The Main Problem Congress Has Is That Republicans Refuse to Cooperate in Governing the Nation

© Alex Wong – Getty Images Democratic squabbling over infrastructure spending pales in comparison to this outright vandalism on the debt ceiling.

Let’s begin the day by restating the simple fact that every bit of legislative foolishness and reckless vandalism occurring in Washington is caused by the Republican Party’s disinclination to cooperate in governing the nation. In fact, let’s begin every day that way for the foreseeable future, because too much of the elite political press is casting this foolishness and vandalism as a “stalemate,” or, worse, as a problem for Democrats. This, of course, in the face of repeated Republican statements that admit what they’ve been doing and why.

Take, for example, Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, who otherwise would exist only as a picture on a milk carton. (Thanks to the ageless wisdom of the Founders, Cramer, who got 179,720 votes when he ran in 2018, swings as much weight in Senate voting as does Elizabeth Warren, who got north of 1.6 million.) Anyway, as the Daily Beast reports, Cramer made the game plan as plain on Monday as anyone has.

“I’m confident they’ll figure it out,” said Cramer, with a chuckle. “Either that, or they’ll implode. Right now, I have to admit, while I don’t generally relish in other people’s misery, it’s sort of fun to watch their chaos.”

“With a chuckle.” How completely adorable. Cramer is involved in a strategy that will tank the U.S. economy, throw an estimated nine million Americans out of work, crater the stock market, and visit upon the country god alone knows what other horrors, just so Cramer and his party can have some bullshit to sling in 2022 and 2024.

Meanwhile, in the House, it looks like the grand design wasn’t quite Crazy Enough to Work, and that the monkey-wrenching came courtesy of some inside the caucus. From the New York Times:

But in private remarks to her caucus on Monday evening, Ms. Pelosi effectively decoupled the two bills, saying that Democrats needed more time to resolve their differences over the multitrillion-dollar social policy plan. The move amounted to a gamble that liberals who had balked at allowing the infrastructure bill to move on its own would support it in a planned vote on Thursday.

It also left unclear the fate of the more costly social safety net package, which Democrats are pushing through using the fast-track reconciliation process to shield it from a Republican filibuster. But with slim margins of control in both chambers, Democratic leaders must keep all their senators united in favor, and they can afford to lose as few as three votes in the House.

Ms. Pelosi said her shift in strategy came only after it became clear that Democrats would have to shrink the size of the reconciliation package from $3.5 trillion. Mr. Biden has been negotiating privately with conservative-leaning Democrats to settle on a final number. She outlined her new approach after speaking with the president and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, as the three worked to unite their members behind the details of the package.

And, once again, the whole thing can come a’cropper in the Senate, where so many things go to die that they should move the whole thing to LaBrea. To paraphrase Maya Angelou’s famous advice, when they tell you what they’re doing, believe them. Senator Professor Warren does.

“The Republicans would not have played politics, if only the Democrats had asked them not to weeks earlier, or months earlier?” Warren asked. “That argument makes me laugh out loud.”

It’s important to remember to laugh.

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