Hindsight is 20/20, but Majority Leader Schumer should have refused to hold a vote on the "defense" bill until both Build Back Better and the voting rights bills passed. If he and President Biden want to get their agenda through, they are going to have to play hardball. Congress members who are bought and paid for by large corporations are like stone walls. They won't yield unless something they really want is at stake. No more nostalgia for 1970's "collegiality."

That goes for the courts as well. The voting rights bills need to contain provisions that they are not subject to judicial review. I recently read that when John Roberts was in the Reagan Justice Department in the 1980's, they considered doing exactly that. They called it "court stripping."

As for the filibuster, it is nothing more than a cover for lazy and irresponsible senators who fail to do their jobs. IMO, any U.S. senator who supports the filibuster in its current form is, by definition, unqualified for the job.

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My "guess" can be okay, but never as good as yours. Without question "Maga", media and money are the most crucial forces destroying our democracy. I've been watching Joe Manchin since Biden became president, I KNEW he was going to do this, why didn't Biden? The progressive Dems knew it too. What's the matter with Schumer? Passing defense bills without using any leverage to get what Biden/Dems need? Democrats need to return to Congress with a whole new approach, massive mindset readjustment, big kahunas to save this country from the mobsters and grifters undermining 200 plus years of what this country was founded on. Get out of the Peanuts mindset with Lucy and the football. WAKE UP!

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Dec 20, 2021Liked by Robert Reich

I imagine all of us were compelled both by Professor Reich’s urgent call to prioritize the passage of voter protection legislation and also by his meticulous analysis of a 3-part effort, all of which interlock and are currently underway to undermine the next election. Additionally, I would note that the perpetuation of false grievances that the 2020 election was stolen will succeed unimpeded if Senate Democrats don’t change the Senate’s filibuster rules. Still, because the prospect of either Manchin or Sinema consenting to a carve out seems remote, this past Friday Senate Dems held a special caucus meeting that included former Senate Secretary and expert on the U.S. Senate’s rules Martin Paone. They largely explored Senate rule changes that would resuscitate some version of the talking filibuster that, once exhausted, would conclude with an up or down majority vote. The current thinking is that voter protection legislation would be the first to benefit from this rule change. That understood, imagine the possible impact of this generic rule change on legislation that has passed in the House but remains stalled in the Senate.

As for Manchin abruptly withdrawing his support from Biden’s entire Build Back Better agenda, a contributing factor might have been last week’s demonstration by Slate Senior Editor Jorden Weissman of how legislation could be stitched together that fell within Manchin’s $1.7 trillion figure over 10 years. Weissman estimated the Senate could preserve much of the child tax credit expansion, affordable child care and pre-K, fixes to ACA subsidies, with enough left to pick another policy. He further noted the advantage of the legislation not lapsing, say in 3 years, and being subject to repeal were the Republicans to retake power.

Concluding with a few thoughts regarding the media, because I view “the big lie” as laying the foundation for changing election rules, removing non compliant personnel, and inciting violence, we must far more aggressively demand that journalism fulfills its critical responsibility to expose deception, connect the dots, and reveal the truth. Additionally, it should be noted that A.G. Garland’s press conference, a week or so ago, that concluded with a plea to Congress to pass new federal voting rights legislation received virtually no coverage. Garland’s remarks had made clear that DOJ would do whatever it could (translation: go to court to protect voting rights), but that Congress would have to do what it alone could do (pass legislation that also protects election integrity and thus democracy itself).

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I’ve been saying this to everyone I know and to people I don’t know. Most of my interaction is through social media. I just encourage others to “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE”.

Everything you just said has been my greatest nightmare. American people NOT pressuring for EQUALITY IN VOTING……..is taking away our one true power. The word that sticks in my mind is COMPLICIT.

Having Democrats act as if we have time to fix this DEMOCRACY DESTROYING behavior by Republicans, pisses me off. No one is passing the Build back Better plan Biden created to help Americans. Republicans try to stop most things that benefit every day Americans. WHAT’S NEW!

If we don’t stop being stuck on stupid, and actually fight for the things that truly matter, there won’t be anything left to fight for.🤦🏼‍♀️

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It's interesting (and frustrating) that there is so much media focus on Manchin and Sinema over their refusal to back BBB and Voting Rights, but very little attention to the fact that NO Republicans will even consider either bill. Frankly, I consider Schumer to be a weak leader, as he seems unwilling to get in the faces of these Senators and bring them in line, AND unwilling to challenge any of the more moderate Republicans, like Murkowski, Romney, etc. to put country over party. It's time for Democrats to play hardball, because playing nice doesn't work with this bunch.

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Perhaps thinking is my downfall. Ever since I first heard of Manchin's big announcement, I HAVE never been so sad and disappointed. How can ONE MAN be so loftly to hold millions of people who are suffering from every form of political neglect and literally SLAM THE DOOR OF POSSIBLE REDEMPTION FROM HARDSHIPS smack in their faces with no guilt or remorse?

He has closed a chapter on any chance of middle class and poorer folks ever seeing a way clear to improve their plight. And he does this all while he ENRICHES HIMSELF CONTINUOUSLY with the riches of people and corporations who have no qualms about stealing from others, killing the planet, causing great suffering and destruction to the lives of his own constituents. They would be some of the most worthy beneficiaries of the fruits of the Build Back Better bill. It's like Rome is burning and he lives on his yacht with caviar and spirits completely oblivious to the needs of others.

