Biden To GOP: Vote Against $1,400 Checks For Your Own Constituents. I Dare You.
In 2010, Democrats bypassed the Republican filibuster to pass the Affordable Care Act via budget reconciliation. In 2014, voters showed their gratitude to Democrats for making health insurance affordable for people with pre-existing conditions by handing control of the House and the Senate to the GOP. Months of fruitless negotiations allowed congressional Republicans to paint Obamacare as an Orwellian intrusion into Americans' private lives, a cudgel they've used to beat Democrats with ever since.
Remember when that twit Tomi Lahren told Chelsea Handler that Obamacare was evil socialism, but luckily she didn't have to purchase health insurance on the open market because she was 24, so she could stay on her parents' plan, blissfully unaware that this was a gift conferred by the dreaded Kenyan Marxist president? Haw haw, and also ooof, is there any better illustration of the Blue Team's failure to get the public to identify the popular provisions of Obamacare with the party that enacted it?
File this one under lessons learned. After courteously hearing out the Republican "moderates" who proposed a stimulus consisting of eight bucks and a bottle of generic Robitussin for every household, the Biden administration is racing toward a relief package that will get $1,400 checks in the mail and shots in people's arms. And they're making sure to sell it so voters will know who to thank in 2022 when they mail in their ballots.
And so, they're proceeding apace with a public pressure campaign. Fourteen senior Biden administration officials have already sat for more than 100 national TV, radio and podcast interviews on the "rescue" plan alone, aides said, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appearing on several Sunday shows, communications director Kate Bedingfield on "The View," and chief of staff Ron Klain rotating between evening TV networks. White House aides and outside allies have met with dozens of interest groups and community organizations while having some early success in convincing conservative governors, local officials and business groups to endorse the package — even if congressional Republicans are holding off.
Work it, y'all! Wrap yourself up in this bill and dare the GOP to vote against it. If Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy want to give Democrats sole credit for building a bridge that enables Americans to limp through the last mile to a post-pandemic economic recovery, let 'em. Democrats just took back the Senate because Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff promised voters to send them cash, but if the GOP wants to keep fighting it, so much the better.
Even Donald Trump came to the belated realization that handing people money was a popular position. But shit, maybe we'll get lucky and the Republican brain trust will name it Bidencare, or the Democrats Give People Cash Money Plan.
"This is one of those rare instances — maybe not exceedingly rare, but it doesn't happen often — where the best policy perfectly aligns with the politics," Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told Politico. "If I'm a candidate in 2022 running for the House or Senate, I think I'd want to be able to say we've had a robust Covid-19 relief bill, we raised the minimum wage, we made progress on health care, we've started to make progress on combating climate change and a whole range of issues candidates would want to run on."
"As much as it was difficult for our party at that time to deal with or even defend the (Affordable Care Act) because it wasn't really fully in effect, people also didn't understand it," he added. "We just didn't spend enough time advocating on its behalf, or in favor of it. And I think that hurt us."
So the White House is embarking on a massive outreach program to sell the recovery package.
"We're meeting with and talking to a lot of groups that are traditionally Republican," former Louisiana congressman Cedric Richmond, now a Biden senior adviser, told Politico. "Our goal is to talk to everybody, whether it's rural America, farms, agriculture, we're not assuming anything. We're not letting Republicans or anyone else be the only voice in any particular area."
And they're not letting the GOP slow down the bill with promises of good faith negotiations that never materialize, while simultaneously launching a smear campaign to frame it as vile socialism before it gets off the ground. (This ain't 2012, assholes.) While GOPers are busy kicking the shit out of each other over who did or did not support the Dear Leader, Democrats are busy moving the Covid bill through the House at breakneck speed.
Tomorrow it goes to the Education and Labor Committee for markup; Wednesday is Transportation and Infrastructure, Financial Services, and Agriculture; Thursday is Small Business, Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Commerce; Friday is Oversight and Reform. The Energy and Commerce Committee will get its red pens out some time this week, too, in time to rush the bill to the Rules Committee for final edits.
"Hopefully, in a two-week period of time, we'll send something over to the Senate and this will be done long before the due date of the expiration of so many initiatives," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week, referring to enhanced unemployment benefits and aid for airlines that will expire in March.
In summary and in conclusion, the GOP wants to make sure every American getting that $1,400 check knows Republicans fought tooth and nail to stop it going out. And we aren't mad about it.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.