Bipartisanship

17 Republicans Join 50 Democrats In First Senate Vote On Physical Infrastructure Legislation

In a surprising development, 17 Republican Senators joined the 50 Democratic Senators to vote for a version of the Physical Infrastructure legislation, a promising sign of bipartisanship.

The 17 Republicans who voted in favor include:

Roy Blunt Missouri
Richard Burr North Carolina
Shelley Moore Capito West Virginia
Bill Cassidy Louisiana
Susan Collins Maine
Kevin Cramer North Dakota
Mike Crapo Idaho
Lindsey Graham South Carolina
Chuck Grassley Iowa
John Hoeven North Dakota
Mitch McConnell Kentucky
Lisa Murkowski Alaska
Rob Portman Ohio
James Risch Idaho
Mitt Romney Utah
Thom Tillis North Carolina
Todd Young Indiana

This list includes moderates Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney, but also leading figures in the party, including Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, and Rob Portman. It also includes both Republican Senators from North Carolina, North Dakota, and Idaho, an unlikely scenario!

And yet, Donald Trump has condemned this move in the Senate, and particularly attacked Mitt Romney, terming him a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and it is all jealousy that he was unable to accomplish any infrastructure legislation during his Presidency, despite saying it was an important goal!

It is good to see that Republicans are ignoring Donald Trump on this matter, and hopefully, the party will wrest its freedom from the danger that Donald Trump represents!

Joe Biden And Infrastructure: Showing Proof Of Bipartisanship, But Also “Reconciliation” Tactic Being Used

This is a defining moment on the issue of infrastructure, as it appears that enough Republican Senators have agreed to back a $1 trillion plan on roads, bridges, railways, and broadband.

Clearly, the disaster in Surfside, Florida, where a condominium building collapsed, causing a major loss of life, and demonstrating the danger of global warming on buildings near waterways and coast lines, makes infrastructure projects, long needed, an urgent matter.

But additionally, there is a need for spending on “human infrastructure”, including child care, education, and health care, part of Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, which few if any Republicans will support.

So clearly Budget “Reconciliation”, where the 50 Democratic Senators plus Vice President Kamala Harris together will be enough to pass such larger spending priorities.

Certainly, the bipartisan deal is essential, but the Human “Infrastructure” in some form of legislation, is essential.

Political maneuvering and some compromises will be unavoidable to keep all Democrats in support of the broader legislation in some form.

Republicans In Congress Defying Their Own Voters In Refusal To Work With President Joe Biden!

The Republicans in Congress are committing political suicide by refusing en masse to support President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, as well as the earlier COVID 19 legislation, and apparently, every other initiative, just as they did with Barack Obama during his Presidency.

The difference is that polls show a vast majority of Americans, including many Republican voters, actually like what Joe Biden is doing, and that they understand the need for bipartisanship in a time of the worst health crisis in a century, and the worst economic crisis in 90 years.

The rate of vaccinations is being accomplished much faster than Joe Biden had projected, nearing 200 million shots, twice what he forecast for the first 100 days of his Presidency.

And the economy is reviving, with nearly one million new jobs in March.

All this and more insures Joe Biden and the Democrats will have public backing for gun regulations, rise in the minimum wage, and so much more, and the Republicans will be left in the dust of history, due to their intransigence!

The Destructive Impact Of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Needs To End In Georgia Senate Runoffs!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the most powerful Republican in Congress, having a leadership position for 18 years, as Senate Majority Whip from 2003-2007; Senate Minority Leader from 2007-2015, and Senate Majority Leader from 2015-2021, with his future as either Majority Leader or Minority Leader depending on the two Georgia Senate runoffs taking place next week.

McConnell has been much vilified for his obstructionism tactics under President Barack Obama, and his refusal to allow hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016. Also, he focused on adding over 200 judges to the federal judiciary, including three Supreme Court nominees, under President Donald Trump.

McConnell will be 79 in February 2021, nine months older than Joe Biden, and the two men have worked together over the years in the Senate and the Vice Presidency years of Biden, so it is hoped there might be some cooperation and bipartisanship, but one cannot count on that.

And the Georgia Senate runoff elections next week will decide the exact role of McConnell.

McConnell has the distinction of being the longest serving US Senator in Kentucky history; and the longest serving leader of Senate Republicans in US History, and now starting his seventh term.

