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Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2020, 07:55:53 AM »

Offline Vermont Green

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I have thought some more about the "political calculus" behind this.  My conclusion (or at least the best that I can come up with) is that before the election, the goal of Republicans was to downplay the impact of COVID.  We are turning the corner.  It is just going to go away.  All the stats are fake, and so on.  Hard to reconcile that with passing a big relief bill.  Why would you need a big relief bill for a crisis that really isn't that bad and is almost over?

Now that Biden won, they want to get this done before he takes office so he won't get credit for it.  They know once Biden is in, he would get something done.  Maybe post election it would have happened even if Trump won and it was more about downplaying COVID before the election.  I don't know.  I think it is some of both.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2020, 07:58:12 AM »

Offline Sophomore

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https://www.yahoo.com/money/democratic-gop-leaders-near-finalizing-a-stimulus-deal-160515257.html

Where were these attitudes of ďcompromiseĒ and ďpass what we can agree onĒ six months ago?

If this gets passed, there will be a lot of self-congratulations and talk of bipartisanship.  What a bunch of bologna.  The only thing that changed is the political calculus.

Politicians have always responded to political signals.

Legislation is a negotiation. Parties try to get the best deal they can, and just as in business or home buying, sometimes no deal is better than a bad deal.

I see a lot of comment on the thread about coming together for the good of America. But if the parties disagree about whatís really good for America how do you do that? If youíre lucky the incentives push ppl toward voting for good outcomes, but that often doesnít happen.

Iíd prefer a parliamentary system, like in England, where the party that wins an election actually gets to govern. Then voters know who is responsible for outcomes and can decide whether or not to vote the bums out. In our system, itís too easy to obstruct and then confuse voters about who did what.

How many people know why there wasnít a covid relief bill before the election? Iím sure Ds and Rs can give you their versions, but the explanations differ and who really knows? At least if one party was in power you could decide whether you liked the outcome and vote accordingly.

Itís not about ďpolitical signalsĒ.  Itís about six months of people dying while Congress did nothing.  They easily could have passed this bill back in May or June.

One of the hold ups was making sure that Trump didnít get an electoral boost.  How many tens of thousands of lives did that cynical political calculation cost?

Youíre looking at it only through the R lens, playing the same partisan blame game you say is the problem. We could put on the D lens and say it was held up by Rs for cynical reasons or ideological reasons, take your pick. Ds passed a package in May that Rs essentially ignored until September. There was none of the fierce urgency on the GOP side - we need to save lives! - that your post suggests until shortly before the election, when Mnuchin finally engaged for a distracted Trump. His offers were lowball and he insisted on big policy wins for Rs - on aid to states, UI, liability shields. He wanted to roll Pelosi. More importantly, the one person who really could have made a deal happen - McConnell - stayed on the sidelines. He wanted to preserve his majority (no hard votes before the election) and thought Trump was done anyway - if there was austerity that would just hurt Biden in January. Thatís the cynical view from the other side.

The reality is more complicated than either of these views, and itís very very hard to see what really happened. I do think Ds believed a big bill would help Trump, and so they thought they should get some things they wanted in the bill. If not, they would try to do better after the election. I think Rs really didnít want a bill in summer - aid was off the table for them - and that remains true for very many of them to this day. even when itís clear things are far worse. Mnuchin saw a bill would help Trump, but Trump was too scattered and distracted and didnít make it easy to support; people had seen him turn on Congress, and many rank and file Rs hate govt spending and bailouts. Thereís almost certainly more. Iím sure there are factors only the insiders know, and they wonít tell. If you write this as a morality play with the other party as the bad guy, you canít then ask why canít people compromise for the public good. You wonít ever find the answer.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2020, 08:15:58 AM »

Offline Roy H.

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https://www.yahoo.com/money/democratic-gop-leaders-near-finalizing-a-stimulus-deal-160515257.html

Where were these attitudes of ďcompromiseĒ and ďpass what we can agree onĒ six months ago?

