WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden closed a door with senators from his own party, apparently for naught. An eyebrow-raising speech on the Senate floor by a resolute Democrat. And a defiant news conference by top House Republicans.
Each incident happened on Thursday. No one was helpful to the Democrats. And all were snapshots of the day that underscore the washing of division and futility over largely gridlocked Washington during this jagged partisan time.
I hope we get it done. God’s honest answer is that I don’t know if we can get it done, Biden admitted to reporters after a lunchtime meeting with Senate Democrats, where he sought support for the party’s latest founding priority: voting rights legislation. ,
Biden said that the voting scale may have failed, but it seemed certain that as long as I had one breath, he would remain in the fight. Still, the events of that day portrayed his limited political capital at a time when his voting numbers were in the dumps and Democrats had almost no margin for error in Congress, which they control by a hair’s breadth.
Biden’s party is focusing these days on an investigation into the voting rights bill and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who is trying to prevent lawmakers from attesting to his re-defeat. Is. Huh. Both efforts are speaking head-on against the GOP.
In the case of voting law, state laws passed by the GOP aimed at limiting voting, often by minorities, have been pushed by Democrats through a narrowly divided House. But things are different in the 50-50 Senate, where they require consensus before Vice President Kamala Harris can cast her tie-breaking vote.
Republican filibusters are blocking a procedural landmine voting law that takes 60 votes to overcome. So Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, want Democrats to change the rules of the chamber so it would take just 50 votes to eliminate filibusters against the voting rights push.
They can do this if all 50 Democratic senators are united behind the plan. But they are not.
Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kirsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have repeatedly stated that while they support the voting rights push, they oppose weakening the filibuster rule without GOP support, There are fears that the fragile ties between the two countries will deteriorate. two sides. They are the same two senators who are the main stumbling blocks to Biden’s 10-year impasse, a nearly $2 trillion social and environmental bill, another top Democratic goal.
Although her opposition to cinema is well-known, she went on the Senate floor on Thursday to outline it, while Biden was on her way to Capitol Hill to meet with her and other Democrats. She said she would not support changes that worsen the underlying disease of Partition in our country.
Cinema time may have been designed to take the pressure off Biden during the session. But it was still a very public, shocking display of resistance that would have been unthinkable under a president who, unlike Biden, had a penchant for housing, retaliation for such open rebellion. had a reputation for.
Munchkin issued a written statement after the Biden meeting, saying he would not vote to undermine the filibuster. Doing so would only ignite the fires of political rhetoric and dysfunction that is tearing this country apart, he said.
Schumer said Biden made a powerful and strong and soulful presentation for us to get this done, and we’re going to do everything we can to get both of these bills passed.
Other Democrats said they think the risk of easing filibusters has helped minority parties defend their priorities for decades, but its use has increased dramatically this century because of state GOP voting restrictions. Overcame dangers.
They’re doing what they think is right,” said Sen. John Tester, D-Mont, Cinema & Manchin. I disagree.
As his stance was with Democrats, he was praised by Republicans, who would benefit from retaining the filibusters as a minority party.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Cinema, R-Ky., said it was extraordinarily important and defended the Senate as an institution as a conspicuous act of political courage.
Also on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke to reporters for the first time since issuing a statement the previous evening saying he was not cooperating with a special House committee investigating the January 6 uprising. are doing. Doing.
McCarthy said there is nothing I can provide to the January 6 committee that would help with his investigation and accused Democrats of using the investigation for pure politics.
McCarthy spoke to Trump on the phone during the attack, and later that day said on the floor of the House that Trump “takes responsibility for the attack.”
But he visited Trump at his Florida estate a few days later and has since avoided criticizing the former president. The special committee, dominated by 7-2 Democrats, wants to know about his dealings with Trump.
The refusal to cooperate by McCarthy, who hopes to become speaker next year, wins Republican House control, is no surprise.
To win that position, he would have to be elected to it by House Republicans, a move he could complicate by helping investigate Trump, who dominates many in the GOP. Two other GOP lawmakers and Trump allies have also rejected the panel’s requests for information, and many Republicans have said they view the committee and its work as illegitimate and partisan.
Whatever happens, the committee’s investigation will continue.
Still, McCarthy’s defiance was the latest sign of how fragmented the parties are, unable to do what many Congresses in the past have done after major crises: conduct a thorough bipartisan check on them.
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