Trump Getting Tougher for Senate GOP to Ignore
Newsom Can’t List His Political Party on Recall Ballot
What Joe Biden Is Reading
Inside the President’s War Room
Key Republicans Waver on Bipartisan Deal
Tennessee Fires Top Vaccination Official
• Republican Voters Want to Make Voting Harder
• Biden Is on the Move
• The Suburbs Will Be the Big Battleground in 2022
• Biden Supports Capitalism
• Trumpists Are Running for Governor in Many States
• Alaska Republican Party Endorses Murkowski's Challenger
• Yellen Sets Out Timeline for Global Minimum Tax
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), to whom Joe Biden probably owes his job, has decided to go public with something that just about every Democrat in Congress already knows but doesn't dare say out loud: Unless Senate Democrats do something about the filibuster, they are likely going to lose their majorities in 2022 and will be completely hamstrung in the second half of Biden's term.
What Clyburn wants is for Biden to pick up the phone and call Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and say: "Hey, we should do a carve out." Under current Senate rules, judges can't be filibustered, Supreme Court justices can't be filibustered, and reconciliation bills can't be filibustered. Clyburn wants to add voting-rights bills to the list. If there are exceptions already—and, in fact, political scientist Molly E. Reynolds has identified 161 of them, some big, many small—there is no reason there can't be 162. In particular, Clyburn believes that unless the Senate passes H.R. 1 and H.R. 4., Republicans will pick up one or both chambers of Congress next year. What he said was: "If the two voting rights bills before Congress don't reach Biden's desk soon, Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye."
Clyburn told Vice President Kamala Harris and other members of the administration already, but apparently he hasn't called Biden yet. Given that he is the #3 Democrat in the House, surely he can get through the White House switchboard if he tries hard. Clearly he thought that going public will put more pressure on Biden.
Clyburn did talk to Manchin, however, and told him "I'm not asking you to eliminate the filibuster ... But what I'm saying to you is that nobody ought to have the right to filibuster my constitutional rights." It's a small point, but perhaps needed to allow Manchin to save face. Clyburn isn't asking Manchin to vote to abolish the thing entirely, but just to allow another carve out. Manchin has never actually said he is against more limits on when the filibuster can be used.
The timing is no doubt related to Biden's plan to go to Philadelphia tomorrow to give a speech on his actions "to protect the sacred constitutional right to vote." Actually, the original text of the Constitution didn't mention the right to vote at all, and subsequent amendments have stated only that the right to vote can't be abridged on account of previous condition of on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Democrats who spoke to Politico off the record said that failure to pass the bills would not only result in electoral losses for the Democrats, but would have a tangible impact on democracy as more states pass laws making voting more difficult. There are also a handful of Democrats who, like Clyburn, have gone public. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) said Democrats have a deep fear about "what happens to our democracy period. Not who wins in 2022, what happens to democracy."
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) noted that in Robert Caro's biography of LBJ, the author points out that the Voting Rights Act would never have passed without LBJ's direct personal muscular intervention with recalcitrant Democratic senators. Raskin then said: "That is the historical template for getting this thing done. And as a longtime senator, and student of the Senate, I am sure that this analogy is in Joe Biden's mind."
Biden, of course, knows all this. He doesn't need Clyburn or Yarmuth or Raskin to tell him. The real question is how long he is going to keep up the charade of trying to be bipartisan and what he is going to do when he believes the public knows it is not going to work. Will he then try to pressure Manchin to go for a carve out, or a Jimmy-Stewart-style filibuster, or something different, short of abolishing it altogether? Also, will Biden be prepared to junk H.R. 1 and support the mini-Voting Rights Act that Manchin is working on? Right now, his real strategy is closely guarded. (V)
It is not just Republican politicians who want to make voting more difficult. Republican voters also want to do so. Several polls this past spring have asked "if it should be easier or harder for people to vote in American elections than it is currently." Among Democrats, 65% want it to be easier, and 12% want it to be harder. Among Republicans, 11% want it to be easier and 61% want it to be harder. So for Democrats, it is +53 for easier and for Republicans it is +50 for harder. Pretty big spread (103 points).
