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Bipartisanship: Only if it makes sense

TIM MANNELLO

Williamsport

Republican legislative versions of a COVID-19 relief package conjure up the image of a man throwing a 30-foot line to a someone drowning 100 feet out in turbulent water. Democrats have insisted on a 100-foot line as the only way to save our sinking nation.

Throwing a compromised 60-foot line might have seemed bipartisan (it is not, since 60% of Republican voters favor Biden’s relief bill), but it was guaranteed to fall far short of its target. What we need here is an effective, bold and successful remedy, not a set-up involving plainly inadequate gestures. In 2008, Republicans forced Obama to go “stimulus light” and have never sstopped condemning him for “the slowest post recession in history.”

They completely rejected Obama’s health reform package even though it was essentially the Romney Massachusetts’ bill like legislation promoted by Republicans in the early 1990s as an alternative to Hillary’s healthcare reform bill. In the name of bipartisanship, they slow walked Obama for over a year, got 140 amendments added to his original legislation and then ceremoniously stiffed him by unanimously voting against this landmark legislation..

For over a decade afterward, they tried every which way to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

They have promised coverage for pre-existing conditions without a replacement while they sought to defeat the only law that protects that coverage in court.

To this day, despite their promises to reveal a plan “in two weeks” over and over again, Republicans have no single party plan for healthcare reform that includes the protections of Obamacare, like coverage for pre-existing conditions.

In the 2020 election, Republicans did not even run on a platform, any platform. They presented themselves as a policy blank sheet. They ran on a man, not a plan. And now it looks as though they they will want to run again in 2024 on an their also-ran.

On the covid relief bill, Democrats were not suckered again. The only sure thing about meeting Republicans half way on a COVID-19 relief bill was a guarantee that Republicans would blame Joe Biden and the Democrats for the inevitable inadequacy of the low-ball, half measures they are herald as good-faith bipartisanship.

This time around, Democrats had to finally sideline Lucy as their field goal place holder since they were determined to have a chance of kicking the pigskin between the uprights.

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