupid SOB” incident. #DontBrowbeatMyPete
- From the Department of You-Can’t-Make-It-Up: Fox News covered the revelation that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky had to get her staff to “cover” for her during an interview so she could Google her own website to answer a question.
- Reason provides an update on the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) kidnapping plot, which every day looks more and more like entrapment.
Justice Stephen Breyer made his retirement announcement at the White House Thursday. His remarks were a paean to America, a country of 330 million people of “every point of view possible.” Breyer emphasized that Washington and Lincoln saw the United States of America is an “experiment.” Breyer reminded us that it is our duty, just as it was theirs, to show the world that this experiment still works.
The Sturm und Drang that consumes Washington, the media, and activists of all stripes can obscure the times when Washington works like its supposed to. Democrats’ dreams of federalizing election laws or spending $1.8 trillion have finally been dashed. Rightfully so – with a 50-50 Senate and a 5-seat House majority they were never realistic.
Instead, Electoral Count Act reform has gained steam thanks to the moderate Senators of both parties. Bills challenging Russia and China are in negotiations, proving that even in 2022 some politics still stops at the waters’ edge.
On these important issues – challenging our two largest geopolitical foes and ensuring our vote-counting process is clear and fair – there still seems to be more that unites us than what divides us. Justice Breyer is an optimist about the American experiment. We should be too.
© Dominic Moore, 2022