The crosstabs for other ways of slicing the pie don't show such big differences. Women are for making voting easier 41% to 26% while men want to make it harder 38% to 33%. This is no doubt because women lean Democratic and men lean Republican. Black folks are pro voting, 45% to 16%, Latinos only slightly less, 44% to 23%. There isn't much difference by age, except that seniors are slightly more interested in making it easier. In something of a surprise, people earning $100K are pro-easier-voting 42% to 32% while people making under $50K are only 36% to 27% in favor of making voting easier, despite the new laws hitting lower-income people harder (because they have less work flexibility and are less likely to have a passport or driver's license for ID).
Unfortunately, YouGov didn't ask anyone why they took the stand they did. If one asked Republican politicians privately and off the record why they are trying to make voting harder, the honest ones would simply say: "So we can win elections." We don't know, but we speculate that most Republican voters aren't that cynical or that dialed-in and would simply parrot back the cover story Republican politicians use: "To stop voter fraud."
What is also interesting about these new laws is how the voters feel about issues where election integrity isn't at stake. For example, in another poll, 60% of Texas Republicans were against having in-person early voting be longer than 12 hours in the final week (e.g., from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and 59% of Pennsylvania Republicans want to ban early in-person voting altogether. Of course, from an integrity point of view, there is no difference at all between voting in person a week before Election Day and voting on Election Day, so maybe some Republicans really do want the new laws for partisan reasons.
Another question that pollsters asked is about what to do with valid ballots cast in the wrong precinct. Among Republicans, 40% said they should be counted and 44% said they should be thrown out. With modern electronic poll books and county-wide databases, double voting is impossible, so if someone votes in the wrong precinct, they can't then go out and vote again in the right one. That will be detected and rebuffed the second time they try to vote.
In short, the polls show that Republican voters object to people voting early, object to people voting in the wrong precinct, and object to making Election Day a holiday. It is not a movement for election integrity. It is a movement for restricting who can vote. (V)
Joe Biden's midterm strategy is starting to come into focus. He will travel all over the country to support Democrats who are under attack. Last week, he went to Illinois to help Rep. Lauren Underwood. The week before that, he went to the district of Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). He will no doubt visit the districts and states of other vulnerable Democrats on a regular basis from now on. Democratic officials have downplayed the connections between the visits and the midterms. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki even said of the trip to Illinois that she "would see this as less of a political trip." She did not make clear what kind of trip it was, then. A camping trip? An ego trip? An acid trip? Underwood's district is R+5. Psaki is not fooling anyone who is paying attention.
In addition to stumping for endangered House members, Biden has visited swing states that will matter a lot in 2024, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. This week he is going to Pennsylvania. Of course, by picking the right district to go to in a swing state, he can help an endangered Democratic member of the House and himself at the same time. Biden's travel schedule is markedly different from Trump's schedule during his presidency. Biden is focusing entirely on swing states and swing districts, where his appearance could inspire the local Democrats and perhaps win some votes next year. Trump went almost exclusively to deep red districts and states where he would encounter roaring crowds. His trips actually were ego trips rather than campaign trips.
Even Republicans grudgingly give Biden credit. Republican strategist Doug Heye said: "Biden is not toxic in the way that Hillary and Obama were ... He is going to states that he won but areas that he lost, which is really an interesting and smart way to do it." (V)
Another thing that Joe Biden understands is that his potential reelection depends on how the suburbs go. He won 54% of suburban voters in 2020, more than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, and wants to increase that in 2024. He knows that in 2020, he picked up more support from independents, veterans, and married men than Clinton got, but didn't beat her among young voters or voters of color.
Half of the 14 House seats the Democrats lost in 2020 were in suburban or exurban districts. For 2022, the DCCC has made a list of 24 frontline incumbents who need to be strongly defended. Two-thirds of them are in suburban areas. This is where the action will be. According to DCCC chair Sean Maloney (D-NY), the battles will be over Trump's divisiveness, guns, health care, and climate change. But according to NRCC chair Tom Emmer (R-MN), the top issues for the suburbs are crime, tax increases, border security, and the teaching of critical race theory in suburban schools.
