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Congress Alert

Senate GOP helps codify Biden’s mandates by supporting his budget


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My colleague Steve Deace likes to say, “Democrats INSPIRE their base to get what they want, while Republicans CONSPIRE against their base to get what they want.” That is exactly what happened in the US Senate Thursday night.

Democrats needed to pass Biden’s budget, funding all the mandates and immoral activities of executive agencies. Republicans needed to give their base the impression they were fighting the mandates while concurrently ensuring that the budget passes. So, they hatched a plan to guarantee that one more Republican than Democrat would be absent, thereby assuring that even if they held an up-or-down vote (with a simple plurality), it would lose.

Democrat leader Chuck Schumer agreed to allow Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment to come up without a 60-vote threshold because four Republicans were out of town: Mitt Romney (R-Utah), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). This allowed every Republican present in the chamber to vote for his amendment, which would have defunded the vaccine mandates. However, as always, it came up one vote short and failed, 46-47. The Cruz amendment, which would have blocked school vaccine mandates, failed 44-49, with GOP Sens. Collins and Blunt joining the Democrats.

Some might focus their ire solely on those four GOP senators who were absent. Undoubtedly, they should be condemned for missing such an important point. But the broader picture reveals that the problem is not just in a few GOP senators but the entire leadership. They only agreed to hold these votes because they knew (or ensured) there would be one more Republican than Democrat missing in the chamber. That was the perfect outcome for them, whereby they got to hold a protest vote for the base but give away their leverage. This is proven by the fact that the other amendment they voted on – a balanced budget requirement by Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) – actually did “win” by 47-45 (Democrat Sens. Manchin and Sinema joined), but that was cleverly set at a 60-vote threshold because they knew they needed it. It’s all kabuki theater.
But the real revealing vote was the cloture vote to proceed with the bill knowing that they didn’t have the votes present to pass the amendment. Seventeen Republicans, including all of leadership, voted for cloture, thereby relinquishing the leverage, knowing they could never secure the votes to change the budget bill. Those Republicans were: Rubio (R-Fla.), Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rounds (R-S.D.), Capito (R-W.V.), Moran (R-Kan.), Shelby (R-Ala.), Cassidy (R-La.), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tillis (R-N.C.), Cornyn (R-Texas), Portman (R-Ohio), Wicker (R-Miss.), Blunt (R-Mo.), Collins (R-Maine), Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kennedy (R-La.), and McConnell (R-Ky.). Ultimately, 19 Republicans voted for final passage of the continuing resolution, which passed 65-27: the original 17 plus Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rounds (S.D.).

The issue is right, the timing is impeccable, and the politics of the matter are auspicious. Never has it been so easy for Republicans to do the right thing and demonstrate to the voters why they should control Congress next year. Yet Mitch McConnell, the great leader waiting for us on the other side of this momentous election, would have none of it.

Read the whole article here.
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