If this gets passed, there will be a lot of self-congratulations and talk of bipartisanship.  What a bunch of bologna.  The only thing that changed is the political calculus.

Politicians have always responded to political signals.

Legislation is a negotiation. Parties try to get the best deal they can, and just as in business or home buying, sometimes no deal is better than a bad deal.

I see a lot of comment on the thread about coming together for the good of America. But if the parties disagree about whatís really good for America how do you do that? If youíre lucky the incentives push ppl toward voting for good outcomes, but that often doesnít happen.

Iíd prefer a parliamentary system, like in England, where the party that wins an election actually gets to govern. Then voters know who is responsible for outcomes and can decide whether or not to vote the bums out. In our system, itís too easy to obstruct and then confuse voters about who did what.

How many people know why there wasnít a covid relief bill before the election? Iím sure Ds and Rs can give you their versions, but the explanations differ and who really knows? At least if one party was in power you could decide whether you liked the outcome and vote accordingly.

Itís not about ďpolitical signalsĒ.  Itís about six months of people dying while Congress did nothing.  They easily could have passed this bill back in May or June.

One of the hold ups was making sure that Trump didnít get an electoral boost.  How many tens of thousands of lives did that cynical political calculation cost?

Youíre looking at it only through the R lens, playing the same partisan blame game you say is the problem. We could put on the D lens and say it was held up by Rs for cynical reasons or ideological reasons, take your pick. Ds passed a package in May that Rs essentially ignored until September. There was none of the fierce urgency on the GOP side - we need to save lives! - that your post suggests until shortly before the election, when Mnuchin finally engaged for a distracted Trump. His offers were lowball and he insisted on big policy wins for Rs - on aid to states, UI, liability shields. He wanted to roll Pelosi. More importantly, the one person who really could have made a deal happen - McConnell - stayed on the sidelines. He wanted to preserve his majority (no hard votes before the election) and thought Trump was done anyway - if there was austerity that would just hurt Biden in January. Thatís the cynical view from the other side.

The reality is more complicated than either of these views, and itís very very hard to see what really happened. I do think Ds believed a big bill would help Trump, and so they thought they should get some things they wanted in the bill. If not, they would try to do better after the election. I think Rs really didnít want a bill in summer - aid was off the table for them - and that remains true for very many of them to this day. even when itís clear things are far worse. Mnuchin saw a bill would help Trump, but Trump was too scattered and distracted and didnít make it easy to support; people had seen him turn on Congress, and many rank and file Rs hate govt spending and bailouts. Thereís almost certainly more. Iím sure there are factors only the insiders know, and they wonít tell. If you write this as a morality play with the other party as the bad guy, you canít then ask why canít people compromise for the public good. You wonít ever find the answer.

The ďlowballĒ offers coming from the WH and proposed by centrists from both sides were about twice as big as the deal that appears close.  Pelosi could have taken that, saving many lives.  Either side could have played the ďletís take the things we canít agree upon off the tableĒ.

Itís not about pointing fingers.  It has been amazing, though, that in recent Congresses it has become acceptable to refuse to compromise at all, letting legislation die.
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Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2020, 08:33:33 AM »

Offline Sophomore

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https://www.yahoo.com/money/democratic-gop-leaders-near-finalizing-a-stimulus-deal-160515257.html

Where were these attitudes of ďcompromiseĒ and ďpass what we can agree onĒ six months ago?

If this gets passed, there will be a lot of self-congratulations and talk of bipartisanship.  What a bunch of bologna.  The only thing that changed is the political calculus.

Politicians have always responded to political signals.

Legislation is a negotiation. Parties try to get the best deal they can, and just as in business or home buying, sometimes no deal is better than a bad deal.

I see a lot of comment on the thread about coming together for the good of America. But if the parties disagree about whatís really good for America how do you do that? If youíre lucky the incentives push ppl toward voting for good outcomes, but that often doesnít happen.

