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Senate Democrats on Tuesday agreed to support a spending package worth $3.5 trillion. And because it’s a budget bill, it can elude the rules of the filibuster — just go with me on this — and get to the floor for a vote.
The Senate is divided: 50 Democrats, 50 Republicans. If there’s a tie, the president of the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris, can break it.
Voila! The Democrats are going to get their $3.5 trillion! After all, all 50 Democratic senators have agreed to it, and Harris will break the tie, and yayyyyy!
Or so the mainstream media told us breathlessly. Here was The Washington Post’s headline: “Senate Democrats Announce Plans for $3.5 Trillion Budget Package to Expand Medicare, Advance Biden Priorities.”
And AP’s alert: “Senate Democrats Reach $3.5 Trillion Budget Agreement, Including Money for Climate, Education, Family Programs.”
What a triumph for our new FDR-LBJ! Biden has already racked up $2 trillion in coronavirus emergency bucks. Now he will be adding $3.5 trillion on top of that — and who knows, maybe the infrastructure bill will finally come through with another $1.2 trillion. Yes, nearly $7 trillion in new spending splashing over America.
The only problem: The story about the $3.5 trillion agreement wasn’t true.
On Wednesday morning, it became clear that there were at least two Democratic senators who had in no way agreed to anything.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia released a statement that said: “I will reserve any final judgment until I’ve had the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the proposal.” And Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona? Her spokesman said “she will give careful consideration to any idea that can strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona families get ahead.”
Simply put: Neither of these two Democratic senators said they supported the deal we had just been told all Senate Democrats supported.
What happened here?
Simple: Either the DC media got spun, or they spun themselves in their hysterical joy. It doesn’t really matter which of the two is true, because they dovetail. The media were spun only because they wanted to be spun — because the tax-and-spend priorities of the Democrats fall in line with the desires of the people who cover them.
Polls of media types over the past half century have shown an overwhelming number vote Democratic, and those preferences will at times overwhelm their good sense about covering their party with a sufficiently skeptical eye.
For those with an activist and big-government agenda, the situation on Capitol Hill is grinding and difficult. This is something you may not realize, because the coverage is curiously silent about it and curiously clamorous whenever grand ideas are floated.
Even though they nominally hold majority status in both chambers of Congress, Democrats have the weakest hold on congressional power of any party in US history. For one thing, they lost 15 seats in the House of Representatives and maintain their control by a four-seat margin.
And had it not been for former President Donald Trump’s claims of electoral fraud actively depressing GOP turnout in the special elections in Georgia in January, Republicans would almost certainly have prevailed and kept the Democrats in the minority in the Senate. Hard data suggest more than 100,000 solid Republican voters stayed home.
But even with those unexpected victories in two runoff races, Democrats don’t hold a true majority — they can only prevail in a 50-50 split with Harris’ vote. More important, their 50th seat is held by Manchin, who represents a state Trump won in 2016 by 41 points and in 2020 by 39.
The political reality is that there is no national mandate for a transformative leftist presidency. And if the media made that clear in their coverage, they would do a better job of informing gullible fellow liberals about the way things really are in the capital.
But where the mainstream media are concerned, the heart wants what it wants.
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