Monday, January 17, 2022

In Washington, a day of snapshots of division and futility | Nation World News

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — A troubled President Joe Biden had a closed-door crowd with senators from his own partyapparently for zero. An eyebrow-raising speech on the Senate floor by a resolute Democrat. and a defiant news conference by top House Republicans,

Each incident happened on Thursday. No one was helpful to the Democrats. And all were snapshots of the day that underscore the washing of divisions and futility over largely gridlocked Washington during this jagged partisan time.

“I hope we get it done. God’s honest answer is that I don’t know if we can get it done,” Biden admitted to reporters after a post-lunch meeting with Senate Democrats, where he sought support for the party’s latest founding priority: the voting rights law.

Biden said that even if the voting measure failed – as certain as it seemed – he would remain in the fight “as long as I have a breath inside.” Still, the events of the day portrayed his limited political capital at a time when his voting numbers are in the dumps and Democrats have almost no margin for error in a Congress controlled by a hair’s width.

Biden’s party is focusing these days on the voting rights bill and the January 6, 2021 investigation into an attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who is trying to prevent lawmakers from attesting to his re-defeat. are. Both efforts are speaking head-on in opposition to the GOP.

In the case of the voting law — which aims to limit state laws passed by the GOP to voting, often by minorities — Democrats have pushed it through a narrowly divided House. But things are different in the 50-50 Senate, where they require a consensus before Vice President Kamala Harris can cast her tie-breaking vote.

Republican filibusters are blocking voting legislation by procedural landmines that takes 60 votes to overcome. So Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., want Democrats to change the chamber’s filibuster rules, so passing the voting rights law would require just a simple majority.

They could do this if all 50 Democratic senators were united behind the plan. But they are not.

Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have repeatedly stated that while they support the voting rights push, they oppose weakening the filibuster rule without GOP support, Fearing that the fragile ties between the two countries would worsen. two sides. They are the same two senators who are the main stumbling blocks to Biden’s 10-year stalemate, a nearly $2 trillion social and environmental bill, another top Democratic goal.

Although Sinema’s protest was well known, she took to the Senate floor on Thursday to outline it — even as Biden was on her way to Capitol Hill to meet with her and other Democrats. She said she would not support changes that “worsen the underlying disease of division that is plaguing our country.”

Cinema time may have been designed to take the pressure off Biden during the session. But it was still a very public, shocking display of resistance that might have been unthinkable under a president—unlike Biden, who has a penchant for housing—a reputation for retribution for such open rebellion. Was.

Munchkin issued a written statement after the Biden meeting, saying he would not vote to undermine the filibuster. Doing so would “only add fuel to the fires of political blowback and dysfunction that is tearing this country apart,” he said.

Schumer said Biden “made a powerful and strong and soulful presentation for us to get this done and we are going to do everything we can to get these two bills passed.”

Other Democrats said they think the risks of easing filibusters — which have helped minority parties defend their priorities for decades, but have increased in use dramatically this century — may stem from state GOP voting restrictions. outweighed the dangers.

“They’re doing what they think is right,” said Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., of cinema and Manchin. “I disagree.”

As his stance was with Democrats, he was praised by Republicans, who would benefit from retaining the filibusters as a minority party.

“It was extraordinarily important and it saved the Senate as an institution, as a conspicuous act of political courage,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said of CINEMA.

Also on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke to reporters for the first time since issuing a statement the previous evening saying he was not cooperating with a special House committee investigating the January 6 uprising. do.

McCarthy said there is “nothing I can provide to the January 6 committee” that would help with his investigation and accused Democrats of using the investigation for “pure politics.”

McCarthy spoke to Trump on the phone during the attack, and later that day said on the floor of the House that Trump “takes responsibility” for the attack.

But he visited Trump at his Florida estate a few days later and has since avoided criticizing the former president. The special committee, which is dominated by Democrats 7-2, wants to know about his dealings with Trump.

The refusal to cooperate by McCarthy, who hopes to become speaker next year, wins Republican House control, is no surprise.

To win that position, he would have to be elected by House Republicans — a path he could complicate by helping investigate Trump, who dominates many in the GOP. Two other GOP lawmakers and Trump aides have also rejected the panel’s requests for information, and many Republicans have said they view the committee and its work as illegitimate and partisan.

Whatever happens, the committee’s inquiry will continue.

Still, McCarthy’s defiance was the latest sign of how fragmented the parties are, unable to do what many Congresses in the past have done after major crises: mount a thorough bipartisan investigation into them.


Nation World News Desk
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