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Another eventful week! The Senate passed a major spending bill. President Biden has finally tested negative for COVID-19 after a tumultuous journey through Paxlovid and Paxlovid rebound. COVID and monkeypox continue their spread across the country. Alex Jones appears to have perjured himself. And the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was a predictable horror show featuring a January 6 prisoner exhibit and guest appearance by Hungary’s autocratic ruler, Viktor Orban.
Another big story was insulin—specifically, the failure of the Senate to cap the price of the lifesaving stuff.
Here’s what happened. The Senate parliamentarian struck again, this time telling Senate Democrats that a proposal by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month would not fly.
The parliamentarian ruled that such a proposal could not be passed by a simple majority vote via budget reconciliation because it would violate the so-called Byrd Rule, which prohibits provisions that are deemed outside the budget from passing this way. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sought to enforce the ruling.
This was not the Democrats' first rodeo with the parliamentarian. Back in February, the party leadership, including Vice President Kamala Harris, came under fire after accepting the Senate official’s ruling that a $15 minimum wage could not be passed via reconciliation.
This time, Dems would not simply go along with the decision. Instead, they would force a vote to overrule the parliamentarian, knowing that it was doomed to fail. But that was the point. As a Democratic senator put it before the vote, “We’re going to force them to vote no and put them on the record.”
Predictably, when the vote failed to win enough Republican support, Democrats and their allies were off to the races, accusing the GOP of killing the insulin cap.
But that’s not the full story. Democrats had another option available to them to pass the provision lowering the cost of the life-saving drug: They could have fired the parliamentarian, as the Senate Republicans did back in 2001 to secure passage of President George W. Bush’s budget and tax cuts. But they didn't.
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Your Independent News Roundup
MEANS MORNING NEWS covered some disturbing news: The United Nations has issued a dire warning about the status of two of the United States’ largest water reservoirs.
THE DAVID FELDMAN SHOW did a great rundown of the highlights of Alex Jones trial.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently suspended a locally-elected prosecutor who refused to prosecute abortion cases and cases involving violations of Florida’s anti-trans laws. BOLTS has more.
DeSantis, who is known for his laissez-faire attitude towards COVID-19 spread, also made headlines recently for dismissing the idea of monkeypox as a crisis. The FLORIDA PHOENIX explains.
CPAC wraps up today in Texas, and the latest edition to the OptOut roster, the TEXAS OBSERVER, covered opening night of the fascist circus.
Do you ever wonder how the hell we got here? How is it that American politics became so toxic and destructive? Well, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT has a great article exploring that very question.
Part of the problem in American politics is surely Big Money corrupting our electoral system. The CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY published a new investigation exploring dark money in Wisconsin’s Senate race.
In BAD NEWS, Ryan Grim analyzed the merits of Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate today.
As the Senate debated the new reconciliation package, one of corporate lobbyists’ favorite members of Congress, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), was once again in the spotlight, as STATES NEWSROOM reports.
After she convinced her colleagues to preserve the carried interest tax loophole for money managers, Sinema decided to support the legislation. A media panel on YOUR CALL discussed the developments.
HEATED’s Emily Atkin exposes a GOP-linked dark money group posing as a progressive advocacy organization concerned with climate change. The group advertised in corporate media, attacking the reconciliation bill, which includes $369 billion in incentives for renewable energy.
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