March 2, 2021
By: NATHANIEL BALLANTYNE
TRUENEWSBLOG – During a private meeting with her leadership team Monday night, Pelosi laid out plans to turn her chamber the next two weeks into a factory for Democratic priorities. They’ll move everything from election reform to a policing overhaul to gun control, plus women’s and union rights and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
These are issues Joe Biden campaigned for and they’re all DOA in the Senate. Some may not garner even a single Republican vote, let alone the 10 needed to break a filibuster.
Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, appeared to hint at that reality last week when a reporter asked him when his chamber would clear the Equality Act, another top priority the House passed last week. “At the exact right time,” was his cheeky response. Translation: at half-past-never, probably, because of Senate rules.
Pressure on Democrats from progressives to kill the filibuster is sure to mount as the party’s unfulfilled promises pile up. But lest we need a reminder, Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.), when asked Monday whether he’d ever change his mind on changing the supermajority rule, barked “NEVER!” in response. “JESUS CHRIST! What don’t you understand about NEVER?!” Against that backdrop, here’s Playbook’s handicapping of a few Democratic proposals coming down the pike.
1) H.R. 1, the For the People Act — Last Congress, not a single Republican voted for the election reform measure that would expand voting rights, limit dark money in politics and curb gerrymandering. And that was before everyone at CPAC unloaded on it. Even DONALD TRUMP mentioned H.R. 1 in his speech Sunday night. And Fox News is reporting on GOP outside groups attacking vulnerable Democrats for backing parts of the bill.
Schumer has promised to put the Senate companion bill on the floor. But with Republicans around the nation looking to curb access to voting, don’t hold your breath.
House passage: Coming this week, after a last-minute compromise with moderates first reported by our Congress team.
Senate prospects: Don’t bet on it.
2) Police reform — Senior Democrats hope Rep. KAREN BASS (D-Calif.) and Sen. TIM SCOTT (R-S.C.) can strike a deal at some point to overhaul how police treat unarmed Black men in their custody. But the two parties remain at loggerheads over qualified immunity, or legal protections for cops, which Scott called a “red line.” Also problematic for passage: There’s no deadline, and without a deadline, let’s face it, Congress is just about useless.
House passage: Expect this week.
Senate prospects: Not imminent, but a future deal is conceivable.
3) $15 minimum wage — This one is interesting. Yes, it’s about to get axed from the Covid bill. And no, it’s not going to pass if Schumer puts in on the floor for a stand-alone vote. But on Monday night, there were a bunch of GOP senators, including Maine’s SUSAN COLLINS and Iowa’s JONI ERNST, expressing support for some minimum wage increase, though lower than $15.
4. Also coming down the pipeline — Next week, the House will pass a pair of gun control measures, including expanded background checks and closing the so-called Charleston loophole, as well as a pro-labor bill protecting the right of unions to organize.
The following week, they’ll move the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment, the Violence Against Women Act and a series of immigration bills that will likely include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and help for agricultural workers.