Friday, July 01, 2022


Mitch McConnell is trying to strong-arm Democrats again:
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell threatened Thursday to derail a bill designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States if Democrats revive their stalled package of energy and economic initiatives.

The rejuvenation of the Democratic reconciliation package ... is far from certain. But with some signs of progress in the negotiations, McConnell is ... warning that Republicans would react by stopping separate semiconductor legislation from moving over the finish line in the coming weeks, despite its bipartisan support.

“Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill,” McConnell tweeted, referring to the shorthand name for the computer chips bill that passed the Senate last year.

Both chambers of Congress have passed their versions of the legislation, which would include $52 billion in incentives for companies to locate chip manufacturing plants in the U.S. Lawmakers are now trying to reconcile the considerable differences between the two bills....
USICA -- the United States Innovation and Competition Act -- was co-sponsored in the Senate last year by Chuck Schumer and Republican senator Todd Young of Indiana. Last summer it passed the Senate 68-32, with 19 Republican votes. This year, after the House passed a bill called the America COMPETES Act, the Senate substituted the United States Innovation and Competition Act, and the bill passed the Senate 68-28, again with 19 Republican votes.

This is a bill that, if it works as intended, could lower the price of semiconductors and the manufacturing cost of anything made with them. Some Republicans support that -- but clearly the caucus doesn't support it enough to care whether the bill passes or not.

If it were in his nature, I'd love for Joe Biden to browbeat, horse-trade, and cajole legislators the way President Lyndon Johnson did. It would have great if Barack Obama had done the same.

But what can you threaten to withhold from Republicans that they really want? Democrats want USICA because they want to be able to tell voters that they've done something for the country -- and because they seem to believe the bill is good for the country. Apart from tax cuts for the rich and whatever owns the libs, is there anything Republicans want enough that it will sting if they don't get it?

The ordinary items that the legislative process exists to provide just don't matter to Republican members of Congress or GOP voters. Besides tax cuts, which Democrats generally oppose, they think legislative bodies exist for the punishment of their enemies. They don't want anything that Democrats are willing to help provide but also willing to withhold. They want whatever Democrats don't want under any circumstances -- abortion bans, CRT bans, attacks on democracy, the expansion of gun rights, the re-closeting of LGBT people.

So how can you horse-trade with them?

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