The success of the Biden presidency


WaPo:

A Guide to All the Ways the House Expenses Bill Would Affect America

Climate, taxes, immigration and other major provisions of the spending bill, explained

WHAT THERE IS TO KNOW

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Jonathan Bernstein /Bloomberg:

What confusion? Democrats get things done

The House’s approval of the major climate and party spending bill shows that the disorderly public wrangling over its details has in fact been constructive negotiations.

The finish line is still weeks away; the Senate is expected to make significant changes, after which the bill will return to the House for what should be final adoption. Still, the vote amounted to greater justification for the two-bill strategy adopted by Democrats, which has already produced an infrastructure bill enacted with bipartisan support. The more liberal or moderate House Democrats are unlikely to have voted for the bill on Friday without having reasonable confidence that the 50 Democratic Senators are ready to follow them.

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NY Times:

Wisconsin Republicans push for state election

Led by Senator Ron Johnson, GOP officials want to eliminate a bipartisan election agency – and possibly send its members to jail.

The Republican effort – larger and more powerful than that of any other state where the allies of former President Donald J. Trump try to reshuffle the elections – is aimed directly at the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission, an agency Republicans created five years ago and which has come under attack since the chaotic aftermath of last year’s election.

The attack resumed at the end of last month after a long-awaited report on the 2020 results which was ordered by republican state legislators found no evidence of fraud, but made dozens of suggestions for the Election Commission and the GOP-led Legislature, fueling Republicans’ demands for more election control.

Next, the Racine County Sheriff, aligned with Trump, the state’s fifth most populous county, recommended criminal charges against five of the six members of the electoral commission for the advice they had given to municipal clerks at the start of the pandemic. The Republican Majority Leader of the State Senate subsequently appeared to give the green light to the proposal, saying that “prosecutors around the state” should determine whether to prosecute.

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Randall Eliason/ sidebarblog:

Steve Bannon’s indictment: potential charges and defenses

Like I have written here before, this crime is rarely prosecuted and the statute has been largely toothless. Most cases have involved officials from an administration controlled by one party invoking executive privilege and refusing to provide documents or testify before a congressional committee controlled by the other party. When Congress then votes to find the witness in contempt and sends the case back to the Justice Department, it’s essentially asking the administration to prosecute one of its own for following the president’s instructions. Not surprisingly, this does not happen.

Administrations on both sides have taken the position that despite the law’s “duty” wording, prosecutors still retain the discretion to decide whether or not to proceed with the case. And the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Justice has nodded that it would violate the separation of powers for an executive official to be charged with contempt for refusing to honor a congressional subpoena on the basis of a claim of executive privilege.

But Bannon’s case is different: he is not an official in the administration who currently controls the executive. And at the time of the events under investigation, Bannon was a private citizen, not a member of the Trump administration. The problems of the separation of powers which have led to the lack of prosecution in past cases are therefore not present in his case. This is one of the main reasons he ended up being the first person in decades to be charged with the crime.

Matthew Green/ Faction suspicions:

Why the “GOP Thirteen” are not likely to be punished

Despite all the heated rhetoric, it is extremely unlikely that such punishments will be imposed. As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson learned a few years ago (and as I pointed out in a previous post), penalizing defectors in a legislature tends to create more problems than it solves. Among other things, it generates reports of internal party turmoil, creates resentment within the party, and can put defectors in electoral jeopardy, thus hampering the party’s ability to win or maintain a majority.

This is why strong sanctions are rarely used in Congress. In a chapter of the book I co-wrote with Briana Bee, one of my undergraduate students, we have identified 27 legislators between 1965 and 2015 who had been threatened or subjected to open sanctions by their party – including loss of seniority, loss of committee or leadership positions, or exclusion from the party – for reasons unrelated to ethics. It is a tiny fraction of the more than 2000 people who served in the House and Senate during that forty-year period.

In addition, in most cases the reasons for threatening or imposing a sanction were based on acts of extreme disloyalty, such as opposing the party’s presidential candidate or the presidential candidate. Only two of the 27 lawmakers were punished for voting the wrong way in a single political vote.

Matt Levin /Marlet :

“What crisis in the supply chain? say Target, Walmart and Home Depot

“I wouldn’t expect to see glaring product shortages,” said Liz Suzuki, retail analyst at Bank of America.

She said big box retailers learned a lesson from Black Friday 2020 when they actually wanted fewer customers in stores and more online.

Adam serwer/Atlantic:

Of course, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted

It is one thing to argue that the jury returned a reasonable verdict based on the law, and quite another to celebrate Rittenhouse’s actions.

State after state, they have helped elect politicians who, in turn, created a permissive legal regime for the carrying and use of firearms, rules that go far beyond how the courts originally understood the concept of self-defense.

These laws have made it difficult to convict any gun owner who knowingly puts himself in circumstances where he is likely to use his gun, that is, anyone who seeks to fight. So it’s no surprise that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges after shooting three men in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020, killing two of them. Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber were killed; Gaige Grosskreutz was injured but survived testify against Rittenhouse at his trial.

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