Cup of Joe – 7/30/21

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that all 50 Democrats will vote to move forward on the party’s $3.5 trillion social spending proposal, Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “I’m proud of my Democratic caucus, every one of them voting yesterday for this bill and all pledging to go forward on the second track as well.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told CNN that he supports moving ahead on the Democrats’ budget resolution, which would pave the way for taking up the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.  Said Manchin: “We should move forward with the budget resolution because you got to get on the bill to work.”

So that means Josh Marshall is right about that preening drama queen Kirsten Sinema, who said yesterday that she thought $3.5 million was too much: “I think this is best interpreted as Sinema throwing up a flag that she’s going to continue to preen and create drama for the purpose of building a reputation as an uber-‘moderate’ and generally have everyone kiss up to her.”

“She wants to come out of this as the person who wasn’t totally down with Democratic priorities and shaved the numbers down, at least a bit. If she really wanted to stop the process she wouldn’t vote to let it begin, which she is. That tells you the story.”

The number 1 priority in 2024, aside from reelecting Joe Biden, is defeating Sinemain a primary. Another real Democrat can win in Arizona as we proved twice in 2020.

The bipartisan infrastructure deal cleared a key Senate procedural vote Wednesday night by 67 to 32. It’s surprising the bill attracted 17 Republican votes, but it’s even more surprising that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted for the bill.

That was surprising, because as Jonathan Bernstein explains the McConnell Theory of Opposition, “as long as the out-party opposes any bill it will automatically be seen as controversial, lose popularity and therefore fail to deliver any electoral rewards for the president’s party.”

Of course, last night’s vote does not mean the deal is done. Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t even bring up the bipartisan bill for a vote until the Senate passes a broader $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. And many progressive Democrats are furious and dropping veiled threats of voting against the bill. Which is probably why McConnell decided this course: he wants to divide the Democrats.

And that could happen. But for the moment, Biden has the upper hand on McConnell. Settling for a $1.2 trillion bill because you hope it will derail a $3.5 trillion bill is not a position of strength.

“From what we have heard, having seen no text, this bill is going to be status quo, 1950s policy with a little tiny add-on. If it’s what I think it is, I will be opposed.” — House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), quoted by the New York Times, threatening to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Punchbowl News: “This is a problem, one the White House can’t ignore. But we also know that Pelosi & Co. are realists. Faced with the possibility of not passing either bill this fall when reconciliation comes up while also fighting over the debt limit and government funding, there’ll be limits to what can be done. And the 2022 elections — with the possibility of losing the Congress — will loom that much larger. So threats should be taken with a grain of salt at this point.”

new memo from Mike Donilon, one of President Biden’s closest advisers, argues that swing voters want Congress to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, and embrace solutions where the two parties “meet in the middle,” Axios reports.

“Congress on Thursday rapidly cleared a $2.1 billion emergency spending package that will avert a Capitol Police funding crisis sparked by the Jan. 6 riot and also provide urgent funds to evacuate and resettle Afghans who aided U.S. forces during the 20-year war in their homeland,” the Washington Post reports.

“Leaders of the Capitol Police and National Guard units warned of imminent cuts if Congress did not act to backfill expenditures made in the wake of the Capitol attack, and lawmakers responded swiftly by congressional standards, delivering a bipartisan package that advanced to the Senate floor with relatively little drama.”

“U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 6.5% annual rate in the second quarter, up slightly from earlier in the year, pushing the economy’s size beyond its pre-pandemic level,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, CNBC notes that was well below the Dow Jones estimate of 8.4%.

The Biden administration is requesting that Congress act to extend a federal moratorium on the evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on their rent during the Covid-19 pandemic, citing tenants’ “heightened vulnerability” because of the Delta variant of the virus, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Biden administration is calling on states, territories and local governments to pay $100 to Americans who remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus to get their shots,” the New York Times reports.

“The move comes as concern has grown about rising cases across the country, and the administration has shifted its strategy to focus on more personalized approaches.”

Monkey Cage: “If you rely on Facebook to get news and information about the coronavirus, you are substantially less likely than the average American to say you have been vaccinated. In fact, Facebook news consumers are less likely to be vaccinated than people who get their coronavirus information from Fox News.” If only Facebook could mandate vaccination among its readers.

CNN: “The shift toward placing the onus for the current situation on those who have refused to get vaccinated reflects Biden’s growing impatience that still-hesitant Americans are prolonging a crisis he said earlier this month was no longer paralyzing the nation.”

“Instead of merely asking Americans to get vaccinated, the President on Thursday is set to take his first step toward requiring it. In afternoon remarks, Biden is planning to announce that all federal employees must attest to being vaccinated against Covid-19 or face strict protocols including regular testing, masking and other mitigation measures.”

Some of the most vaccine-resistant parts of the U.S. are now leading the country in the number of people getting a first dose of vaccine, a Bloomberg analysis shows, as surging infections and rising hospitalizations push formerly reluctant Americans to protect themselves.

“It scares the hell out of me, it’ll kill you dead as a doornail, I’ve seen it. And we’ve got a way to stop it. You don’t have to take it if you don’t want to — this is America — but it scares me to death.”  — Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), quoted by NBC News, urging people to get vaccinated. Thanks idiot country bumpkin, for that wildly inconsistent massage. If you want to live and to be free, you are required to be vaccinated.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) announced that he and his wife have contracted Covid-19 for a second time and “this episode is far more challenging,” Axios reports.  He claimed he got Covid in January 2020 “before the world really knew what it was” but said this time the virus has “required all of my devoted energy.”  Higgins has advocated for people to get inoculated against Covid-19, but hasn’t publicly stated whether he has been vaccinated, per NBC News.

