Well, now. We have an infrastructure bill. Took 10 months. But, we got it. At least some of it.
No thanks to the Orcasio-Cortez “wing” of Democrats. All six voted “No.” But, thanks to 13 Republicans who voted “Yes,” everyone can go home and brag to constituents about the big bucks coming their way thanks to “bipartisainship.”
While there is much rejoicing in D.C. at the moment, that celebration may be more for the Democrats finally doing something major than for final approval of the bill.
Here’s something to think about. President Biden sent his original request to the Hill, asking for $3.5 trillion for infrastructure. What he got back was much-altered paperwork with approval for $1.2-trillion. Less than half of what he wanted. Imagine the infrastructure projects that wound up as so much scrap on the congressional floor.
Democrats have a couple of other accomplishments which have been filibustered to death in the Senate. Hung up by a single objection by a single senator in a single phone call saying “I object.” What a way to run a railroad!
I’m guessing a lot of Dems are saying “Christmas holidays ahead so let’s get through the next few weeks and take some time out.” I can’t think of a worse attitude for the moment.
Yes, you pushed a peanut up the hill. With help. But, we had an election a few days back and the message sent sounded to me as pretty urgent. The work is not done!
We want the John Lewis Voting Rights Act passed and enacted into law. We want affordable housing assistance. We want tax laws re-written (and enforced) to end billionaire and corporate tax avoidance. We want an end to acrimony and wrangling in Congress. We want a return to legitimate two-party participation in D.C.. We want some of the billions spent on an out-of-control military defense budget diverted to programs to improve the lot of our own citizens. We want to be HEARD! And more.
“STAND and DELIVER!”
Those words are the title of a 1988 film about a courageous Hispanic math teacher. The film received rave reviews and the phrase “Stand and Deliver” has become part of our national lexicon.
I strongly commend the use of those words as an all-inclusive mantra for the National Democratic Party!
“STAND AND DELIVER.”
Democrats have had their majority for 10 months. In both Houses. Plenty of time to act on at least some of those 2020 campaign issues we bought off on. Just those. We want what the candidates promised. And, we want an end to Democrat fracturing keeping the majority from acting like one.
With rare exception - very rare - Democrats will not overcome the determined resistance of congressional Republicans. Not gonna happen. That’ll take another national election. Maybe two or three.
But, there’s a small crack in the current GOP wall. Sen. Murkowski says she’ll vote to approve the voting rights package. She’s signaled a willingness to help Democrats on that bill. Just that one. But, who knows? Might just be another GOP vote or two when the roll is called.
Last week’s election - congressional, gubernatorial or school board - seemed to carry a message: “Get done what we want done or we’ll replace you.” Both parties.
And, another thing. Senate Democrats have to have a major “woodshed” session with Sens. Sinema and Manchin. It’s time - way past time - for the Majority Leader to act like one.
Here in Arizona, there’s already a movement within the Democrat Party leadership to “primary” Sinema in the 2024 Senatorial race. Billboards, slick TV and newspaper ads are carrying that message. Her seat is not a “safe” seat by any measure.
Manchin - a winning Democrat in an otherwise solidly Republican state - is another matter. Majority Leader Schumer must find a “hammer” to get Manchin into line. Manchin has already been given too much leeway. He and Sinema are also stopping elimination of the filibuster or even “work-arounds” to get things moving in the Senate.
President Biden is an old Senate “Warhorse” with more than 30-years of experience as a member. Surely, he and Schumer can exert the right pressure in the right places to get Manchin and Sinema in line.
If “get-to-work-or-we’ll-replace-you” was an underlying message in the elections last week, Democrats had better take those words to heart. They’ve got the majority numbers, if not majority control. The stalemate is happening on their “watch.” Voters in many places are angry and tired of the “do nothing” atmosphere in both Houses of Congress. They want action. They want to see results.
“STAND AND DELIVER.”
Those three words should be considered both a message of urgency to get things done and a threat to “do nothing” incumbents. Democrats need to heed those words and get back to work!