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The Editors

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A Hesitant, Half-Hearted Stand against China

President Joe Biden and other NATO heads of the states and governments during the NATO summit at the alliance’s headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/Reuters) Beijing appeared piqued by the transatlantic unity on display as a triumphant Joe Biden marshaled his European counterparts to defend world order at a dizzying series of summits in Cornwall and Brussels this week. Today, it sent 28 jets through Taiwan’s air-defense-identification zone, its largest-ever incursion. But surely Chinese Communist Party officials, and other American adversaries, were also relieved that the statements from these meetings were watered down by hesitant European governments. The G-7, NATO, and U.S.-EU summits yielded communiqués setting out ambitious goals aimed at shoring up and retooling these alliances for the 21st century’s greatest challenges, among which the president says is autocracy’s global competition with democracy. “I think we’ve made some progress in reestablishing American credibility among our closest friends,” Biden said at the G-7 summit. There, the leaders of the world’s largest economies committed to hundreds of billions of dollars in global infrastructure investment to counter the Belt and Road Initiative and called out Chinese human-rights abuses. National-Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explained how the G-7 delivered an apparently unified statement on China despite disagreements between members. “When you add it all up, actually, the whole became greater than the sum of its parts, because there is a broad view that China represents a significant challenge to the world’s democracies.”  The math can be described otherwise: These alliances can go only as fast as the lowest common denominator of agreement between these countries allows them to go. Which is why these gatherings yielded directionally promising statements but were nevertheless hindered by countries who are loath to confront the CCP. The G-7 explicitly rapped Beijing for its coercion of Taiwan and human-rights abuses, while making oblique mention of forced-labor practices in a separate section — because EU, German, and Italian officials were more circumspect. The portion on COVID origins calls for a transparent investigation, but it calls for one under the aegis of the compromised WHO investigation process. Brussels featured much of the same. The NATO communiqué took a commendably tough stand against cyberattacks and rebuked Moscow and Beijing, while Biden used the summit as an opportunity to meet with Eastern European allies directly in the Kremlin’s crosshairs. Nevertheless, European leaders took that summit as the occasion to air their hesitance to alienate Beijing.  “NATO is a North Atlantic organization, China has nothing to do with the North Atlantic,” said Emmanuel Macron. “We shouldn’t bias our relationship with China — it is much larger than just the military.” His German counterpart took a similar line; Angela Merkel weighed in against ignoring the threat posed by Beijing but also warned against overrating it. Viktor Orban, embattled at home over his government’s support of bringing a Chinese university to Budapest, cautioned against starting a Cold War: “I spent 26 years of my life in Cold War. Believe me, it’s bad.” Although the NATO communiqué mentions China ten times, it fails to label the country an adversary. Reading too closely into diplomatic minutia would be a mistake; the administration should be graded according to its ability to lead the alliance in concrete terms. And it deserves credit for marshaling a display of unity, including settling the long-running Boeing-Airbus dispute with the EU. Biden obviously didn’t go the Trump route of needlessly antagonizing America’s European allies (going beyond a well-deserved chiding for dereliction of their defense-spending commitments) and often leaving his support of NATO’s collective-defense principle an open question. Yet Biden seems to be taking the opposite of that approach: Offering rhetorical niceties without the ballast of tough-minded Trump-era policies that wrung some additional defense spending out of Europe, rallied European allies to keep Huawei out of their networks, and, significantly, spent more on our defense budget.  Regarding the last, it is perverse that at a time when Washington is nominally trying to rally the West against dual revisionist threats out of Beijing and Moscow — and is trying to spend $6 trillion on sundry domestic priorities — the president has proposed, in real terms, slight defense spending cuts. Meanwhile, as it rushed to embrace the outgoing German government, his administration left Ukraine and Poland in the dark about its decision to waive sanctions on entities involved in constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Statements are fine as far as they go, but the pushback against China and Russia will require sterner stuff. 