Iíd prefer a parliamentary system, like in England, where the party that wins an election actually gets to govern. Then voters know who is responsible for outcomes and can decide whether or not to vote the bums out. In our system, itís too easy to obstruct and then confuse voters about who did what.

How many people know why there wasnít a covid relief bill before the election? Iím sure Ds and Rs can give you their versions, but the explanations differ and who really knows? At least if one party was in power you could decide whether you liked the outcome and vote accordingly.

Itís not about ďpolitical signalsĒ.  Itís about six months of people dying while Congress did nothing.  They easily could have passed this bill back in May or June.

One of the hold ups was making sure that Trump didnít get an electoral boost.  How many tens of thousands of lives did that cynical political calculation cost?

Youíre looking at it only through the R lens, playing the same partisan blame game you say is the problem. We could put on the D lens and say it was held up by Rs for cynical reasons or ideological reasons, take your pick. Ds passed a package in May that Rs essentially ignored until September. There was none of the fierce urgency on the GOP side - we need to save lives! - that your post suggests until shortly before the election, when Mnuchin finally engaged for a distracted Trump. His offers were lowball and he insisted on big policy wins for Rs - on aid to states, UI, liability shields. He wanted to roll Pelosi. More importantly, the one person who really could have made a deal happen - McConnell - stayed on the sidelines. He wanted to preserve his majority (no hard votes before the election) and thought Trump was done anyway - if there was austerity that would just hurt Biden in January. Thatís the cynical view from the other side.

The reality is more complicated than either of these views, and itís very very hard to see what really happened. I do think Ds believed a big bill would help Trump, and so they thought they should get some things they wanted in the bill. If not, they would try to do better after the election. I think Rs really didnít want a bill in summer - aid was off the table for them - and that remains true for very many of them to this day. even when itís clear things are far worse. Mnuchin saw a bill would help Trump, but Trump was too scattered and distracted and didnít make it easy to support; people had seen him turn on Congress, and many rank and file Rs hate govt spending and bailouts. Thereís almost certainly more. Iím sure there are factors only the insiders know, and they wonít tell. If you write this as a morality play with the other party as the bad guy, you canít then ask why canít people compromise for the public good. You wonít ever find the answer.

The ďlowballĒ offers coming from the WH and proposed by centrists from both sides were about twice as big as the deal that appears close.  Pelosi could have taken that, saving many lives.  Either side could have played the ďletís take the things we canít agree upon off the tableĒ.

Itís not about pointing fingers.  It has been amazing, though, that in recent Congresses it has become acceptable to refuse to compromise at all, letting legislation die.
You are leaving out McConnell. Trump canít do anything w/o him.

Sean Trende, a center-right polling analyst, to me gives the best brief explanation of why a bill is happening now. Both sides finally have an incentive to act, because the costs of no deal went up.

Personally, Iíd prefer a world in which the Rs or Ds were in charge. We wouldnít have to argue over who should have given in. The parties would act and we would evaluate the results.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2020, 08:45:11 AM »

Offline Roy H.

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Both sides finally have an incentive to act, because the costs of no deal went up.

And thatís why Congress is broken.

The ďincentive to actĒ should be the well-being of their constituents.
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Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2020, 09:38:05 AM »

Offline gift

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Quote
Both sides finally have an incentive to act, because the costs of no deal went up.

And thatís why Congress is broken.

The ďincentive to actĒ should be the well-being of their constituents.

As simple as that one sentence sounds, two problems are that "well-being" is subjective and widely variable, and who they view as their constituents is based greatly on specialized interests and not necessarily general, common ones. One of those problems is theoretically fixable at least.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #51 on: December 17, 2020, 10:58:11 AM »

Offline wdleehi

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I am completely unhappy with Congress.   


No matter who has control, both houses need someone at the top who will actually work to get things done when they need to be done.

