Monday Reads: What do you do with a problem like a)Joe Manchin b)Krysten Sinema c)Senate Parlimentarian d) Mitch McConnell e)All of the above plus more

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

Well, the Biden Agenda–even the watered down parts meant to appease Republicans–is stalled.  Here’s a quick line-up of all that’s not going to get done in the name of ego and the mid-term election politics.  It seems Americans dealing with so many issues like climate-change induced diasters, Covid-19, underemployment and lack of living wages are just going to wait until a few blowhards get their day in the sun.  We sure do have the Troubles in this country.

From Hans Nichols writing at Axios: “Scoop – Manchin: Delay Biden plan to ’22”.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is privately saying he thinks Congress should take a “strategic pause” until 2022 before voting on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending package, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s new timeline — if he insists on it — would disrupt the plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to vote on the budget reconciliation package this month.

Driving the news: Back home in West Virginia last week, Manchin told a group of employees at a Procter & Gamble facility in Martinsburg he wanted to pause all the talk about the $3.5 trillion bill until 2022, Axios was told.

  • Those semi-public comments track with some of his private conversations about how long he wants to impose the “strategic pause” he floated in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this month.
  • Manchin didn’t give a specific timeline in his op-ed.

Any delay on the Democrat-only reconciliation package could imperil House passage of the separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Pelosi has promised to pass by Sept. 27.

  • House progressive lawmakers are publicly vowing to vote against the infrastructure bill if it’s not paired with the $3.5 trillion bill to be passed through the budget reconciliation process.
  • But centrist Democrats are adamant the House pass the bipartisan bill first — next week.

The big picture: Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are leading the Democratic opposition in the Senate to the size and scope of the reconciliation package.

It’s largely been written by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and would vastly expand the social safety net from cradle to grave, as the New York Times recently put it.

Why is it all things ego-related these days always include Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin?  Oh, and now Kristin Sinema who appears to be part of the stymy everything wing of the Democratic Party.  From Politico and Laura Barron-Lopez: “Sinema tells White House she’s opposed to current prescription drug plan. The Arizona Democrat joined Joe Manchin in giving the president a wake-up call on the reconciliation bill.”  Who likes higher drug prices?  Big Pharma and the pols they own evidently.

The White House has a new headache as it struggles to get its multitrillion-dollar party-line spending bill passed: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s objections to drug pricing reforms that are already struggling to make it through the House.

The Arizona Democrat is opposed to the current prescription drug pricing proposals in both the House and Senate bills, two sources familiar with her thinking said. They added that, at this point, she also doesn’t support a pared-back alternative being pitched by House Democratic centrists that would limit the drugs subject to Medicare negotiation.

Sinema met with President Joe Biden on Sept. 15 to discuss the social spending package, in which party leaders hope to include the Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal. Sinema has made her resistance to the current House prescription drug negotiation proposal clear to the White House, according to one of the sources, but it’s unclear if she’s completely immovable.

Both she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who met with the president the same day, delivered what one source described as a sobering message for the White House about the fate of the reconciliation bill and its $3.5 trillion price tag, which they both say is too high. The social spending plan is designed to pass without GOP votes through budget reconciliation, meaning that Biden will need to win all 50 Senate Democratic votes to secure its passage.

Giorgio de Chirico, Le trouble du philosophe, 1925-26. Museo del Novecento, Milano

AP and Allan Fram report that the “Senate parliamentarian deals blow to Dems’ immigration push.”

Democrats can’t use their $3.5 trillion package bolstering social and climate programs for their plan to give millions of immigrants a chance to become citizens, the Senate’s parliamentarian said late Sunday, a crushing blow to what was the party’s clearest pathway in years to attaining that long-sought goal.

The decision by Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate’s nonpartisan interpreter of its often enigmatic rules, is a damaging and disheartening setback for President Joe Biden, congressional Democrats and their allies in the pro-immigration and progressive communities. Though they said they’d offer her fresh alternatives, MacDonough’s stance badly wounds their hopes of unilaterally enacting — over Republican opposition — changes letting several categories of immigrants gain permanent residence and possibly citizenship.