Repeal This Tax on Factory Jobs

A worker cuts a piece from a steel coil at the Novolipetsk Steel PAO steel mill in Farrell, Penn., March 9, 2018. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters) In May, steel prices hit record highs — not only that, they exceeded the previous record high by about 50 percent, pushing up already-rising prices on everything from buildings to automobiles. That high price is paid by every American business that builds or manufactures — and by every American consumer, too. It is time to get rid of the tariffs. Tariffs on steel and aluminum were a nitwit policy in the Trump administration, and they are a nitwit policy in the Biden administration — if anything, nitwittier, given the inflation news. A handful of politically connected American businesses gain substantially from the protectionist measures, but many, many more businesses suffer. There are many more U.S. businesses that use steel and aluminum — to manufacture everything from automobiles to airplanes to cans of beer — than there are businesses that sell steel. Many more workers and more wages are dependent on the steel-consuming businesses than the steel-producing ones. People who say they care about blue-collar factory jobs should be those calling loudest to repeal this tax on American manufacturing. But where this matter is concerned, the Biden administration lacks judgment or courage — or both. President Biden is in part a hostage to his own campaign mythology — the blue-collar guy from Scranton — and all the hokum that goes along with it. Steel jobs are a sensitive subject in Pennsylvania, where Biden lived for part of his childhood and which is central to his regular-guy narrative. Donald Trump liked to talk about China, but the tariffs also hit steel and aluminum coming from allies in the European Union, Canada, and elsewhere. The White House has promised to “review” the tariffs but is making no promises, and the United Steelworkers Union demands that they stay in place — and Biden is not much inclined to go his own way against the union bosses. Naturally, the steelmakers themselves want to remain protected from competition from all those ruthless, race-to-the-bottom companies exploiting the defenseless low-wage workers of . . . uh, Germany. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaec37 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaec37 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaec37 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaec37 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf0a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf0a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf0a8 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf0a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf24b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf24b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf24b { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf24b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf4d9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf4d9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf4d9 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf4d9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf640 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf640 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf640 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c8b1fcaf640 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Major manufacturing concerns such as machine-parts fabricators are in an impossible position: They can either absorb the higher prices themselves and thereby bleed profits and capital, or they can raise their prices and watch their customers go overseas to source their needs. Machine parts and industrial components are one of the biggest and most profitable export businesses in the country. But the artificially high price of steel eats into the other major U.S. exports, too, from aircraft to farm products to oil and gas. One of the great stupidities of these tariffs, the foundational stupidity of them, is Washington’s inability to consider the fact that tariffs on steel and aluminum augment the profits of steelmakers and aluminum producers by taking income away from other American businesses. Tariffs don’t make the challenge go away — they just shift the costs to other American employers and other American workers. The tariffs aren’t the only reason for high prices. Pent-up demand from the lockdowns, non-tariff trade disruptions, and other factors are in play. But when prices are at record highs and destructive inflation already is raising its head, it is bad policy to make the problem worse by making American manufacturers hostages to the short-term interests of a few politically influential companies and Democratic special-interest groups. These aren’t characters from a Bruce Springsteen song we’re talking about — these are companies in the S&P 500. And we wish them well, but we would prefer not to tax every American factory on their behalf.