How many decision of whether to look at something or not is based solely on what is good for the party and not good for the country.   

With that said, one of the houses actually put something on the floor early, debated and voted.  One house was blocked by their leader.


Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #52 on: December 17, 2020, 11:55:34 AM »

Offline keevsnick

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The sad part is that although the scale of this deal is completely inadequate and about six months later than it should be both parties will now pat themselves on the back and celebrate the "accomplishment" and "bipartisan agreement"

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #53 on: December 17, 2020, 01:21:25 PM »

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Quote
President Trump signed four executive orders Saturday aimed at delivering relief to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus while accusing Democrats of stonewalling greater aid efforts.


Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans -- short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners.

Trump also signed a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000, while promising more relief if he wins a second term.

If youíre a Democrat politician, what do you do here?  Do you seek an injunction (no doubt through a surrogate)?  Do you litigate but let the order stay in place?  Do you just concede?
Seeking an injunction or litigating just doubles down on their own stupidity.  The Dems just need to accept that they were outplayed.

The divided governments with Trump and Obama vs. an unfriendly Congress have really frustrated me.  I majored in government, graduating college in 2000. Back then, it was widely agreed that divided government made for the most effective administrations, because it required compromise, which in turn was best for the American people.  Prime examples were Reagan and Clinton.

Somewhere along the way, that got jettisoned for absolute gridlock. Now we are seeing the natural consequence of that. Congress has abdicated its responsibilities, so the executive branch is stepping into the power vacuum.

Except its really not, these steps are more or less meaningless window dressing.

The eviction "moratorium" for example is toothless, its actually a suggestion to government agencies that they consider ways to lessen evictions.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/10/president-trumps-executive-order-does-not-extend-eviction-moratorium.html

The extension of unemployment benefits puts 25% of the benefits on states, many of which don't have the money at all which could prevent any disbursement of those funds.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shaharziv/2020/08/10/400-unemployment-extension-start-trump-signs-executive-order-in-lieu-coronavirus-stimulus-package/#6dc0559347c7

The payroll tax "cut" is actually a deferral, those funds are still owed at the end of the year. Its likely that as a result companies will be reluctant to actually pass that money onto their employees. And it only helps those who actually have jobs, not 30+ million jobless. And if all that is overcome its just going to end up in a social security cut down the line.

https://www.marke****ch.com/story/what-does-trumps-payroll-tax-deferral-mean-for-your-paycheck-not-much-experts-say-2020-08-10

No more money for schools, none for struggling state gov's. Basically these actions are pointless window dressing.

Lets be absolutely clear what happened here, this is not a "both sides" problem. Democrats had a bill for months, republicans dragged their feet because there is significant resistance in their own party against spending more money. And now here we are.

The Democrat Bill was a bloated $3 trillion wishlist of handouts.  It wasnít a serious attempt at reaching a deal.

And, Trumpís executive order is better than what Congress has passed, so Iím not sure what the objection is. Something is better than nothing.

Well putting aside the fact that I very much disagree with the characterization of the democrats bill.....

The objection is that 3 trillion dollars even if 50% of it is just literally lighting money on fire is better than a set of executive order that do literally nothing to actually help.

My main issue here is the blame is not evenly distributed across "congress." The title of the thread should be "Republican senators are terrible at their jobs." I maybe crazy here, but I tend to put more blame on the party that can't even agree amongst itself about what it wants.

This! Why do people expect anything from a party that proudly proclaims it does not believe in givernment?

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2020, 01:56:10 PM »

Offline Sophomore

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Quote
Both sides finally have an incentive to act, because the costs of no deal went up.

And thatís why Congress is broken.

The ďincentive to actĒ should be the well-being of their constituents.

As simple as that one sentence sounds, two problems are that "well-being" is subjective and widely variable, and who they view as their constituents is based greatly on specialized interests and not necessarily general, common ones. One of those problems is theoretically fixable at least.

