COMPASS: Congress cashes in big while the border burns

October 25th, 2021

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill.

It’s deadline week for Democrats, who are trying to get a deal sealed on their reconciliation bill and infrastructure legislation before Friday. After starting at $3.5 trillion, the reconciliation legislation is wavering between $2 trillion and $1.5 trillion, depending on what can be agreed upon. Provisions likely to be sliced and diced appear to be paid leave, expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing, raising taxes on corporations and the nation’s highest income earners, and the guts of the clean electricity program. Free community college is also out.

What remains on the table are lowering prescription drug costs, a subsidy for universal daycare and Pre-K, a slimmed down child tax credit, in-home care, housing aid, subsidies to shore up Obamacare, forcing a Medicaid expansion onto red states, and a wealth tax. And, as Chris Jacobs reported this morning, Democrats may raid Medicare Advantage to pay for some of these programs.

A final outline of what’s in, what’s out, and how it’s paid for is expected to be released at some point today.

Meanwhile, the southern border is on fire. New data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show that Biden’s border crisis just made history, with more than 1.73 million arrests made in fiscal year 2021, the highest ever recorded. The Biden administration appears not to notice.

Vice President Kamala Harris, tasked with “solving” the border crisis, hasn’t appeared to mention it, and when asked the last time Biden has been to the border, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said he once went on a “drive through” of the border on the 2008 campaign trail. Apparently this is what it looks like when the adults are back in charge.

And if you missed it, the National School Board Association walked back their letter demanding that the FBI look into using the PATRIOT Act to investigate parents speaking out at school board meetings as possible domestic terrorists. As it became clear last week at a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, that letter formed the basis of the DOJ’s memo instructing the FBI to do just that.

The NSBA has now hung Garland out to dry, which should make his Wednesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that much more awkward for him. At least one member of the committee, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), has already called for Garland’s resignation.

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