Fiscal Policy Comes Back Into the Picture; The Shame of January 6
January 6, 2022
WHEN IN DOUBT, SPEND MORE MONEY: Even though the omicron variant may peak later this month — and is far less lethal than the delta virus — Congress is considering another injection of funding for restaurants, hotels and other service providers.
A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS has begun deliberations on a bill to spend about $68 billion, according to The Washington Post and other sources. We put its chances at slightly less than 50%, for two reasons: First, most Republicans are adamantly opposed to new spending; Second, there’s still unspent money from previous bills, and the states are flush with cash.
THE PACE IS GLACIAL ON CAPITOL HILL, and it could be March or April before a final bill could pass. By then, omicron could be in the rear view mirror. But the idea of more fiscal stimulus could gain momentum — especially since there’s no new monetary stimulus in sight, not after yesterday’s anti-inflation fatwa from the Fed.
IF A BILL BEGINS TO MOVE, it probably would be tied to funding to speed up Covid testing, which has been an embarrassment for the White House. And the measure also could include a revival of an increased child tax credit, which lapsed as the Build Back Better bill crashed in December.
DEMOCRATS NEED A PLAN B: They don’t have the votes for voting reform or filibuster changes, and they still don’t have the votes for a $2 trillion BBB measure. So as lawmakers straggle back to this snowy city, they’re looking for a new angle — and some type of fiscal stimulus may be on the table. But the crucial obstacle remains: not enough votes in the gridlocked Senate.
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THE SHAME OF JANUARY 6: The facts are irrefutable — several people died and dozens were seriously injured a year ago in an inept attempt to overturn the 2020 election. No amount of spin from Donald Trump will absolve him of some complicity; he refused to call off the riot, watching it on TV, holding out hope that he somehow could retain the presidency.
THE RIOTERS believed he was cheated in the 2020 election, a baseless claim that Trump continues to make; he insists that GOP nominees to hold office this year or in 2024 must adhere to his claim of fraud. Moderate Republicans, perhaps 30% of the party, don’t have a chance; they’re pariahs within the party.
THE JANUARY 6 STAIN ON DEMOCRACY WON’T DISSIPATE, but the committee investigating the riot may recommend a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Trump and others. That would be bold; a more likely fallback would be the endorsement of changes to the Electoral Count Act that would remove Congress from any involvement in ratifying election results.
WE WROTE YESTERDAY that Trump is the front-runner to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination; two thirds of party voters could support him, polls show. Many of Trump’s supporters in Congress and at Fox were appalled by the riots and Trump’s refusal to intervene, but they now ignore the irrefutable facts. Another ugly and disputed election looms.
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