Yellen’s International Tax Scheme Would Punish America

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference after attending the G7 finance ministers meeting at Winfield House in London, England, June 5, 2021. (Justin Tallis/Pool via Reuters) Janet Yellen celebrated a recent G7 tax agreement as a win for “the middle class and working people in the U.S.” In reality, the scheme to establish a minimum global corporate-tax rate would transfer revenues from the U.S. treasury to foreign governments while putting American businesses at a disadvantage in international markets. At the heart of the current drive for a global tax system is the fact that President Biden is pushing $4 trillion worth of spending plans at a time of record debt. Because suburbanites are now a core part of the Democratic coalition, there could be severe political ramifications to forcing the upper middle class to pay for too much of his agenda. The lowest-hanging fruit from a revenue and political standpoint is to hike corporate taxes. But Yellen recognizes that, under the current system, raising corporate-tax rates risks making the U.S. uncompetitive. Thus, she’s determined to create some sort of global corporate-tax system to reduce the incentive for multinational companies to seek out lower-tax jurisdictions. Unable to foster innovation domestically, Western European governments have spent the past two years devising “digital services taxes” (DSTs) on foreign technology firms. A report from the Trump administration’s U.S. Trade Representative found that such taxes discriminated against U.S. companies and contravened prevailing tax principles. By targeting only the largest multinational tech firms (i.e., American companies), France, the U.K., and others were attempting to protect domestic laggards from American competition. OECD discussions on international taxes, which set the stage for this weekend’s G7 summit, began under the Trump administration with the goal of replacing DSTs with a more efficient tax regime. The deal championed by Yellen, however, does just the opposite. The “equitable solution on the allocation of taxing rights” gives member nations the right to tax the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises irrespective of whether those corporations have physical presences in their countries. Unsurprisingly, American businesses will bear the vast brunt of the new tax. Proponents cast it as an adaptation to a digitized economy, but if that’s that case, why not apply the tax to all digital businesses, rather than only the largest? Because the finance ministers said so. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a52c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a52c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a52c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a52c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a8b4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a8b4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a8b4 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a8b4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a9b3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a9b3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a9b3 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6a9b3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6aaff .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6aaff .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6aaff { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6aaff .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6ac16 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6ac16 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6ac16 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c3452d6ac16 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Talks intended to do away with arbitrary tariffs have codified them. Then there are the distortions created by this scheme. Because the policy applies to profits over a 10 percent–margin threshold, businesses are incentivized to shift costs arbitrarily. If, say, Google makes $15 for every $100 of revenue generated in France, it pays the tax; if, on the other hand, it makes $9 for every $100, it doesn’t. Under this regime, the company might save money by putting up a costly datacenter in Paris, at the expense of its customers, shareholders, and the U.S. economy. And what to do about Amazon, whose ecommerce segment produces razor-thin profit margins but whose web-services segment is among the most profitable in the world? Don’t be surprised if tax authorities target individual business units within larger corporations. The reward for this transfer of tax dollars out of the U.S.? A global minimum corporate-tax rate of 15 percent. This provision is largely symbolic, because all but a handful of OECD countries already levy taxes above 15 percent. But the global minimum provides cover to the White House as it pushes a proposal to increase U.S. corporate taxes from 21 to 28 percent. With the thorny issue of enforcement tabled, the global minimum is unlikely to move the needle on the effective tax rates of corporations, even in low-tax jurisdictions, but Biden is betting that it will make his tax plan more palatable to moderates in Congress. Fortunately, the passage of international treaties requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and Senate Republicans are loath to enter an international agreement so clearly designed to fuel a federal spending binge. Hamilton said of treaty-making that it “would be utterly unsafe and improper to intrust that power to an elective magistrate of four years’ duration.” That still holds true, as the Senate would do well to remember.