Right now, McConnell is trying to talk his caucus into passing the relief bill. His pitch is that Loeffler and Perdue are getting hammered and need help. Heís hearing back reluctance to do another big spending bill. Iím sure thatís partly ideology and partly politics, but right now the reason they might pass a bill is to try and hold on to the senate.

If McConnell allowed a vote right now the relief bill might well get 51 votes or more, but most would come from Democrats. He wonít split his caucus that way. He wants a bill the party can support and hang together on. There are a lot more votes coming down the pipe, and a lot more at stake, to think about.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2020, 03:25:04 PM »

Offline Roy H.

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I am completely unhappy with Congress.   


No matter who has control, both houses need someone at the top who will actually work to get things done when they need to be done.

How many decision of whether to look at something or not is based solely on what is good for the party and not good for the country.   

Agreed.  Even with divided government and politicians who hated each other, the Newt Gingrich / Bill Clinton years were very successful.  Both sides attempted to work for the benefit of the voters.  The same thing with Reagan and Tip OíNeill.  Neither side remained ideologically ďpureĒ, because the thought was the electorate had to tolerate it.

Under GWB, I think Congress started to say ďscrew the peopleĒ.  It was Congressional Republicans who held up immigration reform, Democrats who filibustered judges and attempted to obstruct. 

Each successive administration / Congress has seemed to get worse.    We saw leaders of both sides essentially adopt a strategy of ďmy way or no wayĒ.  Healthcare, DACA, stimulus.  None of it matters, because each side will be supported by their own partisan backers no matter how much the country fails.
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Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2020, 04:02:37 PM »

Offline gift

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We should institute a half-baked solution to solve this problem. I suggest a Congressional wheel, perhaps  ;)

https://forum.celticsstrong.com/index.php?topic=102883.0

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2020, 02:25:11 PM »

Offline Roy H.

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Example one of Congress being broken:  the relief Bill that was passed that includes billions in pork and international money

Example two:  the House passed $2000 direct payments by a more than 2/3 margin.  At least 5 Republicans, and presumably all Dems, are in favor.  McConnell wonít commit to a vote. 

The leadership in both houses has way too much power.
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Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2020, 02:27:26 PM »

Offline hpantazo

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Example one of Congress being broken:  the relief Bill that was passed that includes billions in pork and international money

Example two:  the House passed $2000 direct payments by a more than 2/3 margin.  At least 5 Republicans, and presumably all Dems, are in favor.  McConnell wonít commit to a vote. 

The leadership in both houses has way too much power.

It's totally broken. We need hard term limits on all house and senate seats. Two terms and then your out, like the presidency. Bring in new blood and keep the motivation focused on working for the citizens instead of your own career.

Re: Congress Is Broken
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2020, 02:54:01 PM »

Offline jambr380

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Example one of Congress being broken:  the relief Bill that was passed that includes billions in pork and international money

Example two:  the House passed $2000 direct payments by a more than 2/3 margin.  At least 5 Republicans, and presumably all Dems, are in favor.  McConnell wonít commit to a vote. 

The leadership in both houses has way too much power.

You are right, but for the first time in history, I am pro-Mitch.

The $2000 direct payments initiative is a complete joke. This is supposed to be Covid-19 relief bill, not a free-for all money-palooza. Why on earth we are sending out $600 to everyone - never mind $2000? It makes no sense. If you were not directly impacted by the pandemic, then I don't understand why you need to have [more] money sent to you. And if you did lose your job, then the additional unemployment benefits should be able help.

And if they are insistent on sending out $600 - or $2000 - they should be sending it to people of all incomes. Just because you may have made more than $75,000 (or $100,000?) in 2019, it doesn't mean you weren't affected in 2020. This year is over - basing it on your 2019 income seems irresponsible. It's also yet another reason why Trump is an imbecile - the original bill was already passed.