The parliamentarian opinion is crucial because it means the immigration provisions could not be included in an immense $3.5 trillion measure that’s been shielded from GOP filibusters. Left vulnerable to those bill-killing delays, which require 60 Senate votes to defuse, the immigration language has virtually no chance in the 50-50 Senate.

In a three-page memo to senators obtained by The Associated Press, MacDonough noted that under Senate rules, provisions are not allowed in such bills if their budget effect is “merely incidental” to their overall policy impact.

Citing sweeping changes that Democrats would make in immigrants’ lives, MacDonough, a one-time immigration attorney, said the language “is by any standard a broad, new immigration policy.”

The rejected provisions would open multiyear doorways to legal permanent residence — and perhaps citizenship — for young immigrants brought illegally to the country as children, often called “Dreamers.” Also included would be immigrants with Temporary Protected Status who’ve fled countries stricken by natural disasters or extreme violence; essential workers and farm workers.

At the Bottom of the Anxiety Swamp by Jayoon Choi
‘There is a moment when you can’t help but sink deep down. Attacked by spiteful thoughts. But, oh dear! I was the monster.’

So, can we get a WTF? from the Amen Corner? “This Powerful Democrat Linked to Fossil Fuels Will Craft the U.S. Climate Plan. Senator Joe Manchin is already a crucial swing vote in the Democrats’ sweeping budget bill. But he will also write the details of its climate change program.”

Joe Manchin, the powerful West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate energy panel and earned half a million dollars last year from coal production, is preparing to remake President Biden’s climate legislation in a way that tosses a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry — despite urgent calls from scientists that countries need to quickly pivot away from coal, gas and oil to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Mr. Manchin has already emerged as the crucial up-or-down vote in a sharply divided Senate when it comes to Mr. Biden’s push to pass a $3.5 trillion budget bill that could reshape the nation’s social welfare network. But Mr. Biden also wants the bill to include an aggressive climate policy that would compel utilities to stop burning fossil fuels and switch to wind, solar or nuclear energy, sources that do not emit the greenhouse gases that are heating the planet.

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Manchin holds the pen and the gavel of the congressional panel, with the authority to shape Mr. Biden’s ambitions.

But Mr. Manchin is also closely associated with the fossil fuel industry. His beloved West Virginia is second in coal and seventh in natural gas production among the 50 states. In the current election cycle, Mr. Manchin has received more campaign donations from the oil, coal and gas industries than any other senator, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets, a research organization that tracks political spending.

He profits personally from polluting industries: He owns stock valued at between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems Inc., a coal brokerage firm which he founded in 1988. He gave control of the firm to his son, Joseph, after he was elected West Virginia secretary of state in 2000. Last year, Mr. Manchin made $491,949 in dividends from his Enersystems stock, according to his Senate financial disclosure report.

“It says something fascinating about our politics that we’re going to have a representative of fossil fuel interests crafting the policy that reduces our emissions from fossil fuels,” said Joseph Aldy, who helped craft former President Barack Obama’s climate change bill and now teaches at Harvard.

Tiger, Shark and Me Sit Down for Tea by Emma Haddow
‘I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager. There have been times when it has crippled me, and I was afraid of everything. I started to face my fears, my demons head on and I still do. It’s scary in the dark but what’s more scary to me is denying and suppressing what lurks beneath the surface. My mental health is good these days. My dark days are still here, but I no longer turn them away.’

Politco question if Democrats can get anything done including in the time left to them. “Dems vow to go the distance as September problems pile upThe party has Herculean levels of work to do in 11 days, and it’s projecting confidence but offering few clues on how.”

The House and Senate return to Washington together this week with Democrats facing four tasks that would be challenging on their own — but, taken together, are the legislative equivalent of Hercules’ labors.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) summed up the party’s wildly urgent to-do list with the drama of a movie trailer: “Keep the government open. Don’t default on the debt. Make sure the president gets a win on the infrastructure bill … and, obviously the mother of all legislation, the reconciliation package,” he said, referring to the mega-bill that Democrats want to pass along party lines to spend trillions of dollars on a panoply of social priorities.

