We begin today’s roundup with Eugene Robinson’s piece at The Washington Post on the lesson Democrats should learn from passage of the covid-19 rescue bill:
Here is the lesson Democrats should learn from the passage of President Biden’s massive covid-19 relief bill in the Senate: Don’t hold your breath waiting for Republicans to come to their senses. Just do the right thing. That not a single Republican in the House or Senate was willing to vote for the $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package is astonishing, given the overwhelming popularity of the legislation and the magnitude of the crisis it seeks to address.
Yes, that’s an awful lot of money. But the GOP has long since forfeited any claim to stand for fiscal restraint, simply preferring to add to the national debt through tax cuts for the rich rather than through spending for the poor. All the howling and moaning about how Biden supposedly went back on his pledge of bipartisanship is nothing but cynical blather. The president made a good-faith attempt to engage with Republicans, and the best they could come up with was an unserious offer worth barely a third of what the administration believes is needed. Even with GOP state and local officials, such as West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, imploring Congress to “go big,” Republican senators refused to budge.
Sam Brodey and Asawin Suebsaeng at The Daily Beast dive into the GOP’s massive voter suppression plot and attempts to kill the For the People Act:
In recent days, Trump has been calling up Senate allies, quizzing them about H.R. 1—congressional Democrats’ signature elections and voting rights bill—according to two people familiar with the matter. The so-called For the People Act, which passed the House on March 3, includes a national mandate for same-day voter registration, requirements that states establish automatic voter registration, and making Election Day a national holiday. It’s also chock-full of other measures, including campaign finance and redistricting reforms and a requirement that presidents release their income tax returns—all things that would be anathema to the ex-president.
“Do you think it has a chance?” the former president has privately inquired, asking for updates on how united Republicans are in efforts to “kill” the bill. He has been repeatedly assured by GOP senators and other associates that the legislation currently has very low odds of reaching President Biden’s desk. Democrats agree, but momentum is growing within the party to change the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for legislation to a simple majority, explicitly in the name of passing H.R. 1.
Meanwhile, author David Litt argues history weighs in favor of abolishing the undemocratic filibuster:
The procedural battle that took place more than a century ago holds an important lesson for lawmakers of both parties today: Ending the filibuster may be messy, but it won’t destroy a legislative body. In fact, in a polarized age, the only guaranteed cure for political dysfunction is majority rule.
On a final note, here’s Ryan Cooper’s take on the Democratic shift in mindset:
For those who remember what this point in 2009 was like, all this is very confusing. Democrats back then had gigantic majorities in both the House and the Senate, plus an extremely popular new president — but they cheaped out on their response to the financial crisis. Today, the party has a tiny 5-vote margin in the House, controls the Senate only by virtue of Vice President Harris’ tie-breaking vote, and elected a famously moderate old white guy as president.
Yet despite having literally zero margin for error, the ARP is more than twice as big as the 2009 Recovery Act, and structured far more generously. Effectively, Democrats are betting that blasting trainloads of money down the income ladder will pay off both economically and politically. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it seems Democrats … learned from their mistakes?