Biden Goes Moderate in Year Two
Breaking up Build Back Better
•Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in federal court in the civil rights case against three Minneapolis police officers who allegedly stood by as fellow officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd.
•How did President Biden do in his first year in office? What do you think of his more moderate agenda for 2022? Leave your comments here or email your comments to email@example.com.
Build Back Piecemeal – From his one hour, 51-minute press conference Wednesday, it looks like the difference between Year One and Year Two of President Biden’s administration will be a move to the middle.
Biden admitted in the presser his $1.75-trillion (or so) Build Back Better social infrastructure plan will be split up into smaller programs to better appeal to the kind of bipartisan support that got his infrastructure bill through both chambers last year.
“It’s clear to me that we’re probably going to have to break it up,” Biden said. … “I’m confident we can get big chunks of Build Back Better signed into law.”
Now he tells us: Politico notes that White House aides last year were “happy” to promote Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT), chair of the Budget Committee, as author of the initial legislation (back when it had a $3.5-trillion price tag).
“Don’t call me Bernie … I like him, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat, and I have been.”
Note: Biden and supporters often compare his agenda with what FDR and LBJ got done. President Reagan overturned the remains of the New Deal and the Great Society. Biden evidently wanted to overturn Reaganomics. But that was never going to happen with the Democratic Party’s thin majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives, and this year, the first order of business for the White House is to get House progressives in line, on its way to getting Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) in line.
Biden, who was first elected to the Senate during the Nixon administration, is a pre-Reagan moderate Democrat; Certainly, a pre-Trump moderate from before the MAGA crowd began referring to the entire Democratic Party as “socialists.”
Biden’s Controversial Answer on Ukraine -- On Russia v. Ukraine: “I think what you’re going to see is Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we [i.e., NATO members] end up fighting about what to do and not do, etc. But if they [the Russians] do what they’re actually capable of doing with their forces amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia. (If they invade) … our partners are going to incur severe cuts on Russia and the Russian economy.”
Note: Welcome to the New Cold War.
Voting Rights and Filibuster Reform Go as Planned -- By Senate Republicans, that is. They blocked votes on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday evening, thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) joining them in voting down Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) attempt to change filibuster rules, 52-48.
Reform the Electoral Count Act: In the aftermath of Wednesday evening’s voting rights bill debacle, if there is any legislation related to protecting the integrity of elections it will be through the reformation of the Electoral Count Act. Compared with the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, such reform would be a rather narrow preventative to make sure state partisan election officials do not try to overturn the results of voters’ will on the Electoral College for president in 2024, when Donald J. Trump probably will run if one of myriad investigations don’t get him first.
Note: That’s why such never-Trump conservatives as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has indicated interest in tackling the arcane, flawed 1887 Electoral Count Act.
How is That Executive Privilege Claim Working Out? – The National Archives can turn over Trump administration paperwork related to the January 6 insurrection to the House Select Committee investigating what happened (or didn’t) that day. The Supreme Court says so. Last evening it released an unsigned, one-paragraph statement to that effect. Apparently only Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed.
(Thomas’s wife, Ginni, signed a letter this week which says, in part, according to Slate, "The actions of Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger on behalf of House Democrats have given supposedly bipartisan justification to an overtly partisan political persecution that brings disrespect to our country's rule of law, legal harassment to private citizens who have done nothing wrong, and which demeans the standing of the House.") Trump had been claiming executive privilege, despite the facts that (1) he is no longer president and (2) Joe Biden, who is the president and so has such privilege, had previously signed off on the release of the documents.
The 1/6 panel is now seeking phone records from Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Kimberly Guillfoyle, both of whom attended Trump Sr.’s January 6 rally prior to the Capitol attack.
Meanwhile, Back at the Comfort Inn – New government court filings say the Oath Keepers extremist group in organizing for the January 6 Capitol insurrection allegedly stashed enough weapons, ammunition and supplies in a Virginia Comfort Inn motel to last 30 days, The Hill reports. The stockpiling was allegedly part of a “quick reaction force” in case Oath Keepers rioting the Capitol needed backup. The filing argues that because of the stockpiling of weapons and ammo, Oath Keeper Edward Vallejo should be held in jail while he awaits trial in federal court.
Note: Tourism sure has changed during the pandemic.
--Todd Lassa and Gary S. Vasilash