Manchin and Sinema Stymie Democrats on Spending

20 Sep 2021

CLAY: I wanted to hit this as we start off the second hour of the program, I actually saw of all people CNN put this out, Buck. So we just talked as we finished the first hour about the strike in Afghanistan that killed an innocent man and seven children. That news came out on Friday. But as we are sitting here on Monday morning getting ready for what should be this pursuit of the $3.5 trillion budget plan, the infrastructure bill, and everything else, I want you to listen to all of the things right now that are confronting Joe Biden and his administration, okay? So, this is a significant deal, Buck, ’cause we had talked about it a lot. What was the Senate parliamentarian going to rule as it pertained to trying to make citizenship for eight million illegals?

BUCK: Right. They’re making it a budgetary bill. The Democrats pretended that amnesty for about eight million people was a budgetary matter; therefore, they should be able to squeak it by through the reconciliation parliamentary trick and not actually even have real legislation passed by the United States Congress that would legalize a group of people the size of the entirety of New York City. That’s what they were trying to do.

CLAY: Yes. So that gets shot down. Okay? This is a big deal, I am told, by people who follow foreign policy significantly; and it’s certainly a big deal because Biden said, “Hey, we’re gonna the adults back in the White House.” They somehow upset France so badly that France has pulled all of its ambassadors and representatives out of the United States, something that’s never occurred before, because we didn’t include them in some sort of submarine pact with Australia and England.

You’ve got over 12,000 people, illegal immigrants under the bridge in Del Rio, Texas. We mentioned the drone strike that killed 10 innocent people, including seven children. The FDA panel, Buck, rejects the idea of booster shots by a massive magnitude, which Biden had made one of the foremost components of his goals to get covid under control.

Joe Manchin is saying that he doesn’t want to have a vote at all now on the $3.5 trillion budget this year, is the latest news. Kyrsten Sinema has come out and said she doesn’t support the drug plan. You can’t even get budget reconciliation if you don’t have at least 50 votes.

And there is now a debt ceiling battle which also threatens whether or not this infrastructure bill can be passed. That is all disastrous for Joe Biden. Buck, I was sitting looking at this list, and I was thinking over the weekend, and I thought I would hit you with this question: Can you name anything that’s going well for Joe Biden right now?

BUCK: No. This is what we’ve been saying. It’s felt this way for the last couple of months. Now, we both think the Biden administration is just one long, I’d say, comedy-of-errors — more like tragedy of errors — but it’s one long series of missteps and blunders. But lately — especially because of what we’ve seen with the changes in covid policy, the big surges in covid numbers that have occurred this past summer — there’s not even talking points to deploy — they don’t even really exist — about the successes of the Biden administration.

What you really have in many ways mirrors what you saw in California, where Gavin Newsom was able to rally Democrats to his side by pretending that Donald Trump is on the ballot. This is what they point to which is also why over the weekend, Clay, they reinstalled fences and there are all these riot police deployed in Washington D.C.

CLAY: Oh, yeah. There were more media than there were protesters.

BUCK: There were more journos from Politico and the Washington Post, it seemed, than there were actual protesters for the people are being held and have been held in solitary confinement for months, in many cases for nonviolent crimes that amount to obstructing a government process from January 6th or perhaps destruction of property. And yet that was a big focus of the media over the weekend.

Clay, there is nothing they can say about the Biden administration that looks positive right now. And if, as you point out, the reconciliation bill does not become a massive, “We just shoehorn everything into this, get whatever we want, spend like there’s no tomorrow” — which is kind of what they’re doing — then the Biden agenda turns into what in year one going into year two? What do they put on the scoreboard?

Really, you and I are pretty good as finding different ways to argue different points of view. If someone said right now, “Buck, you’re the new Jen Psaki,” which…

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: That would be interesting. How would you position Biden’s first year, I almost can’t make fun of her for saying things — you know, for making it about Trump or babbling nonsense about things, because it’s like there is a point at which even a great defense attorney doesn’t have much to work with with a client. Year one Biden administration is a client that’s going away for a long time.

CLAY: I’ll tell you what they’re gonna try to spin. And this news just came down, by the way. The Supreme Court is going to hear the Mississippi abortion case on December 1st. So I think what they’re going to do is the same playbook that Gavin Newsom ran: Orange Man Bad and they’re going to take away abortion rights.

They’re going to lean heavily on that as their calling card going into 2022. And if Manchin holds back and actually sticks to his guns and they don’t do this massive budget for 2022 or wait until 2022, then I think the only argument Biden will have is, “Hey, we have to have more support in order to enact or agenda.”

BUCK: What about Sinema? You’re giving Manchin all this credit. Sinema has come out swinging today.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: They’re both obviously in this position where they could play spoiler, and they both benefit from that given the realities, the political realities in their respective states of Arizona and West Virginia.

But Sinema’s basically said, “If you guys play any games…” This was just today in Politico Playbook. “If you play any games with the…” Here’s what’s happening. The far-left Democrats in the House are saying, “We’re going to nuke the infrastructure bill in an effort to try to get more of what we want in the overall spending bill.”

CLAY: And just to reset for everybody out there, the infrastructure bill passed the Senate, and they haven’t allowed it to be voted on in the House because the idea was, once infrastructure happens, then senators, like Sinema and Manchin are just gonna be like, “Peace out. We’re not involved in this $3.5 trillion.” So the progressive…

This was the whole battle over with these were connected or independent bills that Biden had to try to clean up after he said he wouldn’t sign one if the other one wasn’t passed. So this is rearing its ugly head, just to kind of set the tone there.

BUCK: And Sinema is saying if Pelosi… Well, really it’s AOC, The Squad, and the progressive caucus in the Democrat House. If they play any games, though, with this process as it has been promised by Pelosi so far, that she will then not play ball going forward on the overall spending bill.

CLAY: So everything could collapse.

BUCK: Everything could go down on this one if she holds firm. Look, it’s also kind of amazing that we’re acting like an additional trillion dollars or $2 trillion of spending is —

CLAY: Is a failure.

BUCK: — fiscal sanity, given that we spend $6 trillion over the course of covid that we weren’t anticipating. But the Biden agenda, all the other things they’re trying to shoehorn into the massive bill, Clay, that’s the stuff. First of all, there should be just straight-up legislation for, but they’re hoping to find ways to put it into reconciliation.

Some parts — famously, some parts — of Obamacare got through via the reconciliation maneuver, which people felt like was a huge abuse, especially for a massive new entitlement, et cetera. But I don’t… Do you think Manchin and Sinema hold strong on this one?

CLAY: I do. I do. And we’ll talk about this some, but all of it tied together, Joe Biden’s presidency is on the ropes.

BUCK: It’s only year one, though, man. It’s only year one. They got a lot of lies to tell in year two and a lot of Orange Man Bad fearmongering. I’m with you, but I wish we were having an election in —

CLAY: Right now.

BUCK: — 60 days.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: Whatever it is. November. I’m not doing the math in my head right now. I wish we were having an election in November because it would be a political bloodbath for the Democrats.

CLAY: It would be like 1994.

BUCK: A year we’ll have to see.

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