Ezra Klein: “We do not solely rely on argumentation to persuade people to wear seat belts. A majority of states do not leave it to individual debaters to hash out whether you can smoke in indoor workplaces. Polio and measles were murderous, but their near elimination required vaccine mandates, not just public education.”

“Making it more annoying to be unvaccinated won’t persuade everyone to get a shot. But we don’t need everyone. According to Kaiser’s data, 16 percent of American adults are still in the wait-and-see or only-if-required categories. If they all got vaccinated, we’d hit herd immunity in most places.”

“Senate Democrats are preparing to release a revised voting rights bill as soon as this week, hoping to keep the legislation alive a month after Republicans blocked the consideration of a previous, more sweeping proposal,” the Washington Post reports.

“Several key senators huddled inside Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s office on Wednesday to hash out the details of the bill, which is expected to at least partially incorporate a framework assembled by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who expressed qualms about the previous bill, known as the For the People Act.”

“They emerged saying a new product could be released in a matter of days.”

Former President Trump lashed out at Senate Republicans after the upper chamber voted to take up debate on a bipartisan infrastructure package, accusing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and “RINOs” for surrendering to Democrats, The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “Under the weak leadership of Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans continue to lose. He lost Arizona, he lost Georgia, he ignored Election Fraud and he doesn’t fight.”

He added: “Now he’s giving Democrats everything they want and getting nothing in return. No deal is better than a bad deal. Fight for America, not for special interests and Radical Democrats. RINOs are ruining America, right alongside Communist Democrats.”

Considering two-thirds of the Senate backed the deal, one has to wonder how big Trump’s constituency really is.

What a weak impotent man. He couldn’t get a congressional widow elected in Texas. He has no juice. He is screaming into the wind. And he is having a temper tantrum because he is having a really bad week.

  • Like I mentioned, Trump’s favored candidate lost in a Texas special election even after his political action committee pumped another $100,000 into advertising in the final weekend.
  • Trump’s threat of primary challenges to Republican senators who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure deal did nothing to stop the bill from advancing and 17 Republicans senators defied him.
  • Trump’s attempt to derail a congressional investigation into the January 6 Capitol riots failed and the first of many months of hearings were devastating.

It really was “infrastructure week” for Trump.

New York Times: “The huge increase in government aid prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will cut poverty nearly in half this year from pre-pandemic levels and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of a vast but temporary expansion of the safety net.”

“The number of poor Americans is expected to fall by nearly 20 million from 2018 levels, a decline of almost 45 percent. The country has never cut poverty so much in such a short period of time.”

Republican House members and their staff are not happy with new Capitol Police memo on wearing face masks, Politico reports. It states: “If a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask… the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to House and if they keep trying, could be subject to an arrest for unlawful entry.”

Good. And cry more idiot conservatives.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) confronted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) about a new Capitol Police bulletin that suggests congressional staffers and visitors could be arrested if they fail to heed the chamber’s new mask mandate, Politico reports. Said Roy: “This is bullshit. We need to lead.”

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) has apparently found a way to evade the House’s mask fines, CNN reports.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is suing Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the chamber’s mask penalties, said Clyde changed his tax withholding in a way that makes it nearly impossible for the House to collect the thousands of dollars in fines Clyde has racked up for refusing to mask up on the House floor.

Normally fines are taken out of a member’s congressional salary, but Clyde “went to payroll and had his federal withholding raised to $11,284 a month. So he only gets $1 of pay.”

Daily Beast: “Michael Fanone, one of the many cops who fended off rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, said he expected the largest police union in the country, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), to come out strongly in defense of him and fellow officers. The cops who stared down violent pro-Trump mobs that day have not only had to deal with their own physical and emotional injuries, but have also endured criticism from Republican lawmakers, hostile civilians, and even efforts by the former president to downplay the seriousness of the January riot.”

“But in an interview on CNN Wednesday, Fanone—fresh from testifying to Congress on Tuesday about his experience at the Capitol—said he received no outreach from the union immediately after Jan. 6. Even though the D.C. Metro cop has been a dues-paying member of the FOP since he first became a police officer, he said, it wasn’t until six months after the riot that he spoke with FOP President Patrick Yoes to voice his concerns about a lack of support from the union.”

Alexandra Petri: “​​The point is not that the Unified Trump GOP Canon for What Truly Happened on Jan. 6 is being continually and contradictorily rewritten. The point is not that what we are being told is absurd, inconsistent and downright goofy.”

“The point is that the specifics don’t matter; what matters is that we are being told, blatantly, repeatedly and without shame, that we simply did not see what we saw, and we are expected to go along with it. This is an exercise in power, to see how malleable our reality really is.”

“The Biden administration is proposing a rule that would accelerate federal procurement policy to require a higher level of American-made products,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The government would require that products obtained under the longstanding ‘Buy American’ program have at least 60% of the value of components made in the U.S., up from the current 55% threshold. That would increase to 75% by 2029.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that President Biden “does not have the power to forgive student loan debt, putting her at odds with some members of her own Democratic caucus as the pressure builds on the president to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower,” CBS News reports.

Said Pelosi: “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power.”

New York Times: “In the barren desert 1,200 miles west of Beijing, the Chinese government is digging a new field of what appears to be 110 silos for launching nuclear missiles. It is the second such field discovered by analysts studying commercial satellite images in recent weeks.”

“It may signify a vast expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal — the cravings of an economic and technological superpower to show that, after decades of restraint, it is ready to wield an arsenal the size of Washington’s, or Moscow’s. Or, it may simply be a creative, if costly, negotiating ploy. The new silos are clearly being built to be discovered.”

Look at Sinema in that photo. What a piece of work she is.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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