Schumer in his opening Senate floor remarks: "In no time at all, the House Republicans are off to the rockiest start of any new majority in recent memory. I've never seen anything like this." https://t.co/cbr7GJTtUO pic.twitter.com/uAi7l08rHV
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 24, 2023
Schumer: "I think many within the Republicans’ own ranks recognize a national sales tax is especially a dim-witted idea. Grover Norquist, whose ideas on tax are far away from most Americans, and he’s one of the most conservative voices out there. He called it a 'terrible idea'.”
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 24, 2023
The December Omnibus Bill’s Little Secret: It Was Also a Giant Health Bill @NYTimes: “Congress passed legislation on mental health, drugs, pandemic preparedness, new Medicare benefits and Medicaid expansion — all before the arrival of the new House.” https://t.co/2JVAF7FSTw
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 22, 2023
It wasn’t secret, so much as overlooked by Repubs squabbling for a chunk of the spotlight. Gift link:
The giant spending bill passed by Congress last month kept the government open. But it also quietly rewrote huge areas of health policy: Hundreds of pages of legislation were devoted to new health care programs.
The legislation included major policy areas that committees had been hammering away at all year behind the scenes — like a big package designed to improve the nation’s readiness for the next big pandemic. It also included items that Republicans had been championing during the election season — like an extension of telemedicine coverage in Medicare. And it included small policy measures that some legislators have wanted to pass for years, like requiring Medicare to cover compression garments for patients with lymphedema…
Big, “must-pass” bills like the $1.7 trillion omnibus often attract unrelated policy measures that would be hard to pass alone. But the scope of the health care legislation in last month’s bill is unusual. At the end of 2022, congressional leaders decided to do something that staffers call “clearing the decks,” adding all the potentially bipartisan health policy legislation that was ready and written. There turned out to be a lot to clear…
The coming change made the omnibus bill a critical opportunity to pass pieces of legislation that might have withered in the new Congress. Many of the health measures weren’t controversial enough to stop the omnibus from passing as one big bill. They might not have all succeeded on their own, however…
Crucially, most of the bill’s health measures had bipartisan support in Congress. Even though Democrats held majorities in both the House and Senate, the bill needed 10 Republican Senate votes to overcome a legislative filibuster. It got far more — the omnibus passed the Senate by a 68–29 margin. (In the House, where Republicans were less involved in negotiations over the bill since their votes were not needed, a greater share voted against it. The final vote was 225–201.)
The consequence of all this deck clearing is that it may be a quiet Congress for new health legislation. There are a few health funding programs that will need to be renewed, including funding for programs to combat opioid addiction and overdoses, and one to subsidize hospitals that treat uninsured patients…
The remaining wish list for Democrats includes measures to broaden Medicare benefits and to expand abortion rights — things they could not pass even when they controlled the House. As part of concessions with right-wing lawmakers to secure the speakership, Mr. McCarthy has promised Republicans in the House will propose substantial spending cuts to balance the budget in a decade, a goal that would be impossible without cuts to some or all of the major health programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. But those would never advance with Democrats controlling the Senate and White House…
Analysis: A poll asked Republicans and Democrats their views on whether the two leaders handled documents appropriately. Rarely do we have situations that are analogous enough to provide a direct comparison of how much partisans defend their leaders. https://t.co/0Tr4npp3wr
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 25, 2023
… After former president Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago was searched in August, congressional Republicans almost instantly circled the wagons. They attacked the search despite knowing very little about it and despite Trump’s demonstrated failure to return the documents when asked to over several months. And they have said relatively little about Trump’s underlying conduct.
Many top Democrats, by contrast, have actually ventured rather sharp criticisms of President Biden.
And that’s reflective of how the American people view these cases more broadly, with Republicans shrugging at the conduct of one of their own in a way Democrats don’t.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Democrats were about evenly split when it comes to whether Biden acted “appropriately” with regard to the documents; 41 percent said he did, and 38 percent said he didn’t. A majority (55 percent) called the situation at least “somewhat serious.”
But Republicans were far less likely to view Trump as having acted inappropriately or his situation being serious. The same poll in August showed 61 percent of the GOP said Trump had acted appropriately, while just 19 percent said he hadn’t. And just 27 percent regarded the situation as at least “somewhat serious” — about half the percentage of Democrats that say the same of Biden today.
That divide exists even though what’s known about the Trump case is pretty objectively more severe: Trump had many more known classified documents, he held on to them over a longer period even when the authorities came calling, and his lawyers asserted, to their knowledge, that all such documents had been returned. (The FBI search revealed that there were, indeed, more such documents at Mar-a-Lago.)…
It’s notable but not shocking that Republicans would rally to Trump’s cause here. Partisans are naturally more likely to give one of their own the benefit of the doubt, and the GOP’s partisans in particular have stuck with Trump through many other controversies.
But rarely do we have situations that are analogous enough to provide such a direct comparison of how much partisans on each side are doing sticking by their leaders. And this suggests Republicans are much more willing to do so, while Democrats take a more nuanced view of their party leaders’ missteps.
Either that or it suggests that many people simply don’t have an accurate sense of the details of each of the situations because of their media diet. Another recent poll, from Marquette University, asked people whether they believed Trump “had top secret and other classified material or national security documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago this summer.”
He, of course, did. But two-thirds of Republicans — 66 percent — said they believed he didn’t.
There is an antique Catholic doctrine (I have not been able to find a good explainer) called ‘custody of the eyes’. As I understood it, from my parochial-school education, it was incumbent upon good Catholics not to look at ‘worldly’ things that might disturb our spiritual purity; we were abjured to avoid not just ‘vulgar’ books and movies, but even glancing at advertisements for such filth. Pious saints were described as avoiding so much as looking directly at another person, for fear of some instinctive, unGodly impulse of human connection.
As progressives have never ceased complaining — look at George Orwell — custody of the eyes is more correctly understood as custody of the mind… and today’s Repubs practice a political form of such ‘custody’ which would shame a cloistered Carmelite. They refuse to expose their beautiful minds to any media that might inadvertantly sway their attention from the One True Republican Path (as adjusted by this week’s divine revelations from Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, et al). What kind of catastrophe will it take to jolt such wilful blindness?