While Senate candidates generally rise or fall on their own merits, House races are more affected by the president's popularity (or lack thereof). Biden's approval is consistently in the low 50s, but in a survey of 37 competitive House districts, his stands on some critical issues were under water. These include the economy, foreign affairs, the Mexican border, and China.
A problem for the Democrats is that many suburban voters are somewhat liberal but not strongly progressive. Some like the scaled-down infrastructure package. Corbin Delgado, a Democrat who is secretary of the Nebraska Latinx Caucus, said: "The filibuster is there for a purpose and I am terrified of what would happen if it went away." Views like this put the Democrats in a bind. If they don't reform the filibuster, they won't get anything done, but if they do, they could lose moderate Democrats in the suburbs like Delgado. Of course, if they go bold and it works, people in the suburbs will see that government can work and that might just save the blue team. (V)
Republicans regularly call Democrats socialists, but on Friday, Joe Biden signed an executive order that will make that claim a lot more difficult, especially with those highly desirable high-information voters in the suburbs who actually understand the difference between socialism and capitalism. When he signed the EO, Biden said the key idea that makes capitalism work is competition, and that the order he was signing would strengthen it.
Among the many provisions of the anti-monopoly EO, which was much discussed last week, including by us, are ones that instruct federal agencies to:
- Restore net neutrality to prevent Internet providers from slowing down websites that aren't paying them a fee
- Order Internet providers to produce a "nutrition label" detailing what they are actually offering
- End termination fees for people who want to switch Internet providers
- Force airlines to refund fees when service is inadequate (e.g., broken WiFi, late baggage)
- Stop landlords from requiring everyone in the building to use the landlord's preferred Internet provider
- Regulate the collection of data by tech companies
- Enforce existing antitrust laws aggressively and look closely at mergers in industries with few players
- Look at previously approved mergers and in some cases retroactively block them where allowed by law
- Revise guidelines to make hospital mergers more difficult
- Devise standard health insurance plans to make it easier for people to compare them
- Block acquisitions of start-ups that might some day threaten companies currently dominant in some area
- Encourage the importation of prescription drugs from Canada
- Find other ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs
- Forbid drug companies from paying generic drug manufacturers to delay bringing a generic drug to market
- Permit drugstores to sell hearing aids over the counter
- Ban non-compete agreements in employment contracts, making it easier for workers to change jobs
- Make it easier to switch banks by allowing customers to download and take their financial data with them
- Empower farmers by outlawing abusive practices used by meatpackers
- Issue tougher new rules about what exactly "Product of USA" means
- Make rules allowing farmers to use independent repair shops for their farm equipment
- Make rules allowing consumers to use independent repair shops for phones and other equipment
- Crack down on companies that cancel warranties if the consumer of some product repairs it themselves
- Target overly burdensome occupational licensing requirements that don't benefit consumers
- Prevent railroad track owners from privileging some traffic over others, especially freight traffic
Not everyone is affected by every one of these directives, but many people are affected by some of them and they are mostly practical things that affect people's pocketbooks. As federal agencies come up with new rules, Biden will no doubt try to get lots of publicity for each one. If people can suddenly buy cheap hearing aids at a drugstore or switch to cheaper Internet providers or buy cheap medicine imported from Canada, and so on, that will play a prominent role in Democratic ads in 2022. (V)
Although the focus of this site is mostly on national politics (though note that anything that happens in NYC is considered national politics), in 2021 there will be two races for governor (New Jersey and Virginia) and in 2022 there will be 36 of them. We hate to speak ill of the dead, but Tip O'Neill was wrong: All politics is national. If you don't think so, consider that swing states Arizona and Georgia have passed laws that sharply reduce voting, whereas swing states Michigan and Wisconsin have not. How come? (Hint: The governors of the latter two are Democrats.) The 38 races for governor in the next 2 years are going to be overshadowed by the Senate races, but they are nevertheless also important, so from time to time we will take a look at them. Here is the basic gubernatorial lay of the land for 2022:
|State||PVI||Governor||Gov's party||Last race||Cook||Gonzales||Sabato|
|Alabama||R+14||Kay Ivey||Republican||59.5% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|Alaska||R+9||Mike Dunleavy||Republican||51.4% R||Solid R||Solid R||Likely R|
|Arkansas||R+15||(Open)||65.3% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|California||D+12||Gavin Newsom||Democratic||61.9% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Colorado||D+1||Jared Polis||Democratic||53.4% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Connecticut||D+6||Ned Lamont||Democratic||49.4% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Hawaii||D+18||(Open)||62.7% D||Solid D||Solid D||Solid D|
|Idaho||R+19||Brad Little||Republican||59.8% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|Illinois||D+7||J. B. Pritzker||Democratic||54.5% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Massachusetts||D+12||Charlie Baker||Republican||66.6% R||Solid R||Solid R||Likely R|
|Nebraska||R+14||(Open)||59.0% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|New Mexico||D+3||Michelle Lujan Grisham||Democratic||57.2% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|New York||D+12||Andrew Cuomo||Democratic||59.6% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Oklahoma||R+20||Kevin Stitt||Republican||54.3% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|Oregon||D+5||(Open)||50.1% D||Solid D||Solid D||Lean D|
|Rhode Island||D+10||Daniel McKee||Democratic||52.6% D||Solid D||Solid D||Likely D|
|South Carolina||R+8||Henry McMaster||Republican||54.0% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|South Dakota||R+14||Kristi Noem||Republican||51.0% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|Tennessee||R+14||Bill Lee||Republican||59.6% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|Vermont||D+15||Phil Scott||Republican||68.5% R||Solid R||Solid R||Likely R|
|Wyoming||R+25||Mark Gordon||Republican||67.1% R||Solid R||Solid R||Solid R|
|State||PVI||Governor||Gov's party||Last race||Cook||Gonzales||Sabato|
|Iowa||R+3||Kim Reynolds||Republican||50.3% R||Likely R||Solid R||Likely R|
|Maine||D+3||Janet Mills||Democratic||50.9% D||Likely D||Battleground||Lean D|
|Minnesota||D+1||Tim Walz||Democratic||53.8% D||Likely D||Solid D||Likely D|
|Nevada||D+1||Steve Sisolak||Democratic||49.4% D||Likely D||Battleground||Lean D|
|Ohio||R+3||Mike DeWine||Republican||50.4% R||Likely R||Solid R||Likely R|
|Texas||R+8||Greg Abbott||Republican||55.8% R||Likely R||Solid R||Likely R|
|State||PVI||Governor||Gov's party||Last race||Cook||Gonzales||Sabato|
|Florida||R+2||Ron DeSantis||Republican||49.6% R||Lean R||Battleground||Likely R|
|Georgia||R+5||Brian Kemp||Republican||50.2% R||Lean R||Battleground||Tossup|
|Kansas||R+13||Laura Kelly||Democratic||48.0% D||Lean D||Battleground||Tossup|
|Maryland||D+12||(Open)||55.4% R||Tossup||Battleground||Lean D|
|Michigan||D+1||Gretchen Whitmer||Democratic||53.3% D||Lean D||Battleground||Lean D|
|New Hampshire||D+1||Chris Sununu||Republican||65.1% R||Solid R||Battleground||Lean R|
|Wisconsin||EVEN||Tony Evers||Democratic||49.5% D||Lean D||Battleground||Tossup|
The last three columns are the ratings by Charlie Cook, Nathan Gonzales, and Larry Sabato, respectively. The rows are color-coded based on the party expected to win the governor's mansion. When two of the three rated a state as solid, we classified it as solid. That even holds for the open seats in Arkansas, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Oregon. They are not going to switch parties, no matter what. So, 21 of the states are basically off the table.
The next batch of six states are likely to stick with their existing governor, but surprises do happen. Still, in the 158 gubernatorial elections since 2010, only seven sitting governors lost their jobs, and all of these states have an incumbent governor running for reelection.
Now we come to the battleground states, the nine states that could go either way. In these states—and, really, in all states—one thing that could be different this time is that all the governors have been sorely tested by COVID-19, and if their voters think they really botched it, their party could be in trouble, although that is less likely in the open seats. Further, unemployment varies considerably from state to state and the voters tend to hold governors much more responsible for unemployment than senators. After all, governors can (and have) shut down businesses in many states for longer or shorter periods. Senators don't do that.
