There are reports this morning that Democrats plan to put part of President BBB’s agenda into a 2022 reconciliation package. At first glance, that sounds terrible. Great things get harder, not easier, the closer you get to an election — especially if you don’t think it’s going to go well. But this is actually a good thing. Or at least a necessary thing. It is critical that this long legislative march be completed, voted on and signed as soon as possible. I noted yesterday that I just don’t see any recognition of that urgency from the players on the mound and the White House. Each day that passes one of the agendas becomes less likely and the electoral ramifications of this dragging season of political impotence are mounting.
Yesterday someone asked me: why don’t they get the urgency? I think there are two reasons. The first is that Capitol Hill is its own world, with its own rules, dynamics. It can stand on its own, even if it is wholly the creature of public opinion and the ongoing elections. That’s part. The bigger and very real part is that the best way to speed things up if you’re one of the players who has a voice is to give in. If you think it’s super important to get a particular program billed, your best way to speed things up is to agree to have your super important thing scrapped. Everyone can see the importance of speed and yet not be willing to sacrifice what they think is super important. It’s a bit of a game theory nightmare.
I fear that some progressives — or really just proponents of a larger bill — don’t so much cling to the negotiations as ignore the reality of the situation: The bill will be significantly smaller than most Democrats wanted. That sucks. But if you face that fact in 3 months, it won’t suck any less.
Quickly find the best bad option and move on.
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