The Disappointing Senate China Bill

U.S. and Chinese flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) What began as an ambitious, multipronged legislative overhaul to jump-start America’s ability to compete with the Chinese regime is ending as a largely toothless messaging bill. The Senate just passed a 1,400-page $200 billion disappointment. The legislation was supposed to demonstrate Congress’s intent to confront Chinese Communist Party malfeasance and to modernize U.S. development of critical technologies, but the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act will do little of what it set out to accomplish. Yesterday’s vote was preceded by months of negotiations and a lengthy discussion that invited lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to submit amendments. Four separate bills merged last month to create the final USICA package, the cornerstones of which were called the Endless Frontier Act and the Strategic Competition Act. Initially, the former granted $100 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research on critical technologies, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, while the latter included a number of measures to equip the executive branch with more tools for drawn-out geopolitical competition with Beijing. It was encouraging sign that members of both parties could coalesce around the goal of confronting the Chinese party-state, and funding basic research is, in theory, a worthy role for the federal government. But the devil is always in the details, especially in such a sprawling, cobbled-together bill. Conservatives complained that Endless Frontier disbursed too much money to the NSF, which has little experience with the technologies in question and even less of an ability to prevent the Party’s theft of intellectual property developed with the help of NSF grants. As a result of the concern, the funding was pared down a significant amount — to $81 billion. Still, the security problem persisted: With Beijing engaged in an aggressive military-civil fusion program designed to leverage intellectual-property theft for its military buildup, funding a significant R&D push without adequate safeguards is foolish and risky. Meanwhile, the Strategic Competition Act portion of the since-consolidated bill includes some concrete measures to combat Uyghur forced labor and apply a national-security investment-review process to foreign gifts destined for universities. It did not, however, do much else of consequence besides include language for numerous sense-of-Congress statements. In fact, well over 100 sections of the consolidated bill are symbolic or merely create new reporting requirements. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea038885c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea038885c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea038885c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea038885c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388b47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388b47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388b47 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388b47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388bea .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388bea .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388bea { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388bea .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388cda .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388cda .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388cda { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388cda .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388da0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388da0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388da0 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c1ea0388da0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } A flurry of amendments sought to strengthen the bill last month, with varying degrees of success. The addition of the CHIPS Act, a $52 billion package to spur U.S. semiconductor production, shows that Congress is mindful of the risk of losing access to semiconductors produced overseas during a crisis. (Taiwan, obviously in China’s crosshairs, is a huge source of advanced semi-conductors.) But when the rubber hits the road, pork-barrel politics may overwhelm strategic considerations. Senator Ben Sasse was also able to gain inclusion of a change that doubled funding to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the conservative alternative to the NSF for a more serious tech-competition hub — but even that amendment couldn’t solve the security problems with the NSF funding. In fact, an amendment proposed by Senators Jim Risch and Marco Rubio that would have created a stringent security-screening process for sensitive technological research got shot down. The bill isn’t going to get any tougher in the House, which is preparing to vote on its companion measure. One alternative vision for the USICA comes from the House’s Republican Study Committee, which called for provisions that, among other things, would have sharpened sanctions authorities aimed at Chinese military companies and tech firms in the U.S., increased foreign-influence disclosures for think tanks and nonprofits, and prohibited all funding of U.S. universities by the CCP. Their Democratic colleagues aren’t taking that advice, though. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, where the USICA companion legislation originated, last month passed the “Eagle Act,” a watered-down version of the Senate package. Meanwhile, progressive and isolationists, led by Representative Ilhan Omar and the Quincy Institute, a pro-“restraint” think tank, decried the bill’s supposed contribution to a “Cold War mentality.” At least three of the 65 groups that signed a Quincy Institute–sponsored letter against the Strategic Competition Act echo Beijing’s line on the Uyghur genocide. The reflexive progressive opposition to the legislation is based on the cynical and indefensible claim that a tough U.S. stance toward China, as the letter puts it, “inevitably feeds racism, violence, xenophobia, and white nationalism.” The USICA, thankfully, reflects a turn away from the Beltway perspective that once sought to court Chinese engagement no matter what and opposed any serious effort to assert America’s rightful national-security interests. Otherwise, it is a fizzle.