So within the next few months, McConnell will go from being presently 23rd longest serving Senator in American history to being 16th longest, as seven Senators ahead of him include not only Joe Biden, but also others he will pass between January 3 and the end of March. And if he stays in the Senate until the end of his seventh term in January 2027, just less than two months short of age 85, he will have passed all but six Senators, or possibly seven, if Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wins reelection in 2022 at the age of 89.

While in many ways McConnell is despicable and horrendous, his longevity is amazing, and he will go down in history as a major “player” in the history of the US Senate and the Republican Party!

Three Profiles In Courage: John McCain Of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski Of Alaska, Susan Collins Of Maine

It is appropriate to salute three Republican Senators who stopped the destruction of ObamaCare, due to their feeling that despite the shortcomings of the program, that to just repeal it and leave millions of Americans with no health coverage was intolerable.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, a true independent and maverick, has often exasperated many political observers, and this blogger was upset earlier last week when McCain voted to promote votes on various alternatives, including repeal without replacement, but then voted to kill the idea once there was the opportunity to do so.

We now learn that former Vice President Joe Biden, a good friend, and former Senator Joe Lieberman, the Vice Presidential running mate of Al Gore in 2000, contacted McCain and convinced him that this was the right thing to do.

This kind of bipartisanship is precisely what is needed, and is missing from today’s political scence.

The courage of the two women Senators, who could not have alone stopped the Republican plan to destroy ObamaCare, must also be acknowledged, and sadly, some misogyny was utilized against them by the right wing, but Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska showed how principled and decent they were, and deserve great credit.

Both Collins and Murkowksi are tough, and they are not intimidated, with Collins having always been independent oriented, and Murkowski losing the party primary in 2010, running as a write in Independent candidate, and winning over her Republican and Democratic opponents, and then winning in 2016.

The outrage that the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, at Donald Trump’s orders, threatened Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, the other Alaska Senator, with cuts in funding for Alaska in the Department budget did not intimidate Murkowski, as she postponed committee hearings and votes in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which she heads. She knows how to play Hardball, and Trump has met his match in her, as well as Collins.

Disappointing, however, was the third woman Senator thought united with them, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, but caving in to pressure from Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, quite shocking since West Virginia has more people on Medicaid and in poverty than almost all states in America.

The Undermining Of Civility In America Long Lasting Damage, Setting Us Back From Progress Which Had Been Made In The 1950s, 1960s And 1970s

Civility is a lost art in America, with the two major political parties no longer able to work cooperatively for American advancement.

We now live in a society in which most people only read, watch, and listen to those who profess their religious and political beliefs.

A dialogue in which both sides respect their opponents is no longer conceivable, and one wonders what event will unite the American people and allow a return to reasonable discourse.

Will we ever have a President who is able to appeal across party lines and party beliefs?

In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, there was a lot more bipartisanship on many issues, and much more “crossing the aisle”, rather than straight party line votes.

Members of Congress used to spend weekends with “friends” and their families despite different party labels.

That sense of camaraderie and shared commitment to do what is good for the nation is totally gone in 2017.

“Bad Blood” is now the norm, with little interaction, and even basic courtesies and manners are no longer utilized.

After Seven Years, Republicans Seem Ready To Accept Reforms Of ObamaCare Through BiPartisan Deal With Democrats!

After seven years of constant and vehement opposition of Republicans to Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, it now seems as if the Republican Party in Congress is about ready to “throw in the towel”, and accept the continuation of ObamaCare with reforms and changes brought about by bipartisan cooperation with Democrats.

The statement of Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, conceding the likelihood of giving up the fight to obliterate ObamaCare, was a stunning moment of concession, and shows how the Republican Party is well aware of the impact of trying to end health care coverage for 20-30 million under ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion.

The fury of constituents at town halls is very clear, and is a sign that if enough reaction on any injustice can be promoted by those who want to prevent destructive action, it can actually lead to concessions.

But this also makes clear the total panic of the GOP about the upcoming midterm elections in 16 months, which could lead to a Democratic controlled House of Representatives.

There is even concern that the Republicans could lose the Senate, although that still seems a real long shot, as only 8 Republicans, compared to 25 Democrats, face election in 2018.

The only way possible for a Democratic controlled Senate in 2019-2020 would be if all 25 Democrats or their successors retained those seats, highly unlikely, and to win three of the eight GOP seats, but that would mean winning not only Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada and Jeff Flake’s seat in Arizona, but also Ted Cruz’s seat in Texas.

To kick the obnoxious, egotistical, and arrogant Ted Cruz out of the Senate would be a major coup, but to expect it to occur is highly doubtful at this point.

