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At 5:23 am Friday morning, after a marathon of amendment voting, the US Senate passed its budget resolution teeing up Biden’s COVID relief package 51–50.

For the prior fifteen hours, the Senate voted on a series of non-binding amendments in what is called a “vote-a-rama.” Senators have the opportunity to put themselves and their colleagues on record on a whole host of issues in a largely meaningless but nonetheless fascinating PR exercise.

Here are all the non-unanimous, non-party-line recorded votes:

*Establishing a fund to provide grants to food service and drinking establishments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (introduced by Roger…

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In order to preserve civilian control of the military, current law prevents the appointment any military officer who has been out of active duty for less than seven years. Although the principle of civilian control of the military goes back to the Constitution, this specific requirement traces to the National Security Act of 1947.

In 2017, Trump had to get a waiver from Congress to nominate General Mattis as Secretary of Defense, a rare move that set a bad precedent — a bad precedent that President Biden has already decided to follow in nominating General Lloyd Austin.

Back in 2017…

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Last night, the House and Senate left town, with no deal in sight for COVID relief despite the uptick in COVID cases, COVID deaths, evictions, unemployment, and overall economic insecurity.

Among the key sticking points are the Republican ask for a liability shield so that companies that endanger their workers can get off scot-free and the Democratic asks for money for state and local governments (to avoid the mass layoffs and cuts that could create a double-dip recession) and the continuation of more robust unemployment benefits.

In other words, Congressional Democrats want a relief bill to help more people. Republicans…

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The following was inspired by hearing Joe Kennedy speak at my ward committee and watching the past few debates. I could write much, much more about the positive case for Markey beyond what I include below, but I wanted to focus on rebutting fundamental misrepresentations and internal contradictions from the Kennedy campaign.

An Opening Pitch

When approaching races, I like to think about (a) what will the candidates fight for/will they be a champion of some issue area, (b) will they be fighting to improve legislation, and (c) do they have deal-breakers (e.g., are there things that would make them oppose legislation).

I…

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The FY 2021 NDAA passed overwhelmingly as usual 295 to 125.

The NDAA authorizes $732 billion in discretionary spending for various military and “defense” capacities. One would think that given how Democrats talk about the threat Trump poses, they would try to curtail the size of the warfare state. They, of course, did not.

187 Democrats and 102 Republicans voted for it. 43 Democrats, 81 Republicans, and Justin Amash voted against it.

Here are the 43 Democrats who voted NO:

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On Wednesday, while the coronavirus outbreak dominated the news, the House of Representatives demonstrated what good bipartisanship and bad bipartisanship looks like.

First, the good. A War Powers Resolution directing the removal of any troops engaged in unauthorized hostilities with Iran passed 227 to 186. The fact that Congress actually takes votes limiting warmaking powers is a positive change from the laissez-faire enabling role that Congress has played in recent years.

Six Democrats voted against the resolution: Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Kendra Horn (OK-05), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Ben McAdams (UT-04), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), and Max Rose (NY-11).

But six Republicans —…

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Me: I can’t stand people who write long, self-important borderline-manifesto takes on elections.

Also Me: 11 (or, arguably, 14) takes on my decision-making re: the 2020 primary

(1) I think we are blessed to have a wealth of good candidates in the race, and by that I mean two.* I think both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have had robust progressive policy shops that have been a fountain of good ideas for how to move the country in the direction of equity, justice, democracy, and sustainability. I think their policy shops have had a mutually beneficial effect on each other…

On Tuesday, November 3, the American people — I hope — will elect a new president. And that president will take office in January next year, with an immediate task of digging us out of the hole that the Trump administration has put us in.

Some damage done by the Trump administration may be relatively easy to undo. But much of it will not. …

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Democrats are dependent on labor — as a source of funding, as a source of boots on the ground, as a source of year-round political education about the importance of liberal/left policies and frames.

But too often, Democrats position themselves not as the party of labor, but as a party where labor, capital, and rentiers (e.g., finance) all get together and negotiate. Democrats thus become arbiters not advocates — and the working class gets screwed. (Sometimes, Democrats directly side against labor, as is the case of those arguing for the privatization of public education).

House Democrats finally kept a promise…

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Yesterday, the day before House Democrats were set to vote on impeaching Donald Trump, they voted to authorize $1.4 billion for Trump’s wall and higher funding levels for CBP and ICE, without any actual accountability.

Trump’s attempt to get the Ukrainian government to interfere with our elections was bad. But what Trump has been doing at the border has been even worse: a moral atrocity with lasting damage.

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) slammed the bill in a statement:

“The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people…

Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.

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