There are a few footnotes here that could be important. The governors cited below are shown in purple in the chart:
- California: If Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) loses the recall, all bets are off, but he probably will win.
- Massachusetts: Charlie Baker (R) might not run for reelection. If he retires, some Democrat is likely to win.
- New York: Andrew Cuomo (D) has been hit hard by various scandals. He might not run for a fourth term.
- Iowa: If Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) retires, Gov Kim Reynolds (R-IA) might run for the open seat.
- Arizona: This will be an open seat as Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) is term limited. It will be a huge battleground.
- New Hampshire: If Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) decides to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), this will be an open seat.
- Georgia: Donald Trump will pull out all stops to beat Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA). So will Stacey Abrams, though she just might back a different candidate from The Donald.
These are the basics. But there is suddenly a new factor to consider: Mini-Trumps are running for governor in a number of states. That could affect not only the governors' mansions, but also turnout, and thus other races. The Hill has an article on many of these gubernatorial races. Let's look at some of them.
- Georgia: Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones (R) is challenging Kemp from the right. He is an
all-out Trumper, who claims the 2020 election in Georgia was "fixed." The biggest factor in this race is that Trump
wants Kemp to go down in flames. If no other somewhat serious Republican enters the race and Trump endorses Jones, Kemp
will have to work hard to win the primary, but he is probably still the favorite. Jones has a couple of strikes against
him. First, he grew up in North Carolina. Second, he's Black and there are more than a few Trumpers who are also
racists. Third, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008—as a Democrat. This is not the ideal profile to win the
Republican primary in Georgia, particularly in the Trump lane. But if Trump goes all in for him, which he might just to
show that he is not racist and is happy to support Black kooks as long as they believe the 2020 election was rigged,
Jones could catch on. Of course, if a white Georgia native and lifelong Republican enters the fray in the Trump lane,
Jones is toast.
- Maine: Two-term former governor Paul LePage (R) wants his old job back. He calls himself
"Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular." So far, LePage is the only serious Republican running for the right
to take on Gov. Janet Mills (D). LePage is well known enough to scare off other Republicans, so he is likely to be
the GOP nominee. But he is as loose a cannon as Trump, and that won't go down well in laid-back Maine. He won in 2010
with 38% of the vote due to the presence on the ballot of independent Eliot Cutler, who got 36% and who split the
left-center vote with Democrat Libby Mitchell. Cutler ran again in 2014 and once again got enough votes to keep Democrat
Mike Michaud from winning. This was enough to get the state legislature to introduce ranked choice voting—but the
Maine Supreme Court ruled that RCV could be used only for federal offices. If one or more left-leaning independents
enter the gubernatorial race again, LePage could win.
- Maryland: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term limited, so this will be an open seat. While
Maryland is generally a blue state, it did elect Hogan twice, so a Democratic win can't be taken for granted. Trumpy
firebrand Dan Cox (R), a state delegate, is running, along with a couple of former state delegates, Robin Ficker (R),
and Kelly Schultz (R). Cox is getting all the attention, though, on account of his loudly opposing the pandemic
shutdowns and his arranging for a bus to bring "protesters" to D.C. on Jan. 6. Maryland Republicans tend not to be
Trumpy, so Cox is no shoo-in for the nomination. Democrats smell blood in the water, so nine of them are already in,
including former DNC chairman Tom Perez, and more are likely to follow.
- Massachusetts: Former state representative and failed 2018 GOP Senate nominee Geoff Diehl
(R) is running, whether or not Gov. Charlie Baker (R) goes for another term. Diehl was co-chair of Trump's campaign in
Massachusetts in 2016. Baker is very popular in the state and if he decides to go for it, he will certainly win the
nomination and probably the general election. But if he calls it quits, Diehl has a shot at the GOP nomination. Given
Trump's popularity in Massachusetts (he got 32%), Diehl's chances of winning the general election are very low, but he
could get the GOP nomination.
- Ohio: Former congressman Jim Renacci (R) ran for the Senate in 2018 and lost to Sen.
