CNN: Dems Not In Disarray, But They Will Be. THEY WILL BE.
Congress is about to come back into session after its August recess, and House and Senate committees are getting to work writing the great big $3.5 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation bill that's set to include most of Joe Biden's domestic agenda. In the House, Nancy Pelosi wants to have it done by the end of September, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agrees more or less with that timeline, too. That's a lot of work to get done this month!
Fortunately, before any actual debate has begun, CNN is here with an article proclaiming DEEP RIFTS threaten to leave the negotiations in ruins. It's right there in the headline, which I accidentally mistyped as headlie and was tempted to leave: "Divisions spill into full view as negotiations over Democrats' $3.5 trillion plan heat up."
The story says that divisions over what should go into the reconciliation package are "spilling into the open" and could signal "just how fragile the execution of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda really is."
OMG, will these Dems ever not be in disarray?
There's only one teensy little problem with the actual reporting: While the story certainly identifies quite a few matters that will need to be negotiated as the bill is written, it completely fails to follow through on the hint that disagreements over the bill's contents or timing are insurmountable, or anywhere close to it. They're simply things that'll be debated and, most likely, worked out, because that's how big bills get written. There are issues and disagreements about priorities for sure, but not a single DEEP RIFT to be seen.
The article correctly points out that Build Back Better and its expansion of much of the social safety net is expected to "include proposals that [Democrats have] been working on for decades," which could supposedly imperil the whole ball o' wax, since some Dems
view this as a once in a lifetime package and individual members are keenly aware that with thin margins, every single member holds incredible sway over the bill's passage, which means having sway to get their legacy items passed.
But why is that necessarily going to lead to disaster and Deep Rifts? It might just as well result in compromise and cooperation, because these are Democrats we're talking about, not Republicans who think shutting down the government is just swell in hopes of killing Obamacare or extorting funding for a border wall. Neither of which worked.
Again, the article does identify a number of big issues that will need to be resolved, starting with Joe Manchin's ironclad vow that he could never ever vote for $3.5 trillion budget bill — or at least not "without greater clarity" about why Congress isn't terrified of inflation and debt, which may end up scaring him less on a day when he isn't writing an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
Insurmountable? Seems kind of unlikely, though there's sure to be whining and drama, since that's how Manchin do.
As a list of issues that'll need to be worked out, the article isn't half bad, noting that some members would like to make the expanded child tax credit permanent, although reconciliation rules probably mean they'll have to settle for extending it for a few years. Other unresolved questions include:
- Whether to repeal the state and local tax deduction cap from the 2017 tax bill
- Expanding Medicare to cover vision, hearing, and dental care
- Whether to include some kind of immigration reform, and if so, how to shape it so it'll pass the scrutiny of the Senate parliamentarian
- Whether to reform capital gains taxes by a little or a lot; a lot would include eliminating the "step up in basis" loophole that lets rich people avoid taxes on inherited assets
- How much to raise the corporate tax rate
- Whether and how to include prescription drug price reforms for Medicare
- The overall size and scope of tax increases (on rich people)
Those are the DEEP RIFTS? Get the fuck outta here, CNN. Not one of those items is a poison pill. There will be meetings and the trading of metaphorical horses, and Nancy Pelosi may need to give some members of the House a Stern Look, but we don't see anything that even remotely looks like a sign of Joe Biden's agenda being on shaky ground.
Will Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema say shit-stirring things that make progressives wish the vaccines really did contain mind control microchips? Absolutely. But there's no reason at all to think anyone in the Democratic caucus is dreaming of how much fun it would be to blow up Biden's presidency, or the Democrats' hopes for the 2022 midterms.
Just to be sure, we did check to see who at CNN wrote this tripe. Surprisingly, Chris Cillizza's name isn't on it, unless he's adopted the nom de wrongness "Lauren Fox."
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