The economic news from Congress was surprising, almost unexpected. And they were especially welcome in the week when the medical news got worse day by day. 67 senators, out of a hundred, supported the opening of a debate on a large.scale law to rehabilitate U.S. infrastructure, $ 1 trillion and more.
For 67 senators to do one hand, something must happen that Washington has already stopped seeing: consensus across party lines. The upper house of the U.S. Congress is divided equally between Democrats and Republicans, 50.50. The Democratic Vice President, who holds the title (usually without authority) of the “Senate President,” is empowered to decide when there is a tie. But even 51 votes are not enough in most cases. A privileged majority of 60 is needed. In an atmosphere of polarization and hostility, nothing is less likely than a privileged majority.
But most of these creamed skin and tendons last weekend. No, the creators did not turn around. The polarization in his eye stands. But the collaboration is the culmination of the “Problem Solvers Assembly,” a small group of moderates from both parties, organized earlier this year. It is intended to illustrate to the Americans, that their emissaries in Washington are not entirely addicted to party disputes, and are capable of doing legislative work for the benefit of their emissaries.
Obama wanted and so did Trump
Infrastructure restoration is a project that has been on the political agenda for at least 10 years. Barack Obama wanted him; Donald Trump wanted him; Joe Biden wants him. The need for rehabilitation is known to every user: from the airports, through the railroads, the bridges, the intercity roads, the electricity grid, the water network, the Internet, the American infrastructure is crumbling. The problem is that the wallet was tight, half the Congress was unwilling to pay, and the system lacked a sense of urgency. The corona plague has changed budgeting habits, illustrating the severity of the crisis, and increasing voters’ expectations for a change in political behavior.
Nevertheless, what happened here was interesting and important. A third of Republicans in the Senate supported the opening of the debate. They did so not just in the name of freedom of debate, but because they were convinced that at the end of the debate there was a bill that they could support without deviating from their principles.
Importantly, one of the supporters was Senate Republican faction leader Mitch McConnell, a veteran of the battles, who said only recently that his main mission was to “thwart Biden’s agenda.” McConnell has thwarted democratic agendas with unique success under President Obama, and there was no reason to seriously doubt his intentions this time either. Moreover, Donald Trump, who controls Egypt without the Republican Party, has strongly opposed the proposed law. He called it “socialist” (a particularly harsh derogatory word on the American right) and “a wonderful gift to Baiden.“
Yet 17 Republicans did not obey the former president. In American political terminology, it is difficult to think of a combination of numbers that is more appropriate for the coveted “two.party” characterization. Parties pretend to be bipartisan when they recruit two or three members from the rival party. This time a massive mobilization is taking place. There is no need to draw too far.reaching conclusions from the deviation from the Trumpist imperative, but it is clear that it has revealed an almost forgotten potential for moderation and pragmatism.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Right) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell Lunch at Capitol in Washington / Photo: Associated Press, J. Scott Applewhite
The agreement almost went off the rails again
Uncertainty still reigns over the process. It almost went off the rails in the 24 hours following the announcement of the agreement. The reason was that disagreements were suddenly discovered in the style submitted by the leader of the Democratic majority, Chuck Schumer. A guard, like any leader of a swinging coalition, was quick to appease the complainants.
The two gatekeepers of the “problem solvers” are a Republican senator from the state of Ohio, Rob Portman, who was previously the budget minister in charge of the Bush Jr. administration, and Kristen Cinema, a Democratic senator from the state of Arizona. Portman will vacate his seat next year, freeing him of electoral considerations. His authority in financial matters enjoys considerable esteem among his colleagues. Cinema suspected of excessive moderation in the ranks of the democratic left. In their eyes, it is sabotaging radical social initiatives. That’s true in itself, but it would not have been elected to the Senate on behalf of a state with clear right.wing leanings had it not been able to convince Arizona voters that it is not in the pocket of the left.
The left, which did not want Biden in the first place, was annoyed. He does not want to waste time on an excess of tactical calculations and compromises. He believes Democrats now have more tools than they have had since 2010 to initiate bold social and economic legislation. Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress, even if their majority is tiny. That majority is likely to be lost in the midterm elections, in 15 months. So you have to hurry very fast.
The weight of radicals is greater in the House of Representatives than in the Senate. Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in Congress, announced that she would not bring the bipartisan law to a vote until after the Senate adopted a separate package of allocation laws to eradicate poverty, improve the health care system and care for the environment. It is estimated to reach $ 3.5 trillion.
There is no chance that any Republican will support these laws. Allocation laws are exempt from the need for a privileged majority, but their adoption in the Senate would require the mobilization of all 50 Democrats. This will be a difficult task. The aforementioned cinema, and perhaps one or two more, will refuse to support it, and this will put an end to the law.
The U.S. heard last Thursday that its economy grew by 6.5 percent in the second quarter of the year (year.on.year), equaling its pre.Corona crisis level. Statistically, this is perhaps the fastest and most impressive recovery in U.S. history.
But even before the Delta crisis worsened, economists estimated it would be the last big quarterly jump. Given the spread of the Delta variant, the chance now is of even slower growth.
Politics of plague days
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) renewed last year’s emergency guidelines for wearing masks indoors. While this assumption cannot be enforced in the national arena, it does change the mood and level of expectations.
The CDC changed its mind about revelations about the outbreak of the vaccinated variant in Francistown, a popular resort site in the state of Massachusetts, during a high.profile, four.part holiday of July. Starting Saturday morning, the obligation to wear masks indoors applies to all ages 2 and up in Washington, DC. Not even a month has passed since President Biden’s “declaration of independence” from the Cubid virus.
Paradoxically, pessimism can actually help Biden’s allotment laws. Pessimism and fear have yielded the big allocations of early last year. Indeed, very strange is the politics of the plague days.
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