Why did he choose to govern if not to help others? Why is he so blinded by wealth and power that he fails to see his real purpose as a legislator? Maybe he needs a trip through history...You know, the Sermon on the Mount, the Eight Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, or perhaps the Greatest Commandment? I for one certainly hope that Jesus isn't disguised and living in his midst because there will be no recognizing Him for sure. He never came for the rich and wealthy. He busied himself CARING FOR THE NEEDY AND THE SINNERS, MR. MANCHIN.

In every generation there has been a Statesman, a Leader who felt himself the caretaker for the lowly. Where are They? Where are Franklin, Jefferson, Adams. Hamilton, Washington, Monroe , FDR, McCain, Lewis? Who will take the banner? Who will lead the charge? We must provide our own saviors lest we fail and democracy fails and we become another LOST LAND.

I cannot believe that there are not more than a mere handful of Republicans , especially those RETIRING, who would be willing to stand and battle for this great land of ours! Personally, I HAVE NOT been this despondent since I was 15 years old and lost my father. It's like I am a child again and there is no one to turn to for help.

And then I complete listening to your podcast, dear sir, and while you haven't laid out a smooth road you have GIVEN us a blueprint, a path, a possibility at an answer. There is a tiny light, faintly visible, in the near distance and we must gather ourselves and GO THERE. We do not need another Civil War. We do not need lies and chaos, we need what patriots have fought for always, a free and fair country where EVERYONE has a chance at opportunity and life.

Thank you ,again, for giving some hope to my weary heart. We must follow and we must do it with haste. One person should not control the destinies of so many.

Surely there are loyal supporters in Congress!

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I have never been so confused by our government in America. You make sense for many that don't understand how the federal government really works in today's new world. My husband is on Medicare and 71 years old. He needed massive dental work. We had to pay out of pocket. The procedures took 18 months. And at a cost of $25,000! Since we live in Arizona many people told us to go to Mexico. The procedures would cost half. We felt safer staying in America and paying the cost. The BBB plan has good ideas and bad ideas. Why do these bills have to be all or nothing? Why can't congress pass to include dental on Medicare in one bill? On a side note talking about voting rights, I read about $400 million "Zuckerbucks" regarding the 2020 election. Did you read the article and have any comments? It looks to me those with the most money control everything in the USA..... even our votes. Elon Musk can make one tweet and change the stock market outcome for the day. We are living in unchartered water right now. The virus outbreak has many emotionally drained. What is all of this doing to the next generation of voters? Plus main stream news keeps talking about the next civil war. Americans are being manipulated. Perhaps by China? Silly Americans. We fight each other not realizing we need to come together now more than ever in our history. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I AM an American. We will prevail. At least I hope and pray for my grandchildren's sake.

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Prof Reich:

As usual, you explain aspects of various topics so eloquently. However, I have to disagree on controlling any speech. I agree with "Revoke Section 230 of the Communications Act".

However, like Aaron Sorkin had the fictional President Andrew Shepherd state, "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours."

Like Joe Scarbourough said this morning, "Its not over until its over and then its still not over." Biden and Manchin know each other. After the anger subsides, Biden will call Manchin and if they have to pass a smaller version or separate aspects of BBB piecemeal, then so be it.

Manchin's claim that BBB will add to inflation are ridiculous on its face and he's only using buz words to gain people's attention and approval for his hesitancy.

So let's not panic about BBB.

The biggest concern however is; will Manchin go along with carving out voting rights from the filibuster and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as soon as possible?????

This is where we have to "put up a fight" more than anything. With BBB we didn't lose anything we already didn't have in the first place.

One man, one vote is another matter!!!!

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I have a very hard time understanding why Democrats ever think republicans won’t pull every filthy trick known to humankind. We are on the edge of a very frightening takeover and it appears as if Democrats allow every delay the republicans throw out. Why are commenters here seeing more clearly than congress members!? The urgency of passing the voting rights act is our only chance to have our voices heard.

This article pin points every issue, $ in politics, importance of Voting Rights, getting Trump and company in prison…start at the top with indictments, not the bottom!

I feel more fearful by the day.

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Yes but! The strategy on how to pass the voting rights bills and the contents haven't been discussed and explained to the public. You need the public not to be neutral. This goes back to Joe Biden. He hasn't used his bully pulpit in any way we can call effective and his polling shows it. Will he wake up and start speaking effectively on voting rights or will he do what he did with BBB, let a minor senator from the nation's poorest state take his presidency into the gutter?

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He’s a Republican “sleeper” positioned to stop legislation.

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Strip Manchin and Sinema of all committee assignments to send message that obstructionism is no longer an option. Focus on voting rights as the lead issue because without that all is lost. Pass any one thing that creates a significant surge in jobs in swing states so they have a personal and tangible reason to favor Biden / DNC.

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It was such a gut punch to hear that the Senate was adjourned for the rest of the year without getting BBB and voting rights protected. I wasn't too surprised, but I'm soooo disappointed in Joe Manchin.

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Getting a filibuster carve out seems to be the only way that Dems will get voting rights passed, and Manchin appears to be immune to pressure. He currently enjoys a 60% approval rating in WV. And I wonder how many West Virginians care about voting rights, since they’re extremely conservative, and voter suppression legislation benefits conservatives.

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Manchin's positions on the issues seem to change on a weekly, daily, hourly basis. First he's for it, then against it, then he's isn't sure, then he's reconsidering his position. He only gave the White House a 20 minute heads-up before the FOX interview. How can you work with someone like that? I think Bernie Sander's is right, when Congress returns FORCE him to vote some of these issues up or down in the Senate. Democrats need to get tougher with him, even at the threat of him turning into a Republican. (In reality he already is one).

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I haven’t taken the time to dig into the subject yet but I guess other people will have the same question. Can anything be done in Congress against the big lie, the big anger, and big money as long as the filibuster is still in place?

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