But for all of the party’s awareness of what it needs to do, Democrats are uncertain about how to get it all done. The coming three-week legislative sprint will test their slim majorities and President Joe Biden’s domestic policy chops, with dwindling days to avoid a government shutdown and defuse a politically toxic battle with Republicans over the nation’s borrowing limit.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are also under intense pressure to deliver on the lifeblood of Biden’s agenda: a multitrillion-dollar social spending package and a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which could both see floor votes in the coming weeks.

Already, ideological clashes across the Democratic Party have begun to spill into the open as it begins its final push to turn Biden’s enormous spending plan into law. Last week, a small group of moderates sank a leadership-backed drug pricing initiative in a high-profile committee meeting as they demanded to vote on their own version of the bill.

Across the Capitol, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said they will not support legislation that costs $3.5 trillion, setting up a skirmish with progressives who say that top line number is already a compromise. Some Democrats fear those two moderates may not be willing to support the final bill at all.

I do have faith in Pelosi and many of the Democratic leaders to do what they can.  However, I also know that ego mixed with big donations can make a politician pretty useless for the people.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

26 Comments on “Monday Reads: What do you do with a problem like a)Joe Manchin b)Krysten Sinema c)Senate Parlimentarian d) Mitch McConnell e)All of the above plus more”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Well, this is good news.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I’m having some issues with my wp… so this comment should be on its own:

      This Bullshit…

      Which directly connects to this tweet:

      • quixote says:


        Ties into all the antivax BS too. You have such an absolute right to control your own body, you can kill people with an avoidable disease. But if you’re female, you have as much control over your uterus as a cow.

        It makes sense inside the patriarchy….

      • NW Luna says:

        “…unless you take as a premise that unlimited, consequence-free sex is something akin to a human right. ”

        Note that the above is written to apply to women. Men, OTOH, are let off the hook and can have fancy-free sex without consequences. Funny how men are so used to their bodily autonomy that they’re unaware of having it.

        Birth control isn’t 100% effective, not to mention rape, congenital defects, lack of access to Plan B, and other causes which can be reasons why conception or continued pregnancy is unwanted. Republicans are so sure that government regs are infringements on people’s private lives, but they want government in the clinic with women.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Wow! Those paintings are wild!

  4. Beata says:

    Manchin needs to be taken to the woodshed. It’s long past time. There is plenty of corporate money stuffed in his pockets (and not just from fossil fuel companies) to expose him as the bought and paid for shill he is. As for Sinema, she is vulnerable to political attack as well on a variety of issues and should be primaried with big money put into her Democratic opponent’s campaign. Who has the balls to do to do it? Biden? I am extremely disappointed in him. He is even weaker as a president than I thought he would be.

    I am damn glad Sanders is working so hard for the middle class and especially for the poor with the reconciliation bill. Without him, we would be at the mercy of all the corporate Democrats who have sold us down the river for decades.

    Because of Sanders, dental and vision coverage will finally be covered by Medicare in the reconciliation bill. My mother, g-d rest her sweet soul, had all her teeth rot out when she became ill with RA. They were black stumps like something out of Dickens. It was terribly, terribly painful. Her ability to eat was severely compromised and she lost the will to live. She could not get dental treatment until she went into the nursing home and eventually qualified for Medicaid. It was a horrific experience for her and it broke my heart. I FUCKING NEVER WANT ANYONE ELSE TO GO THROUGH THAT!

    Go ahead and have at me about Bernie if you want. I really don’t care. I am past caring what other people say or think about me. What matters to me is that poor suffering people might finally get the help they so desperately need.

    • quixote says:

      My finger is slower on the ‘post comment’ button than yours, Beata 😆

      We even use the same word. Shills. And I think we’re being polite!

    • dakinikat says:

      He lives in the old guy thinking that poor people are lazy and just need to suffer so they go get jobs that treat them any old way, provide no benefits, and have no livable wage.

