This senator just delayed pandemic relief

This piece was originally published in the March 4, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

“If the senator from Wisconsin wants to read it, let everybody listen, because it has overwhelming support.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) forced Senate staff to read every word of the massive pandemic relief bill aloud, delaying its passage by several hours

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IN THE NEWS

  • Following the House passage of President Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ bill on Saturday, the Senate voted 51–50 this afternoon to end debate and proceed to a vote on the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. Despite several efforts by President Biden and the White House throughout this process to reach out to lawmakers across the aisle and seek their support for Biden’s COVID relief proposal, countless Senate Republicans are crying unity (again).
  • The group of Republicans who serve in Congress is starting to seem like the only demographic in America that doesn’t like Biden’s plan. It’s popular across demographics, and it’s even popular with Republican voters. So, let’s get this straight: According to Mitch McConnell’s logic, our country is only “unified” if Biden concedes to the demands of a few hundred specific members of Congress? Even when the people who sent those members to Congress support Biden’s plan? And even while we’re still in the midst of a five-alarm fire of a public health emergency? Got it.
  • Confirming our previous judgement that he is America’s Worst Senator, Ron Johnson (R-WI) is currently forcing the Senate clerks to read the entire American Rescue Plan on the Senate floor. He won’t be paying attention, it’s just trying to delay relief for the American people. (It’s live on C-SPAN 2, in case you don’t have any plans this evening.) The bill is 628 pages long, which senators say they estimate will take about 10 hours to read in its entirety. The clerks aren’t messing around, though, and they told reporters they can do it faster.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • The House passed two important pieces of legislation last night: H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The For the People Act, which also passed the House last Congress, is a democracy reform package and a top priority of House Democrats (hence its bill number — H.R. 1). If enacted, the bill would put in place long-needed democracy reforms and establish independent redistricting commissions, mandate access to early voting and same-day registration, and much more.
  • The Justice in Policing Act — which bears the name of George Floyd, the Black man who was violently and publicly murdered by Minneapolis police last May — would ban the use of neck restraints by law enforcement, abolish qualified immunity, and take other critical first steps in our ongoing national reckoning with the role of police in our society.
  • Much like the pandemic relief bill that’s being read in the Senate, there’s a significant gap between the actions of certain lawmakers and the preferences of their voters when it comes to democracy reform. Even in the face of a massive smear campaign from right-wing groups against the For the People Act, Republican voters actually want the sweeping democracy reform legislation to pass. A recent poll from Crooked/Data for Progress found that 57% of Republicans who aren’t in Congress support the bill, which would expand voting access and help fix several structural problems within our government.
  • The rate at which Americans are getting vaccinated is on the up-and-up. On Wednesday, the average number of vaccinations per day reached 2 million for the first time, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For context, the daily average was at about 1.3 million just a month ago.

WHAT WE’RE READING

This piece was originally published in the March 4, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

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