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► Senate Republicans seem unwilling to even discuss President Biden’s proposal for additional COVID-19 stimulus relief.
Susan Collins sounds like a no, Romney sounds like a no, Murkowski doesn’t sound like a yes.
That bipartisan $1.9 trillion virus relief extravaganza Biden wanted is in the middle of a Failure to Launch. https://t.co/eMNEIg62ON
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 21, 2021
This discussion could have larger repercussions by pushing Democrats further toward abolishing the filibuster altogether. As CNN reports, Senate MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell is making it difficult for Democrats to argue against ditching the filibuster:
The tense standoff over the issue is stalling a power-sharing agreement between the parties in the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris has a tie-breaking vote. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, now in the minority, is insisting language assuring the protection of minority rights — through the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome filibusters of bills — be added to a must-pass organizing resolution.
“Mitch McConnell was fine with getting rid of the filibuster to a United States Supreme Court nominee for a lifetime appointment, but he’s not okay getting rid of the filibuster for unemployment relief for families that are out of work because of COVID-19,” said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “I’ve just had enough of Mitch McConnell.”
To put it more plainly:
The fact that Mitch McConnell can use the filibuster to prevent the majority from taking control of the Senate is a pretty good argument against the filibuster.
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) January 21, 2021
► Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that the article of impeachment against former President Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday. As The Washington Post reports:
Schumer pushed back on arguments by some Republicans that a trial of a president who has already left office would be unconstitutional. Democrats are seeking to convict Trump and bar him from holding federal office again.
“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country, and then be permitted to resign, so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office,” Schumer said. “Makes no sense.”
► President Biden is moving along at
warp ludicrous speed in his first days in office, from strengthening LGBTQ protections and appointing new directors to oversee the FCC and FTC, to ousting Trump-appointed officials at “Voice of America” and pushing forward with federally-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites.
► Thursday was yet another strange day in the world of the new House Republican Qaucus.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Cohen uses an Op Ed in The Denver Post to…clarify?…his accusation that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert aided insurrectionists.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
As Promised, More Words…
► As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Biden Presidency thus far is just how…normal it seems:
It was all so damn normal. That it feels different speaks to the utter radicalization that Trump brought to, literally, every aspect of the presidency.
Trump seemed bound and determined to undo absolutely every aspect of what it had meant previously to be president. “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL,” he tweeted less than six months into his first term. “Make America Great Again!”
Trump embraced the abnormality of his vision for the presidency as proof that he was, in essence, freaking out the squares. The fact that he abdicated the moral leadership that past presidents innately understood to be the core of the job was evidence that he was fighting for the people not the powerful, or something…
…It’s only in the light of the utter normality that Biden has projected over these last two days that you can really see just how not-normal every last bit of the Trump presidency actually was. And how it was all just so totally exhausting. The tweets, the statements, the threats, the bullying, the policy reversals, the tweets (again) — it all made the country feel like it was sprinting on a treadmill that just kept going incrementally faster. Or that we were all trapped on a bus that was hurtling through the country, unable to slow down. (Come to think of it, that would make a good movie plot!)
► As ABC News reports, things are going great for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Rifle):
We found this section to be particularly interesting:
Another image, taken at a pro-gun rally shortly after Boebert launched her campaign in 2019, showed her posing with local members of the Three Percenters, which was one of two organizations credited with providing security at the rally, according to published reports.
Photos of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol showed some participants waving the Three Percenters flag during the riot.
In June, Boebert tweeted the provocative statement: “I am the militia.”
When asked about her views on anti-government militia groups, Boebert said their activity is sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution — but she stopped short of offering a full-throated endorsement of their efforts. She said she doesn’t know Robert Gieswein, the Colorado man who had posed in front of her restaurant and who was later charged with participating in the Capitol siege. She said the photos she has taken with Three Percenters should not be viewed as an endorsement of their actions.
“Lots of people attend my campaign events,” she said. “I’m not affiliated with any groups. Lots of people come out. Lots of people take photos with me. I’m not vetting every person that comes to my events.” [Pols emphasis]
What’s funny about Boebert’s comments here are that they are remarkably similar to how a spokesperson for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to criticism from The Kansas City Star after Pompeo appeared in a photo with Boebert earlier this month. Said the spokesperson for Pompeo:
“The secretary takes thousands of pictures every week. Those pictures don’t represent an endorsement of every single belief each of those people hold and it is absurd to imply that through this piece of shit story.” [Pols emphasis]
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast takes a look at Boebert’s very suspicious and obvious ties to a number of militia and extremist groups.
► As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Rep. Boebert has yet to be appointed to serve on any Congressional committees.
Oh, and Boebert introduced her first piece of legislation: A pointless effort to oppose plans for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) talks about the Presidential inauguration and the work ahead in an interview with Colorado Public Radio.
► Colorado is leading the way in regulating methane gas emissions, and the federal government may soon follow along. As The Associated Press reports, President Biden is pausing some drilling activity as part of a larger review:
The Biden administration announced Thursday the suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters for 60 days as part a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior.
The move follows President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change.
The suspension went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. The order did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning oil and gas activity won’t come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated.
The order also blocks the approval of new mining plans, land sales or exchanges and the hiring of senior-level staff at the agency.
► As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, two Coloradans have secured prominent roles in President Biden’s transportation department.
► It’s time to ditch the University of Colorado’s “conservative affirmative action” program.
► Colorado lawmakers are considering legislation to make remove standardized testing (such as the ACT and SAT) as requirements for college admissions.
► Teachers in Denver Public Schools are expressing reservations about returning to in-person learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
► A technical glitch is holding up the release of new unemployment numbers in Colorado.
► All’s fair in love and war (and politics).
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made an hilarious mistake in a Senate speech, saying that former President Trump incited an “erection.”
► Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has no “regerts” about trying to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
► As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, many Republicans are trying hard to spin President Biden’s anti-racism arguments as some sort of veiled attack on conservatives.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, where hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii lament that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Rifle) is as bad as they thought she would be:
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