How Texas Could Improve Its Election Bill

Texas State Capitol in Austin. (SusanRisdon/Getty Images) Arguments over lawmakers revising state election laws have sunk into familiar ruts, which have played out again in Texas. Republicans try to shore up the real and perceived security of American elections. Many of their proposals are reasonable and modest; some include pandering to stolen-election conspiracists, and some include sharp-elbowed mischief, but most of the worst ideas shake out during the legislative process. That has happened in Texas with proposals to open polls at 1 p.m. on Sundays; Republicans now say they will move the time back to 11 a.m. to avoid interfering with black churches and their “Souls to the Polls” drives. Then, Democrats respond with lies, torrents of hyperbole, efforts to shut down the state, and radical proposals of their own in Congress to strip elected state governments of power over election law. The Texas law, which was blocked at the end of May but will be reconsidered in a special session of the legislature this summer, featured an additional irony: Democrats, who have complained long and loud about the impropriety of the minority in the U.S. Senate using the filibuster to block legislation, used a walkout of their own legislative minority to block the legislation. Much of the controversy in Texas, as elsewhere, revolves around partial rollbacks of “emergency” voting procedures rushed through during the pandemic, some of them by executive fiat. Democrats take a Brezhnev Doctrine approach: Any expansion of any kind (hours, locations, methods of balloting) must be permanent or any rollback will be deemed “voter suppression” — no matter how recently the expansion was created, no matter what it costs, no matter its impact on the security of the ballot or the speed and certainty of vote counts. This, too, is an opportunistic stance rather than a principled one, as elected Democrats themselves have signed on to adjustments that limited voting expansions in recent years. Stacey Abrams even wrote in her book about sponsoring legislation that reduced the number of days of early voting in Georgia. The Texas overhaul is sprawling; the conference version agreed to by the Texas house and senate runs over 200 pages. It drives at more statewide uniformity after a year in which local officials pushed the envelope of their authority. Its main features include closely regulating the rights of poll-watchers and the conditions under which they can be excluded from polls; cracking down on paid “ballot harvesting”; and restrictions on local officials’ sending out mail-in ballot applications to people who do not request them. All that said, good election laws should follow some basic principles that Republicans in Texas and elsewhere have not always respected, and we encourage the Texas legislature to consider these before passing the final bill. First, election laws should aim to increase speed, transparency, and objectivity in vote-counting. The Texas legislation creates more opportunities to challenge whether signatures on ballots and registrations match. While signature verification is a safeguard, it is also one that is prone to subjectivity and delay. We think that Georgia has the better plan in using objective indicia (for mail-in ballots, writing the voter’s driver’s license number or another identifier) to avoid relying on signature comparisons. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a620e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a620e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a620e { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a620e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a6506 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a6506 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a6506 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a6506 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a678d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a678d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a678d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a678d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a68cf .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a68cf .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a68cf { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a68cf .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a78cc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a78cc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a78cc { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60c09898a78cc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Second, election laws should aim to provide clear, decisive results on Election Night in as many races as possible, and to discourage losing candidates from routine scorched-earth post-election challenges. It was the great boast of Texas and Florida in 2020 that they resolved nearly all of their important races by midnight on Election Night, while states such as California and New York were counting votes for weeks. Democrats have pushed constantly for measures to prevent the voter rolls from being finalized by Election Day, and to keep ballots coming in past Election Day; these are recipes for protracting post-election uncertainty. States should not lower the bar for challenging outcomes, and they should not empower elected officials such as state legislatures to overturn election results. The Texas bill unwisely waters down the standard for a court to overturn an election, which previously required proof that illegal votes actually changed the outcome. It instead provides, “If the number of votes illegally cast in the election is equal to or greater than the number of votes necessary to change the outcome of an election, the court may declare the election void without attempting to determine how individual voters voted.” That will spawn more mischief than it will solve. Third, legislatures should refrain from overcriminalization. While the integrity of the ballot is a serious issue that in some cases must be dealt with by the criminal process, many of the new election laws are too expansive in creating batteries of new felonies that could be misdemeanors, and misdemeanors that could be civil offenses. The debate over these sorts of provisions is part of the normal give-and-take of legislation, not a nefarious attack on democracy itself. The Texas process wasn’t helped by its undue rush at the end. Now the legislature has the chance to get it right.

In Defense of Manchin and Sinema

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (L) and Sen. Joe Machin (R) (Caitlin O’Hara, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) ‘I don’t know what you all don’t understand about this,” Senator Joe Manchin said on Tuesday, having been urged once again by a journalist to oppose the legislative filibuster. “You ask the same question every day.” “Ask” is one way of putting it, certainly. Another might be “cajole.” Since it became clear that the filibuster represented an obstacle to President Biden’s increasingly expansive agenda, almost every political journalist in America has been panting for an end to the institution and refusing to take “no” for an answer from the two most vocal holdouts, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. At times, the approach has been simply to badger the pair. “Will you? Will you? Will you? Will you?” Thus far, neither Manchin nor Sinema has budged. Better still, they have calmly laid out their reasoning in ways that should have embarrassed both the Democratic Party and its sycophants in the press. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post in April, Manchin affirmed that “there is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster” and contended (somewhat unrealistically) that keeping it would ensure “a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.” Speaking from Texas earlier this week, Sinema echoed Manchin’s justification. “Rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies,” Sinema said, “the idea of the filibuster was created by those who came before to create comity and to encourage bipartisanship and work together.” Once upon a time, figures such as John McCain were praised as “mavericks” for bucking their party’s whims and expressing sentiments such as these. As Senator Sinema has observed, one benefit of the legislative filibuster is that it prevents an unstable “ricochet” effect in our most controversial public policy. But, in a continental nation such as ours, it also ensures that the federal government is able to act in the first instance only with significant buy-in and, in consequence, guarantees that the vast majority of the questions facing the people will be resolved by the states. By design, the Founders created a national government charged with doing only a handful of things. Over time, that government has grown beyond recognition — to the point at which every election has become a pitched battle and every cultural issue a national fight to the death. Those who lament this state of affairs would do well to consider how much worse things might get absent the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. Just three years ago, with the Republicans in charge of all of Washington, D.C., 31 of the 48 Democrats in the Senate signed a bipartisan letter affirming their commitment to the filibuster as a crucial element within America’s political setup. All that has changed since then is which party is in the minority. When, perhaps less than two years from now, the Washington landscape changes once more, the Democrats may end up looking back on Senators Sinema and Manchin not as obstructionist narcissists but as principled lawmakers who had the foresight to preserve this tool against the day when Republicans are in control of Washington again.

