The Credentialed Media seems pretty upset that a $1.9 trillion bill, which has very little in the way of actual COVID relief, was forced to be read on the Senate floor. Seriously, why is it necessary for anyone to know what’s in it, and for Senators who are going to vote on it to understand what they’re voting for?
With President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill moving toward passage, Senator Ron Johnson brought proceedings to a halt on Thursday by demanding that Senate clerks recite the 628-page plan word by word, delaying action to register his objections.
The maneuver by Mr. Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, was unlikely to change any minds about the sweeping pandemic aid plan, which would deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for vaccine distribution, schools, jobless aid, direct payments to Americans and small business relief, and has broad bipartisan support among voters. Republicans signaled that they would be unified against it, and Democrats were ready to push it through on their own, using a special fast-track process to blow past the opposition.
But in the Senate, where even the most mundane tasks are subject to arcane rules, any senator can exploit them to cause havoc. The exercise was Republicans’ latest effort to score political points against a measure they were powerless to stop and to punish Democrats with a time-consuming, boredom-inducing chore.
“Is he allowed?” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, muttered quietly when Mr. Johnson tried to explain after demanding the reading.
You can pick up the derision from the NY Times that someone would dare do this, right? Many other outlets take a similar tone. But, nothing tops Philip Bump at the Washington Post for pure, unadulterated moonbattery
Shortly after Jan. 5, it became apparent that Congress was likely to pass legislation substantially bolstering economic relief provided in response to the coronavirus pandemic. What changed was that two Democrats won runoff races for the Senate in Georgia, giving the party and incoming President Biden enough votes to pass the bill Biden wanted to see.
It’s been nearly two months since that election and, after passing the House, the $1.9 trillion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate. But that won’t happen for a while yet, not because there aren’t the votes to pass it but, instead, because Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has decided to force the chamber to read the 628-page bill in its entirety. The effect isn’t to change the outcome. Instead, it’s to delay the inevitable. (snip)
It’s meant to be a nuisance. But, as CNN’s Brian Fung pointed out on Twitter, it carries an additional weight this time. Included in the funding bill is financial support for millions of Americans, as well as billions of dollars meant to bolster vaccine distribution and testing — tools which could bring the pandemic to an end more quickly.
At this moment, on this issue, time can be measured in human lives. On average, nearly 2,000 people a day are dying from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. That’s a death about once every 44 seconds. It’s an improvement over the end of January, when people were dying at a rate faster than two a minute. But it’s still a far faster rate than the country had seen for much of the pandemic.
Got that? The Democratic Party controlled House sat on putting forth a bill and voting on it (actually, much longer because Democrats refused to provide much in the way of help because it would hurt Trump) for months (and they filled it with a partisan wish list, unrelated to COVID measures, and unnecessary spending) then sat on it for a week or so before sending to the Senate, but, only now is taking a few hours to read a crazy bill a problem and killing Americans.
How much of this bill actually saves American lives? Just 1% is for vaccination. Heck, it doesn’t even have the $2,000 checks Biden promised again and again (he never promised it would add to the $600 to make that $2K). 99% of it won’t save American lives, and, if this was so darned important, why didn’t they take it up in January? The House could have sent it over to the Senate the minute the Georgia Dem Senators took their seats. But, no.
Given the current rate at which people are dying of covid-19, we can expect just shy of 1,400 Americans to succumb to the disease during that period.
It’s not the case that those lives would have been saved had the bill passed sooner. But it is the case that more immediate assistance for things like vaccines or bolstering people’s bank accounts is better than slower relief. Again, the question isn’t if the bill passes, it’s when. In that context, the argument for a 17-hour delay isn’t a robust one.
The same people that constantly yammer about Saving Our Democracy are mad when Democracy is in action, when people have to actually be told what is in a bill. A 17 hour delay when Democrats have basically been jamming up relief for 8 months.
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