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President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are pressing ahead with their strictly partisan, $1.9 trillion “relief” bill — chasing Democrats’ agenda at the nation’s risk.
So far, it’s working: The Senate, with Veep Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, passed a budget resolution early Friday morning that will allow the Biden bill to pass that chamber with a similar 51-50 majority, no filibuster allowed.
Moderate senators got a few near-meaningless amendments included: one to prevent imposing a nationwide $15 minimum wage as long as the pandemic continues; one expressing displeasure with the president’s killing of the Keystone XL pipeline; a (sigh) non-binding one to prevent $1,400 relief checks going to “upper-income taxpayers.”
But danger signs abound. Most notably, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been caustically critical of Biden & Co.’s refusal to seek meaningful compromise. Coming from the least Biden-friendly state in the last election, he’s awfully hard to pressure, should he decide to oppose the actual relief bill.
And that measure is sure to include all manner of controversial stuff: That’s why Democrats are trying this gambit, after all.
All of which puts the widely supported parts of Biden’s plan at risk — that is, the roughly $600 billion that has plenty of Republican support. If the president proves to have overplayed his hand, and his bill ends up failing, that genuine relief will be at least delayed.
As important, the new president has signaled that his talk of “unity” simply means that he expects Republicans to bend to his will, which means swallowing the agenda of the hard left of the Democratic Party. Way to unify . . . the GOP, Joe.
Biden had a chance to truly change the tone in Washington. Shame on him for passing on it.
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