House Set to Pass Social Spending Bill but the Senate Isn’t; UFO Issue Won’t Go Away
Author: Greg Valliere
November 19, 2021
AN ALL-NIGHT FILIBUSTER by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy simply delayed the inevitable — the cradle-to-grave spending bill will win full House approval within days. But prospects are still cloudy in the Senate, which faces weeks of debate.
ISSUES THAT COULD SNAG THE BILL IN THE SENATE: Not surprisingly, Sen. Joe Manchin will be the focal point on several amendments. He opposes paid leave, which is in the House bill, and he is opposed to state and local tax (SALT) liberalization. Manchin also is adamantly opposed to a $12,500 tax rebate for individuals who purchase electric vehicles.
THE LATTER ISSUE WAS A POINT OF CONTENTION at the “Three Amigos” summit yesterday of U.S., Canadian and Mexican leaders. Biden enjoys good personal relations with Justin Trudeau and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but if the EV subsidies stick in a final bill, they could prompt a formal trade complaint, alleging a violation of provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade treaty.
WE’RE HEARING THAT IT COULD TAKE WEEKS for the Senate to agree on a social spending bill, which then would be sent back to the House, which would balk at some provisions. The bill will lose money, but yesterday’s official “score” by the Congressional Budget Office wasn’t as bad as expected.
THE BIGGEST ISSUE OF ALL is spending another $2 trillion; an editorial in this morning’s Wall Street Journal claims that the final cost could be twice as much — or more. This has provoked Manchin, who has the power to kill or delay the entire package; he’s convinced that massive new spending will exacerbate inflation, a huge issue for constituents everywhere.
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UFOs — AN ISSUE THAT WON’T FLY AWAY: Tucked in the Defense Appropriations bill that is slowly moving toward enactment is an amendment from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would establish an office in the Pentagon to investigate unidentified flying objects — or in the new parlance, unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).
IF PASSED, GILLIBRAND’S AMENDMENT would require the new office to release unclassified reports about its findings and share those findings with U.S. allies. Special attention would be paid to the “characteristics and performance of [UFOs] that exceed the known state of the art in science or technology.”
LONG A SUBJECT OF DERISION about “flying saucers,” this has become a serious issue for the military; many officials note sightings close to military bases by objects that maneuvered with impunity in ways that appeared to defy the known laws of physics and aerodynamics. A government report issued earlier this year couldn’t confirm or deny reports of UFO sightings.
FORMER MILIARY OFFICIALS, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS and even ex-presidents have expressed concern over these objects — a rare example of a bipartisan consensus in Washington. This definitely is no joke; Gillibrand’s amendment reflects a growing concern that these objects could be a threat.
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