    • NW Luna says:

      Sanders has done a few good things, and this is one of them. He’s not a good choice for POTUS, of course, but that’s not what you were commenting on. Lots of politicians have wanted to add dental, hearing, and vision in with the rest of medical coverage for a long time. I’ve no idea why those body systems were left out in the first place. Makes no sense. They’re all important. Even commercial dental insurance isn’t very good. I could buy it thru my job but the premiums are more than I’d pay for most treatment without insurance.

      There are community dental clinics under the — forgot the name of it but it’s a Federal program for underserved communities. They serve people without dental insurance but there aren’t enough dentists for all the places where they’re needed.

      • Beata says:

        The community dental clinic in our city turned my mother away even though she had an appointment. After they turned her away, they wouldn’t even let us wait inside for the city’s wheelchair accessible van to pick up my mother (in her wheelchair) and me (who was pushing her). We had to wait outside in the cold, on the sidewalk for over an hour. My mother couldn’t understand what was happening. She was frightened and in pain. It was dark out by the time the van finally arrived.

        • Beata says:

          When we arrived for her appointment, we were told they couldn’t treat her because she was in a wheelchair. I had informed them when I made the appointment that she was in a wheelchair. No problem, they said over the phone. (She was a tiny woman. Not hard to transfer.) But when we got to the clinic, it was a different story. No treatment. Then they said they couldn’t treat her because she had had too much radiation! That made no sense. My mother did not have cancer and never had radiation therapy for any reason. They simply refused to help her at all.

          • NW Luna says:

            What the hell?! That’s terrible. I hope you reported this abhorrent treatment (not that that would reverse what happened to you and your mother).

          • Beata says:

            There was no one to report it to. No oversight agency. Nothing. Just thinking about it now makes me feel sick. Like a knife in the gut. It’s one of those things I need to forget. The pain of the memory is just too much.

  5. quixote says:

    I know I’ve only said this a hundred times but you’ll have to forgive me for shouting again

    Just do whatever the Repubs do to keep their shills in line AND PASS THE GODDAMN BILLS TO SAVE THE COUNTRY NOW!

  6. dakinikat says:

    By Paul M. Krawzak
    Posted September 20, 2021 at 11:07am
    Call it the “in case of emergency, break glass” option: The president invokes the Civil War-era 14th Amendment to the Constitution to ignore the statutory debt limit and continue to borrow if lawmakers can’t agree to give the Treasury Department more borrowing room.

    With lawmakers and the White House careening toward the diciest debt limit confrontation since the Obama administration-GOP battles of 2011 and 2013, the possibility is real that the U.S. government might not be able to meet its commitments in full and on time. That day could come sometime next month, Treasury says, so the sooner the debt ceiling is lifted the better in order to calm financial markets.

    “There is a big difference between avoiding default by months or minutes,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing the 2011 debate that went down to the wire and led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade U.S. credit.

    But with Republicans taking a hard line and 60 votes likely needed to advance a debt limit measure in the evenly divided Senate, there’s no clear path to avoiding what Yellen calls a “default” on U.S. obligations.

    No one, least of all the White House, is talking publicly about the possibility that President Joe Biden might consider, for the first time in U.S. history, ordering Treasury to defy the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling and continue to borrow.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. Beata says:

    I finished crocheting a little sofa, like the one Luna posted a picture of a while ago, for my cat. The sofa I made is a lovely rose color. Cat adores it. Now I am crocheting a little blanket (ivory and rose) to go along with it. Winter is coming and we must be prepared!

    • dakinikat says:

      my mother used to crochet and my great aunt! I have so many lovely things from them!!!

    • quixote says:

      The vision of that cozy sofa and blanket and cat is what I needed right now!

    • NW Luna says:

      How lovely! And wonderful that kitty adores it. Wish I could see them. How cozy, and yes, we must have warmth before winter comes.

      I need to learn how to crochet. I can knit, but crochet allows more construction techniques.