The big story of last night is that President Handsome Joe Biden spent a lot of time talking about Sens. Manchinema, and how he’s trying ever-so-very-hard to work with them, and how sad he and his wife Jill were when free community college had to be dropped from the reconciliation bill, and how he hopes that the senators come to their senses and get on the team.
CNN should have flashed the phone numbers for Manchinema’s offices on screen, urging viewers like you to “CALL NOW! OPERATORS ARE WAITING!!1!”
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email-thingie recaps the important bits:
RECONCILIATION RUNDOWN — Taking questions at a live town hall in Baltimore, Biden got into the nitty-gritty of the reconciliation negotiations, speaking about his mix of frustration with and respect for Sens. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) and KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.) with surprising candor. He also made some news about the particulars of the bill/framework at this point in time:
- IN, BUT REDUCED: paid family medical leave. “It is down to four weeks,” said Biden. “We can’t get 12 weeks.”
- IN, DETAILS TBD: child tax credit. Biden announced his opposition to a work requirement, despite Manchin’s support of one, and stated that middle-class families will not have to pay more than 7% of their income on child care.
- LIKELY OUT: Medicare coverage of dental, vision and hearing.Biden said he believed that Manchinema opposes its inclusion. As a compromise, he suggested an $800 voucher for dental care.
- SOUNDS LIKE IT’S OUT: tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans. He pinned some of the blame on Sinema. “She will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people, period,” Biden said. “And so that’s where it sort of breaks down.”
- OUT: tuition-free community college. Biden cited opposition from Manchin “and one other person” (cough, Sinema, cough) as the reason why. Still, he vowed to “get it done,” perhaps by expanding Pell Grants. “I guarantee you: We’re going to get free community college in the next several years,” he said.
I’m sure that there are plenty of inside baseball stories today on the mechanics of the Build Back Better/reconciliation bill (because our Failed Political Press ™ thinks it makes them look smart and connected) but the point of the matter is that the programs are being trimmed or dropped because 52 Senators are being obstructionist.
Our FPP ™ has so normalized Republican obstruction that it is no longer even part of the story. I know you will find this incredible, but once upon a time (before amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell ever got his turtle paw on the gavel), every bill was not filibustered or required 60 votes to pass the Senate! It’s true!