Sherrod Brown (D) by 6 points, but he is currently unemployed, so now he is running for governor. He doesn't really need
the money since he is worth almost $40 million, but the power is nice. He is closely aligned to Trump and hired Trump's
former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to advise him. One imagines that he doesn't care about Parscale's advice, and
that this is just a way to kiss the ring. Running against a popular incumbent just after you lost another statewide
race—to a Democrat—isn't the usual formula for success, even if you are very Trumpy, but the primary will be
a good test of how important Trumpiness is. If Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH), who is a more traditional Republican, wipes the
floor with Renacci, other Republicans will sit up and take notice. The same is true, of course, if Renacci wipes the
floor with DeWine.
- Texas: Everything is bigger in Texas and that could hold for the Republican gubernatorial
primary as well. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has no fewer than three major GOP challengers on his right flank. They are:
former state senator Don Huffines, outgoing chair of the Texas Republican Party Allen West, and paleoconservative and
Blaze TV talk show host Chad Prather. Huffines, for example, has promised that as governor he would close the Mexican
border. This will put pressure on Abbott, who can't just close the border because he has no such authority, but who runs
a state where obeying the law makes you look weak. Trump has already endorsed Abbott, so the Governor is probably in
decent shape there, despite three people who will be taking potshots at him from the right for nearly a year.
Nevertheless, he is taking no chances. He went on Fox News Sunday yesterday to
Chris Wallace why he supports the restrictive voting laws the state legislature is working on. Among other things,
drive-through voting could allow a passenger to have a "coercive effect" on the driver. He also said it was hard for
counties to monitor ballots. Apparently if there are fewer of them, they can do that better.
These are just a few of the states where Trumpists are running for governor. We are still many months away from the filing deadlines, so more are sure to come. (V)
Not only are mini-Trumps running for governor, they are also running for the Senate, sometimes against long-term incumbents. And some are getting the endorsement of state Republican parties. In particular, on Saturday, the Alaska Republican Party endorsed Kelly Tshibaka for the Senate. Tshibaka is running against the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). It is almost unheard of for a state party to oppose the reelection of a sitting senator of their own party, barring the commission of some sort of crime or other indecent act.
The reason is fear. Not fear that Murkowski might lose. If the Alaska Republican Party fully backed her, she would be the odds-on favorite to win another term. What they fear is Donald Trump's wrath. He has backed Tshibaka to spite Murkowski, who voted for his conviction at his second impeachment. Furthermore, she has continued to state that Trump lost the election and that Joe Biden is the legitimate president.
Despite opposition from Trump and the state party, Murkowski still has a good shot at reelection due to Alaska's brand new top-four primary. In it, all the candidates, regardless of party, compete in a single primary. The top four move on to the general election, which uses ranked-choice voting. Murkowski's ace in the hole is that probably most Democrats will list her as their second choice. If the final round in the RCV election is Murkowski vs. Tshibaka, Murkowski will get the traditional Republicans, most of the independents, and nearly all the Democrats and Tshibaka will get only the Trumpists. Under these conditions, Murkowski could probably win.
There is one other move Murkowski could make, but probably won't: Leave the Republican Party and join the Senate Democratic Caucus as an independent. If she did that, the Alaska Democratic Party would certainly endorse her and she could run as an independent with Democratic support. Independents have won statewide in Alaska before, as have Democrats. Most recently, Mark Begich (D) represented Alaska in the Senate until 2015, and Bill Walker (I) served as governor until 2018. But we doubt Murkowski will go that far, even though she must be frustrated with the state party. (V)
On Saturday, the finance ministers of the G20 met in Venice and approved in principle a minimum tax of at least 15% for very large multinational corporations, although some countries want to set it higher. The plan will be finalized in Rome in October. However, the G20 group doesn't get to write the tax laws in any country. All the agreement means is that each of the 20 countries in the G20 will now try to change domestic laws to ensure that the targeted corporations can't avoid taxation by shifting their profits to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, or other tax havens.
