If Dems were going to tank the BIF vote, they would have done it here too. Putting it on the floor in late September, as the highway program is poised to lapse, makes it tougher to oppose if anything. This was the best outcome they were ever going to get.
Mods are a victim of their own success in a sense--they won, as far as this showdown goes, but the thing they're asking for was never possible, at least not at this juncture. Pelosi isn't their chief problem!
Insofar as the objective here was to rescue the hostage, securing a commitment to move BIF before reconciliation could conceivably be done is about as good as it gets. Still have to marshal the votes, but if the votes were there we wouldn't be in this position to begin with!
Once you lock in a deadline, two variables remain. First, will Pelosi (and WH) actually whip this thing and make a good faith effort to pass it, or do they sandbag? I think that's what they're trying to hammer out now. Not something you can put in a rule, that's a handshake deal.
Second, what are the considerations for Rs in Sept versus late Aug? Some suggest R support would evaporate as rec process kicks off--and it's scant to begin with. But the alternative to BIF for Rs is putting up the votes for a short term hwy extension that's a big favor to progs.
The other thing to remember here is the the mod demand didn't *start out* as a pledge to oppose the budget until BIF passed. Escalation only came after multiple letters and statements asking for prompt/non-contingent consideration were ignored, while prog threats were heeded.

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More from @LPDonovan

15 Sep
The debt limit mechanism has long since lost any utility, but until it's gone I think it's worth taking McConnell at his word (and that of the 46 Rs who signed a letter to the same effect.) Appeals to consistency/decency/precedent are useless so long as Ds can do it themselves.
Part of the challenge of parsing this standoff is the various rhetorical and procedural layers. MM is right that Ds can raise the debt limit unilaterally, but they don't want to raise it, they want to suspend it. And Dem bet/hope is that R pledge not to vote for it=/= filibuster.
One thing we can absolutely rule out I think is Rs allowing a suspension to proceed. Even if they were to allow Dems to raise on their own, they'd have to put a number on it that accounts for all their spending (and spending ambitions.) And/but if they do that they don't need Rs!
Read 7 tweets
13 Sep
Ways and Means had been calling this $2.9T that added up to $3.5T with dynamic scoring "estimate." JCT says it's $2.07T. (Most of this is no revenue effect for drug pricing, which W&M counts for $700B.) jct.gov/CMSPages/GetFi…
Tax committees' nominal charge was to come up with $1B in net deficit reduction, so finding more than $2T in offsets and proposing well short of that in goodies checks the box. Essentially raising more and spending less than they technically had to/could have.
When we think about how this might be triaged, beyond phase outs and timing gimmicks, both the tax side and the spending side are informing the topline, but spending is far less fungible. Basically 13 silos, one of which accounts for half of the gross and all of the offsets.
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep
What's interesting about the slow motion reveal of these various committee products and titles is that, like the budget resolution, it seems primarily designed to keep the $3.5T dream alive and delay any tough choices. Some logic to that, but all the more reason to settle in.
Markup process can't tell you much if they're just marking to the instructions, which thus far seems to be the case. And unless Ways and Means gives up the game this week with a skinny offset menu, all we're doing is getting closer to these self-imposed deadlines.
(And I do not expect a skinny offset package--I expect the kitchen sink.)
Read 4 tweets
12 Sep
This from the transcript gets at something I've been talking about/debating with some. Manchin doesn't want to come up with a desired spend and work backwards to pay for it--he wants to find the pay fors and see what that gives you to spend. Image
The trick of course is pinning down what offsets/reforms are permissible while remaining competitive, according to Manchin. But the $1.5T he has been tossing out certainly lines up with where the low hanging fruit dries up.
Should have read further because he flat out says as much: "I have looked at the numbers. If we have a competitive tax code... that's in the 1-1.5 range, ok?" Image
Read 5 tweets
25 Aug
They've been edging toward September passage since they set the due date for recommendations/announced that they were coming back early.
Read 4 tweets
25 Aug
Is this a correct read? The rule seems more explicit than this. It calls for consideration of the motion to concur in the Senate amendment with one hour of debate evenly divided--expiration of that hour presumably triggers a vote?
Leaving aside how it would look if she tried to renege on the deal after the statement she made, certainly seems like the vote occurs if she can't muster the majority for a new rule.
There seems to be a ton of energy spent on logical gymnastics for Pelosi and her team to insist they didn't actually concede anything.
Read 4 tweets

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