You might find it hard to see when I tell you that I think Nancy Pelosi looks like Kevin Bacon, but give me a minute to explain it.
At the end of “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” the Faber College homecoming parade becomes a messy free-for-all with ROTC student Chip Diller – played by Bacon – desperately trying to maintain order.
“keep calm!” Chip Diller screams over and over as everything goes to hell. “All is well!” In the end, it was flattened like a pie by a runaway marching squad.
Because she’s trying to find a way, any way, to President Joe Biden’s multi-billion dollar spending bill passed (And a $1 trillion infrastructure bill) In the midst of Washington’s free-for-all chaos, Pelosi and her No. 2 owner Steny Hoyer are mentoring Chip Diller.
On Tuesday, Hoyer announced that Democrats in Washington would cut a deal “within hours.” As I write, it was about 25 hours from the time he said it. There is no agreement yet.
keep calm! All is well!
Also Tuesday, Pelosi met with the Speaker of the Progressive House, Representative Pramila Jayapal, to discuss the “framework” of the billion-dollar package. After the meeting, Jayapal said of Pelosi, “There are some people who just want us to vote ‘a certain way,'” and she explained why our members didn’t want to do that. Asked by reporters to respond to Jayapal saying that Pelosi’s method would not be enough for progressives, Pelosi said “I think it is!”
keep calm! All is well!
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is another version of Chip Diller: “We’re moving toward finding sweet spots,” he said Tuesday. keep calm! everything. . . . Good, you get the idea.
All this is happening on behalf of a bill that does not yet exist. Which I mean: we don’t know what’s in it. We don’t know how much you will spend. We don’t know what mechanisms will be in place to pay for it.
This is why you don’t even hear about Chip Dealers talking about passing the bill. No, what they want is some kind of formal acceptance of a “framework” for a bill.
Meanwhile, House progressives are still fighting to make this “framework” bigger and bigger. They are using the threat to deprive Pelosi of just three votes for a smaller infrastructure bill, which would be enough to bring her down for defeat.
That’s because the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is very weak. Those three votes could also be cast against the larger budget bill if it wasn’t lavish enough for them.
If you’re experiencing déjà vu here, it’s because the same thing happened almost the same way a couple of months ago. Back in August, Pelosi gave up trying to get the infrastructure bill through the House because progressives insisted they would vote on it unless they also got the bigger budget bill.
And imagine what? Just as he did in August, the leader of the House of Representatives Democrats, Representative Josh Gottheimer, said Wednesday that the infrastructure bill — which has significant bipartisan support — has been “held hostage” by progressives.
Meanwhile, everyone knows that the problem ahead is in the Senate. It would only take one Democratic vote there — either Joe Manchin of West Virginia or Kirsten Sinema of Arizona — to cut the big bill.
Here’s what Manchin said he couldn’t accept in the deal: four weeks of paid parental leave. Free community college. In the words of NBC News’ Teaganne Finn, “Manchin is also towing Medicare coupons to help cover annual dental costs, as well as pushing for Medicaid expansion in Republican-led states that haven’t expanded coverage.”
Oh, and he’s against the newly drafted “billionaire tax” proposal, which was coveted by Senate Democrats because Sinema opposed raising tax rates to pay the big bill. She doesn’t like this tax either, although she and Manchin both subscribe to a “minimum corporate tax” – a gimmick that would help defray a tenth of what these new programs would actually cost.
I don’t understand how the media is talking about all this like that democratic success is inevitable. It sure looks like a rodeo to me. Maybe I’m wrong. I was wrong before. But when people start looking like the Chip Diller, it’s probably time to look for the band that’s about to flatten them.