This just broke on The Rachel Maddow Show just before her handoff to Lawrence O’Donnell. The Senate was supposed to have the week off next week. Hell, why not? They just had three weeks off two weeks ago, why not burn another one on MLK Day.
But he took to the floor of the Senate to announce that the Senate will delay its previously scheduled recess, and instead reconvene on the floor Tuesday morning to consider coting rights. Manchin and Sinema have pushed the envelope as far as it can go. It’s about to see if they’ll actually tear it.
Schumer is already a bird of ruffled plumage. Hell, he wanted to get all of this procedural bullshit out of the way today and tomorrow, and hold the final, telling vote n MLK Day, to put more pressure on Manchin and Sinema. But then Democratic Senator Brian Schatz tested positive for Covid, and Schumer didn’t have a 50 vote majority anymore. But apparently Schatz thinks he’ll be cleared for duty by Tuesday.
Schumer and Biden both have good reason to be regally pissed. Biden made it clear almost 48 hours ago that he was going to the Capitol to address the weekly Senate caucus lunch on the issue of voting rights. And before he was even wheels up from the White House, Sinema took to the Senate floor to shed b-movie starlet tears that she would not support any changes to the 60 vote threshold. That breach of protocol alone is blinding proof that she is unqualified to be a sitting US Senator.
I an so glad to see that Schumer is finally forcing this issue, simply because he is out of both time and options. He has literally spent months negotiating with these two knuckleheads. But you know what? I can stand on the second floor landing of my apartment building with a Glock, and threaten to shoot anybody who dares to trespass on my landing! And that will garner a helluva lot of attention. But it isn’t until a tenant or a cop starts climbing the stairs that we all find out if I’m really that crazy and stupid, or just full of shit.
And that’s where Schumer is putting Manchin and Sinema. And the closer this showdown looms, the more I am reminded of the scene in the remarkable Spielberg film, Lincoln. They are holding the floor vote on the Emancipation Proclamation, and they call the name of the swing vote, a young guy who has been ruthlessly lobbied by both sides. He is frozen on his feet. They have to say his name 3 tomes, and on the 3rd time, he finally bellows out, Yes! Yes! Dammit, yes! Are you satisfied now? after which he collapses back into his chair. The weight of history and the constitution have a funny way of weighing on you.
But whatever way this goes, it’s not over. If they see the light, then Biden signs the voting rights legislation, and the activists are motivated through the roof. But if either one or both of them vote no, we have time. Schumer can call the rules change back to the floor for another vote at any time. The vote will show the world who the two traitors are. Manchin and Sinema have both been stupid and insecure enough to make public their displeasure at being accosted by activists for their views on the filibuster. Let’s see how they like having activists camped outside of their homes and McYachts 24/7 for a couple of weeks, and then try this again.
I hope like hell that Brian Schatz is ready for battle by Tuesday. Because this reckoning has been long past coming. Once Schumer holds that vote, if it doesn’t pass, it becomes the overriding item on the agenda. And we can keep the pressure on. They’ll crack eventually.