So the Democrats have pushed open the door. The Senate passed—at 5:34 Friday morning, 51-50, strict party line—a budget resolution that clears the way to passage, probably next month, of Joe Biden’s COVID relief bill. It may not be exactly $1.9 trillion, but it looks like it’ll be something close to that.
First of all, please note: Working in harmony here were President Biden; Bernie Sanders, who as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee was in charge of seeing this thing through; Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, who voted to move the resolution along; Vice President Kamala Harris, who cast the tie-breaking vote, and every other Senate Democrat, along with key figures from Biden’s economic team like Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey. There were conflicts around the edges, about the minimum wage, but there may be room yet to work out a compromise. The point is, everyone was in the engine room shoveling coal together (I wonder why I chose a coal metaphor…).
But there’s a bigger historical point here. If the Democrats pass a one-point-whatever-trillion dollar stimulus package, the Republicans will freak. They’ll scream about the waste. They’ll scream about the deficit. They’ll scream about everything except what they’re really, truly afraid of: that it will work.