Biden wants to save the nation, McConnell wants to stop him. We need Ossoff and Warnock
There’s no question that President-elect Joe Biden’s November victory, now reaffirmed a satisfying bajillion times from the Supreme Court on down to state courts and by state legislators and the Electoral College—so much winning!—helped House and Senate Democrats in negotiating the coronavirus relief package. One that they all consider, and Biden himself declares, is just a “down payment” for what has to happen as soon as he’s sworn in in the new year.
Biden wants talks to resume next month for much more substantive aid, especially for state and local governments that Sen. Mitch McConnell has steadfastly shut out of picture since March. And that, of course, is and will be the problem next year: McConnell. No matter how long Biden and McConnell have known each other, no matter how vaunted Biden believes his negotiating skills are, McConnell has a vested interest in tanking the economy ahead of the 2022 midterms. He also has proved time and again he doesn’t care how many Americans die getting there. Everything good for the nation really does come down to those two Senate seats in Georgia.
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That’s the message Democrats need to be hammering in the state. McConnell did blink on the $600 direct payments stimulus checks, which he had been opposing because he thought they’d help the two Georgia Republicans who he reportedly promised a pre-Christmas deal to. And because he somehow thinks a one-time $600 check per person will be seen as a great and generous gift rather than the crumbs that it is. That’s how out of touch with actual people he is. So the message that there could be real and actual help if McConnell loses his majority is a powerful one in the state.
Biden’s vision, an official with the transition said, is more funding for “supporting the covid response effort, reopening schools and helping families, businesses, and state and local governments.” Biden has said repeatedly that the package passed Monday night by Congress isn’t enough. “This is not the end of the deal,” he told reporters earlier this month about the negotiations. That’s certainly his intent, and it’s been the message from every Democrat who’s spoken about the bill—this is a stop-gap, nothing more, and much more work needs to be done.
But now that the president is going to be a Democrat, Republicans’ deficit peacock feathers will be hauled out of cold storage and on full display once more. McConnell will continue to obstruct and the nation will continue to suffer. The vaccine will help, but McConnell’s refusal to provide adequate state and local aid to help its efficient distribution around the country will delay it. The pain will continue.
The start to fighting that is in Georgia. Once that’s secured, if it’s secured, then the fight is to nuke the filibuster and neuter McConnell to the greatest extent possible.