All of the Senate seats will be discussed at the proper time over the next 16 months on this blog, but right now, the emphasis must be on the gaining of the House of Representatives, by winning 24 or more seats, and immediately, the retention of ObamaCare, with necessary reforms!

“No Labels” Convention Being Held Monday In New Hampshire To Promote Bipartisanship

Today, a convention under the name “No Labels Problem Solver Convention”  is being held in New Hampshire, promoted by former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman and former Democrat and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

The convention expects a thousand or more participants, including eight Presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump and George Pataki.

The purpose is to promote bipartisanship, the dealing with important issues in a way that brings progress, rather than the constant deadlock now prevailing in our political system on the national level.

The convention is gaining attention of the news media, and it is hoped that it will lead to a new attitude that will benefit the nation at large.

The goals include the creation of 25 million new jobs over the next decade; making American energy secure by 2024; protecting Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years; and balancing the federal budget by 2030.

This is the time to unite around a future which avoids confrontational scenes like we are now seeing from the so called “Freedom Caucus” of Republicans in the House of Representatives!

The Importance Of Maintaining A Democratic Senate Majority

Many people, who do not understand the importance of midterm elections, have wondered whether it makes any difference if we have a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.

There are many reasons why it is extremely crucial that the Democrats retain the Senate, since it is clear that the Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives, and may gain more seats, and go from a 233-199 (with three vacancies) total to over 240, due to gerrymandering, and the power of incumbency.

A Democratic Senate gives Barack Obama the chance to gain a new Supreme Court Justice of his own choice, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice decides to retire in the next two years, or if any Justice should die while a member of the Court. Also, ability to have circuit and district court judges, and cabinet positions, and other appointments approved would be very difficult if the GOP controlled the Senate.

A Democratic Senate prevents any serious move toward a likely impeachment of Barack Obama, as the Republicans would see no point to doing it, if there was no chance of a conviction, which in reality would not happen in any case, as it would require a two thirds (67) vote to convict and remove. The Republicans might be fully aware that it would not succeed, but might wish to besmirch the historical record of Obama, much as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

A Democratic Senate insures that in two years, with two thirds of the seats up for election being Republicans, that the Democrats would likely gain 6-8 seats, and might, in 2017, reach the magic number of 60 or more, preventing any possible use of the filibuster tactic.

A Democratic Senate would insure the survival of ObamaCare, and the inability of any further move to destroy this signature program. Additionally, attempts to reverse other changes and reforms that have occurred would be impossible, all to the good.

A Democratic Senate would make it unnecessary for President Obama to utilize the veto power, which he has used very sparingly in his time in office.

A Democratic Senate would mean that the Republican Party had lost its last opportunity to gain control of both Houses, and in 2016, with a strong Democratic nominee for President, and the likelihood of coattail effects in those states that are “blue” or “purple”, would likely lead to a flip in the House to Democratic control, and the GOP would never again, any time soon, gain control of either House of Congress, as they have shown no desire to deal with the important issues that face the nation in domestic policy, and refusal to support Barack Obama in foreign policy, having abandoned the long held view of a sense of bipartisanship when dealing with the world and its problems.

A Rare Moment Of Bipartisanship: Marsha Blackburn-Carol Maloney Promotion Of A National Women’s History Museum In Washington, DC!

Lo and behold, a sign of bipartisanship on an idea that may seem minor to the less informed, but is a wonderful idea: the establishment of a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC!

It is a pleasure to announce that Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Democratic Congresswoman Carol Maloney of New York are co-sponsoring legislation to provide for the building of one more museum in or near the Mall in Washington, DC, a museum that is urgently needed to record and commemorate the tremendous contributions and sacrifices of women in American history, who have helped to advance American democracy!

This is long overdue, as we have a national museum for Native Americans, as well as the progress on the African American museum, and a few years ago, the Museum of American Jewish History was opened in Philadelphia, and will demand a visit from this author in the spring of 2014.

There is also a Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, affiliated with the Smithsonian Museum, but there is no Museum for Asian Americans which incorporates all Asian groups.

There is a push for a National Museum of the American Latino, but there is also discussion of a National Immigration Museum, which might usurp such a initiative, as too many museums and not enough space in DC, forcing it to be elsewhere as the Jewish Museum and Japanese American National Museums already are.

Even if not all of the museums can find a home in the nation’s capital, it is important to commemorate the contributions of all of the varied groups which have made America what it is, a melting pot of the world’s ethnicities!

And while we are at it, how about a National Labor History Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of the working men and women who have made this country what it is, and deserve proper recognition as well?