WASHINGTON – Each of the Democrats and Republicans wants to signal the election year that they are going to help families struggling with rising costs and a 2-year coronavirus pandemic.
Not surprisingly, the parties disagree on how to do this. And in comments and votes in the Senate last week, each side specified the topics it will use to elicit support in the fall vote for control of Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Spoke of inflation, beating President Joe Biden and Democrats for policies such as restricting drilling in federal lands, which he said are stifling domestic energy production and increasing gasoline prices. But he also raised issues of cultural warfare that have erupted in the country’s schools, including mask mandates and instructions on social justice that conservatives find unpleasant.
Republicans “stand up for science, common sense, and the interests of children,” McConnell said. “The Parents Party has your back,” he added, a remark that sparked angry mothers and fathers at school board meetings that the Republican Party hopes to use.
“Two years of unnecessary school closures and unscientific forced disguise of children is two years too much,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Democrats would focus on “solutions that would cut costs and leave more money in people’s pockets.” He said complaining about the problem, not improving inflation, Republicans. proposing solutions makes ”.
Sumer said Democrats are considering a law to reduce the cost of child care, food, prescription drugs and semiconductors, a vital computer part that is now facing shortages in supply chains. “We are still going to move forward,” even if the Republican opposition condemns the proposal, Sumer said, believing that unsuccessful votes in the Senate will have political value for Democrats.
The economy and pandemic may look different by the time of the vote in November. The threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences may change the situation.
But so far the Sumerian party is clearly in defense.
They controlled the White House and Congress as inflation rose to 7.5 percent annually, the highest level in four decades. Regular gasoline, a benchmark that people can easily see and feel, cost an average of $ 3.53 a gallon across the country last week compared to $ 2.58 a year ago, the AAA reports.
Even democracies in democracy-led states such as New York and California are softening mask mandates. as people are increasingly willing to take on those and other restrictions that have changed lives with COVID-19.
In addition, the control of Democrats in the Senate 50 to 50, thanks to the final vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, is in jeopardy. Each party has at least four seats in the game in November, but Biden’s negative ratings make it even harder for Democrats, who face a long history of losing in the midterm elections by the party that holds the White House.
Sumer acknowledged that Democrats “are not going to agree on everything they want.” In particular, he said Democrats had not yet united on a proposal to suspend the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon until this year.
The authors said the bill would bring “much-needed economic assistance to families.” Based on government estimates of typical driving and gas consumption in a car, the average driver would save about $ 100 for the entire year.
McConnell ridiculed this as a “bold, creative plan” that would do little for voters while cutting federal money on road projects. He made it clear that he would be against it, guaranteeing that it would not go anywhere.
Among the sponsors of the proposal are four endangered Democrat candidates facing re-election: Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Rafael Warnock of Georgia and Catherine Cortés Masta of Nevada.
“It’s a desperate cry for help,” said Sen. Republican Sen. John Thun of South Dakota on the Democrats’ gas tax plan. He said it shows that they are “aware that they are on the wrong side of the energy problem, the wrong side of the inflation problem.”
Sumer said Democrats would push for a bill that sets a price limit of $ 35 a month on insulin, a diabetes drug that could cost hundreds of dollars higher. It is offered by Warnock.
The insulin supply was part of the party’s stalled spending package on the environment and social security. This measure did not receive much public attention, which embarrassed its potential benefits to their lives. Recently, Democrats have become less likely to talk about it publicly, although the bargaining continues behind closed doors.
Sumer also scheduled a vote in late February on legislation that explicitly enshrines the right to abortion. Confrontation between Republicans and possibly some Democrats means it will definitely suffer. But the vote could help mobilize voters for abortion rights a year later, when the Supreme Court may overturn Rowe v. Wade’s 1973 ruling, which declared the procedure protected by the Constitution.
However, it is Republicans who go further to train voters ’attention to social issues.
McConnell singled out trusted Republican favorites, such as accusing Democrats of being lenient about crime and “admitting awakened crowds,” threatening innocent victims of violence. But Republicans are also sticking to the more recent issues of the COVID-19 era.
When the Senate gave its final approval on Thursday a bill that prevents the government from closing down quickly, Republicans were forced to vote on proposals to end federal mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine requirements for students introduced by school districts.
Both were defeated, each Democrat opposed each amendment. Democrats noted that vaccines, masks and tests have been documented to save lives, and Sen. Patty Murray, Washington, compares the Republican Party’s opposition to the move to “accusing the rescue team of a shipwreck.”
However, the public and politicians on both sides are showing growing impatience with the limitations of the pandemic. And as the wave of omicrons receded nationwide, Republicans warned that further resistance to the weakening of these curbs would hurt Democrats.
“Parents are disappointed with that,” Thun said of the school’s disguise mandates.
This story has been corrected to reflect that a bill to prevent a possible government closure was passed by the Senate on Thursday, not Friday.
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