Save Hyde, Save Lives

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) President Biden has released a budget that proposes killing the Hyde amendment, America’s most important pro-life public policy. For more than four decades, the Hyde amendment, an annual budget rider, has prohibited federal Medicaid funding of abortion except in rare circumstances. For most of that time, Joe Biden supported the Hyde amendment. “The government should not tell those with strong convictions against abortion, such as you and I, that we must pay for them,” Biden wrote to a constituent in 1994. Biden finally decided to support Medicaid funding of abortion in June 2019 because of pressure from Democratic rivals and progressive activists during the presidential primary. Protecting the conscience rights of pro-life Americans is a good reason to support the Hyde amendment, but the main reason why it has been America’s most important pro-life public policy is that it has saved more human lives from being destroyed by abortion than any other policy. When the government subsidizes abortion, the result is more abortions, as simple logic and multiple studies tell us. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, “the best research indicates that the Hyde Amendment has saved over two million unborn children” since the policy was first enacted in 1976. According to one study by the Guttmacher Institute, when states use their own tax dollars to fund abortions for Medicaid recipients, the abortion rate among women on Medicaid was nearly four times the abortion rate among women who are not on Medicaid. In states that do not fund abortion, the abortion rate among women on Medicaid was 1.6 times the rate among women not on Medicaid. Put plainly, federal funding of abortion is an evil policy. It’s an evil policy because it would cause the destruction of tens of thousands of innocent human lives each year. It’s an evil policy because it treats abortion as a public good and compels millions of pro-life Americans to fund abortions. And it’s an evil policy because it is also a eugenic policy. The late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once acknowledged a top rationale for supporting Medicaid funding of abortion in the 1970s was that the policy would limit the “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” “Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of,” Ginsburg said in a 2009 interview. “So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding of abortion.” #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c853a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c853a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c853a { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c853a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c87fc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c87fc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c87fc { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c87fc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8930 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8930 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8930 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8930 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8a0d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8a0d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8a0d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8a0d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8ae4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8ae4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8ae4 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b767f7c8ae4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Medicaid is a program jointly administered by the federal government and the states, and taxpayer funding of abortion is so unpopular that only 16 states allow their own tax dollars to fund elective abortions (six of the abortion-funding states have voluntarily done so through the legislative process, while the remaining ten fund elective abortions due to court orders). Polls have consistently shown that strong majorities of American voters support the Hyde amendment. Congressional Democrats likely don’t have the votes to kill the Hyde amendment outright in 2021. Appropriations bills that typically fund Medicaid need 60 votes to pass the Senate, and it remains unlikely Democrats will abolish the filibuster this year. If necessary, pro-life senators must filibuster any bill that kills the Hyde amendment. The budget reconciliation process, however, allows the Senate to pass some bills with a simple majority, and reconciliation is therefore the most likely way Democrats could pass a law greatly expanding taxpayer funding of abortion. The $1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill that Congress passed earlier this year under reconciliation included various slush funds that could be used to fund abortions, but it remains to be seen how much of the “COVID relief” money is actually spent on abortion. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, a self-described pro-life Democrat, set a deeply troubling precedent when he voted for final passage of the “COVID relief” bill that lacked the Hyde amendment. As bad as that bill was, a bill creating a government-run “public option” for health insurance that funds abortion on demand or a bill allowing direct federal Medicaid funding of abortion would be even worse. If Manchin is truly pro-life — and wants to represent the pro-life values of his constituents — he needs to use his considerable power to stop any bill that provides federal funding of elective abortions. That so many questions about whether the Democrats will enact their most radical proposals turn on how one senator from West Virginia will vote is a reminder that the stakes are high in the 2022 elections. If Democrats keep the House and make small gains in the Senate, they could have the votes to enact a policy of unlimited taxpayer funding of abortion. To ensure that the Hyde amendment continues to save lives, voters ought to place a check on the Biden presidency in 2022 and elect a Republican Congress.

