VP Harris breaks tie, the ‘weird worship of one dude,’ Rep. Greene off all committees and an apology

VP Harris casts her first tie-breaking votes – After 14 hours of debate, going most of the night, the U.S. Senate voted on a budget resolution that is a key step to fast-tracking Biden’s “rescue plan,” splitting 50-50 along party lines. VP Harris cast the deciding vote. The $1.9 trillion proposal now returns to the House where lawmakers will vote on whether or not to approve the changes made in the Senate. Many proposed Republican amendments were rejected, but Dems did agree to limit payouts to high earners and did not move forward with a minimum wage increase.

There was enough bipartisan support on several amendments that Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) thinks there’s hope for bipartisan support on the broader aid package. “I’m hopeful that the administration and Democrats up here on the Hill will realize we need to sit down and work something out that’s bipartisan,” said Portman, who recently announced that he will not seek re-election, citing Senate gridlock as a concern. “There will be some stumbles, but I believe there will be opportunities to do that.” After the early morning vote, which happened around 5:30 am, several Senators stopped to visit with Harris, including Mike Lee. (The Hill, New York Times, Politico)


Ben Sasse and the “weird worship of one dude” – Senator Ben Sasse had a message for the members of the Nebraska GOP’s state central committee: It’s not me, it’s you. “Let’s be clear: The anger in this state party has never been about me violating principle or abandoning conservative policy — I’m one of the most conservative voters in the Senate — the anger’s always been simply about me not bending the knee to one guy.” Sasse pulled no punches. January 6th will leave a scar, he said and as he has consistently done, he drew a straight line between Trump’s action and the insurrection. “He lied about the election results for 60 days, despite losing 60 straight court challenges — many handed down by wonderful Trump-appointed judges. He lied by saying that the vice president could violate his constitutional oath and just declare a new winner. He then riled a mob that attacked the Capitol — many chanting ‘Hang Pence.’ If that president were a Democrat, we both know how you’d respond,” Sasse said. “But, because he had Republican behind his name, you’re defending him.” Worth watching the entire 5-minute message. (Politico, CNN, Washington Post)


Marjorie Taylor Greene stripped of committee assignments – The House voted 230-199 to remove Rep. Greene from the budget and education committees. 11 Republicans siding with Democrats. Democrats said the move was a necessary response to counter the violent rhetoric and misinformation that helped foment the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, since GOP leaders declined to sanction her. “Yesterday, the Republican Conference chose to do nothing. So, today the House must do something,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said on the House floor Thursday.

Republicans respond by promising retaliation once they are back in the majority. “You’ll regret this,” Kevin McCarthy said to Speaker Pelosi. “If people are held to what they have said prior to even being in this House, if the majority gets to decide who sits on … committees, I hope you keep that standard, because we have a long list.”

Getting back in the majority may not happen anytime soon. A new poll shows 64% of Republican voters surveyed said they would follow Trump into a new political party, thus splitting the party and reducing its ability to win elections. (Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Reuters)

Rep. apologizes for not “getting” white privilege – In an emotional message on the House floor, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn) apologized to his colleagues of color for not “getting” white privilege – until he recognized that he could “blend in” when confronted by rioters and his colleagues could not. “I’m here tonight to say to my brothers and sisters in Congress, and all around our country. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. For I had never understood, really understood, what privilege really means. It took a violent mob of insurrectionists and a lightning bolt moment in this very room. But now I know. Believe me, I really know,” said Phillips.