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American Rescue Plan passes House, by a hair

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I watched the debate last night in the House of Representatives on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, AKA the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Republicans, predictably, resisted it to the bitter end; not a single one of the Insurrectionists voted for it. They couldn’t criticize it for content, because they can’t: America needs that infusion of money to recover from the pandemic. Instead, Republicans resorted to their usual insults and smears. A Texas rightwinger called ARP “The Democrats’ Blue State Bailout Bill,” as though red states don’t need help.

Another rightwinger called the bill “Democrat pet projects.” Not DemocratIC, Democrat. No Republican has called the party by its proper name—the Democratic Party—for years. What is wrong with them? It’s so immature, like snot-nosed bullies in the schoolyard playground. Maybe I’ll start calling the opposition the Republic Party.

Abortion? Another rightwinger, this time from New Jersey, went into a rant about tearing babies apart. Whatever your views on a woman’s right to choose, we’re talking about relief from the ravages of the pandemic, not abortion. Let us not forget—History won’t—that this pandemic got as bad as it did because Trump ignored it, downplayed it, lied about it, and played golf as it mowed down Americans by the hundreds of thousands.

The Oklahoma far right neo-fascist, Tom Cole, again referred to the Democrat “wish list” and “misguided bloated spending.” He also complained about Republicans being shut out of the debate. What a joke. For the last four years, when Republicans controlled the Senate and the White House, they gave the middle finger to Democrats and involved them in nothing. Now that they’ve lost control of both, they’ve discovered the need for bipartisanship!

“The majority insists it’s their way or the highway,” Cole whined. Tell that to Merrick Garland.

“It’s Christmas again,” another rightwinger, Steve Womack, complained. “These liberal promises” is how he described the bill—as if all Americans don’t stand to benefit. Republicans never understand that the wealth of America should be for one purpose: to benefit the American people. With so much economic pain, the people need money in their pockets. Our cities and states need the money to provide services. Our healthcare providers need the money to give us the vaccine. But Republicans have never worked for the people, despite their lies that they’re the party of the working class. No, they’re not. They’re the party of billionaires, tax-dodging CEOs and evangelicals.

Guthrie of Kentucky, another rightwing Trump tool, referred—as an example of pork—to “the Silicon Valley subway.” What is this “Silicon Valley subway”? A clever phrase. In reality, the “subway” is a continuation of BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit district, which provides public transit to the Bay Area. The ARP includes money to put this extension beneath the city of San Jose. Now, BART has been a blessing for decades, the same way other subway systems have been in New York, Boston, Chicago, D.C. and many other American cities. A portion of the Bay Area in Silicon Valley is the last stretch that hasn’t yet been linked by BART. Republicans, who don’t like Silicon Valley anyway because they think that they’re all liberals (or maybe it’s because people in Silicon Valley—unlike Republicans—are educated) are against this funding, and the only way they have of attacking it is to call it “the Silicon Valley subway,” the kind of phrase carefully researched to make people mad. A subway for billionaires! Who wouldn’t hate that?

Of course, all the Republicans in the House voted against the American Rescue Plan. They just can’t stand spending money on ordinary people—even when those ordinary people are their own constituents. It will be a matter for historians to understand why so many Americans voted against their own interests. How many people in rural red districts are working at McDonald’s or WalMart who could benefit enormously from an increase in the minimum wage? But how many of them have been persuaded by Republicans that raising the minimum wage is “socialist” or “anti-Christian”? That’s how insane these rightwing politics have become.

Voting on the American Rescue Plan went on into late last night, even as “The Crazy Convention,” as CNN accurately called the neo-nazi CPAC meeting this weekend in Florida, began, allowing Trump to again incite insurrection. The House vote was close until past the zero minute. It’s not clear to me why so many Democrats waited so long to cast their deciding votes. With no time remaining, Republicans were still beating the Act by 8 votes. But Democrats, in a near-empty Chamber depending on proxy voting, eventually edged out. When Rep. Maxine Waters, the L.A. Democrat, rose to speak about the American Rescue Plan, she said, “Republicans, you ought to be a part of this, but if you’re not, we’re doing it without you.” She spoke for me. In the end, with Speaker Nancy showing up in Kelly green to gavel it in, the House at 12:21 a.m. passed HR 1319, on a 219-212 vote. The American Rescue Plan of 2021 now goes to the Senate. Stay tuned!

  1. Steve,

    I hope you are well.

    About 50+ years ago, as we walked along Main Street, after coming down from the Hawthorne apartments, I blocked off a bunch of “townies” after they assaulted you.

    This memory came back to me when I watched some of the Golden Globes last night on The Trial of the Chicago Seven (re Abbie).

    I’m out here in LALA Land.

    Take care,

    Jeff

  2. Jeff Boxer! Wow. I still remember your ocelot, Schwartz! I remember you with love. I don’t recall that instance, but I do remember a time when George Chrznowski (spelling?) and I were assaulted by townies for having long hair. They beat us both but fortunately didn’t do any damage. The good old days! Where do you live in LA?

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