Ethics in Miniature

(Pixabay) During earlier rounds of the debate over research on human embryos — back in the days of the George W. Bush administration, when the issue was a major political controversy — the advocates of allowing and federally funding that research explained that carefully drawn ethical limits would be observed. Research would not be permitted after the embryos had developed to the 14-day mark. The opponents, mostly pro-lifers, said that these advocates were at best fooling themselves. There was no principled difference between killing a human embryo at 14 days and killing one at 15 days, and the attempted distinction would collapse the moment any pressure were put on it. That moment is now upon us. Researchers are now capable of going past 14 days, they believe that it would offer some benefits to do so, and so they want to get rid of the line before they actually run up against it. A campaign to relax the rules has been under way for a few years now, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research — one of those rarefied lobbying groups that has the good fortune not to get described as such — has just endorsed it. To the ISSCR’s limited credit, it is not going through the charade of proposing a new fake time limit to replace 14 days. It just wants to scrap the limit altogether while suggesting a case-by-case review of research. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76a52 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76a52 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76a52 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76a52 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76ec4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76ec4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76ec4 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c76ec4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77024 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77024 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77024 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77024 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c771d0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c771d0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c771d0 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c771d0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77321 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77321 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77321 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60b6405c77321 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } It would also give a green light to research on embryos that are partly human and partly nonhuman animals. The rationale is that these chimeras would be sufficiently human to shed light on human biology and to offer potential therapeutic applications for humans — perhaps even providing organs for transplantation — without being so human that the experiments would have to be tightly constrained. For people of a morally sound sensibility, to describe this idea should be enough to cause its instant rejection. The Senate has, however, voted down an amendment to bar federal funding for research on such chimeras, with all the Democrats voting against and all the Republicans in favor. Media coverage of the issue has been light, and has sometimes treated the issue as a bizarre invention of social conservatives. A more extended debate is worth pushing for, as is legislation that entirely bans the creation of chimeras with partly human brains or reproductive systems rather than merely denying taxpayer funds to research on them. The National Institutes of Health, meanwhile, should reject the ISSCR’s invitation for it to shred existing ethical limitations. Their defect is not that they are too tight. Ideally we would follow the policies of such countries as Germany and Turkey, more advanced than we are in this respect, which ban the destruction of human embryos for research purposes altogether. The organization’s proposal to relax the rules the moment they could start to have any effect is a good reason to think that industry self-regulation is radically insufficient when it comes to matters of basic human rights.

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Ten GOP Senators Announce Support for Infrastructure Compromise

(rarrarorro/Getty Images) A bipartisan group of 20 senators, including ten Republicans, announced their support for a compromise framework on infrastructure on Wednesday. Details of the framework were not immediately available, although the cost of the potential bill would be $1.2 trillion over eight years, according to CNN. The backing of ten GOP senators could give the potential bill a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, if all 50 Democrats vote in favor. “We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs without raising taxes,” the group said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America’s critical infrastructure challenges.” Twenty senators from both parties announce support for $1.2T, eight-year bipartisan infrastructure outline pic.twitter.com/0aTxnBGwzM — Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 16, 2021 #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } President Biden initially proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes funding for bridges, roads, and railways, and a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles, among other provisions. Republicans have attempted to lower the price tag on the bill and have insisted that legislation not include tax increases. Additionally, the GOP senators have strived to keep former President Trump’s 2017 tax reform measures in place. Democrats have explored options for passing an infrastructure bill via budget reconciliation rules, which allow certain pieces of legislation to pass the Senate via a simple majority vote instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. However, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) cautioned against using budget reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill in comments to NBC earlier this month. “Are you ready to go it alone with just Democrats?” reporter Garrett Haake asked Manchin. “No. I don’t think we should. I really don’t,” Manchin responded. “Right now, basically, we need to be bipartisan.” Send a tip to the news team at NR.
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