The clock is ticking. And ticking. It’s an election year, with every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on the ballot, and about one-third of Senate seats to be decided.
You’d not know this, though, to watch the doings of President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress. To see them in action – or not in action, more accurately – one could be forgiven for believing that all is going swimmingly and that their majorities are likely intact as far as the eye can see.
Well, for those who are quite nearsighted, maybe.
On Tuesday, Biden traveled to Georgia to give a much-hyped address on voting rights. The right to vote is fundamental, he stressed.
True enough. But completely missing the moment.
Unless Senate Democrats move to blow up the filibuster, employing what is known as the nuclear option, changing the rules with a simple majority vote, Biden’s talk will add up to nothing. And since Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has said plainly that he’d not support nuking the filibuster, this is a done deal.
Biden is wasting his breath, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is wasting time, as he’s been yapping about scheduling votes on the filibuster and voting rights.
You’d think that Biden, Schumer and other Democrats would have learned from their failure on the mammoth social spending bill called Build Back Better. Manchin had said repeatedly that he had serious problems with the measure and wouldn’t be able to support it as written. Did they think he was joking? Do they think he’s not serious about his position on the filibuster?
A not-so-radical suggestion for the president and congressional Democrats: When a member of your caucus says he’s not on board, don’t imagine that he’ll change his mind once he comes to see how righteous is your cause. Instead, take him at his word and plan accordingly.
Another suggestion: Take a look at the calendar, at Biden’s lousy approval ratings and at history. It won’t be long before everyone in Washington is focused on the midterm elections. When that happens, the time for legislating will effectively have passed.
If congressional Democrats are hoping not to be swept out to sea in an electoral tsunami of historic proportions, they’d do well to get a few things done for the people. Now.
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