Most of the G20 countries are parliamentary democracies, which means that the prime minister's party almost always has a majority in parliament, so it can push through any laws it wants to. No other country has anything like the filibuster or even an opposition party that is against all taxes under all conditions, as the U.S. does. So the big question now is whether Congress will approve the deal.
The first issue that will come up is whether this deal is a treaty. If so, it would require a two-thirds majority of the Senate, which is never going to happen. On the other hand, if it can be treated as a unilateral change to U.S. tax laws, only a bare majority would be needed, and it could be passed using the budget reconciliation process, though only if every Senate Democrat agrees.
Yellen addressed the press yesterday and said that she wants Congress to take up the proposal in early 2022, shortly after it is finalized. It is expected that business interests will be strongly opposed to the global minimum and will lobby hard against it. On the other hand, Joe Biden knows that taxing giant corporations is very popular with the voters, so he will make a huge effort to get it through Congress, especially in an election year. He could run into surprise opposition from Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper (both D-DE), who are generally pretty liberal, but who also represent a state where 68% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated. That said, Biden may just have extra pull with senators from Delaware. In any event, international taxation could be the sleeper campaign issue of the midterms.
Yellen is hanging out in Europe for a bit trying to convince several countries to drop the idea of a tax on digital services offered by companies that don't have a physical presence in their countries. Under a plan from France and other countries, if, say, Facebook, operates in France, then it would be subject to French taxes, even if it doesn't have an office in France. In the past, this issue was largely moot since not very many companies could do business in a country if they didn't have an office and some employees there. Now that is very easy, so a number of countries think that if you are in fact doing business in their country, you should pay taxes there, even if there are no employees present. Yellen is against this. The (Italian?) sausage is being made as you read this. (V)
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul10 Saturday Q&A
Jul09 Biden Puts Monopolies in His Crosshairs
Jul09 Texas Is at It Again
Jul09 Another Potential Infrastructure Wrinkle
Jul09 The Republican Party Stands for Nothing
Jul09 Trump Says He Welcomes Deposition
Jul09 An Artful Solution?
Jul09 A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Part II
Jul08 House Group Approves Senate's Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Jul08 Trump Sues Facebook, Twitter, and Google
Jul08 McCarthy Is at a Crossroads
Jul08 Biden Can Reshape the Fed
Jul08 Do Republicans Really Believe the Lies They Are Telling?
Jul08 Giuliani to Help the Democrats on Saturday
Jul08 Beasley Raises $1.3 Million for North Carolina Senate Race
Jul08 Pollsters Still Don't Know What Went Wrong in 2020
Jul08 Garcia and Wiley Concede
Jul07 It's Adams' Apple
Jul07 Infrastructure Talks Just Keep Getting More Complicated
Jul07 RNC Hacked by the Russians
Jul07 How Greedy Is Too Greedy?
Jul07 Vance Can't Dance
Jul07 Mary Trump: Ivanka's Less Loyal than Weisselberg
Jul07 Happy Anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!
Jul06 Gang Warfare
Jul06 What's the Plan for the 1/6 Commission?
Jul06 How Not to Respond to Being Prosecuted
Jul06 Breyer Clerks Up for Next Term
Jul06 An Interesting Election in Saxony-Anhalt
Jul06 An Interesting Election in Brazil
Jul05 Biden Narrowly Misses Vaccination Goal
Jul05 DeSantis Is Preparing for 2024--Very Carefully
Jul05 Republicans Are Testing New Attacks on Biden
Jul05 Clyburn Doesn't Want Trump to Testify
Jul05 Biden Wants to Encourage Legal Residents to Apply for Citizenship
Jul05 The New Cold War?
Jul05 Plentiful Jobs and Rising Wages Help the Democrats
Jul05 Garcia Could Yet Win the NYC Mayor's Race
Jul05 Alvin Bragg Wins
Jul05 The Numbers Didn't Add Up
Jul04 Sunday Mailbag
Jul03 Saturday Q&A
Jul02 RIP Voting Rights Act, 1965-2021
Jul02 Pelosi Makes Her Picks for 1/6 Commission
Jul02 A Win for Biden (Not That Anyone Will Notice)
Jul02 Weisselberg Surrenders, TrumpWorld Spins
Jul02 At Least It's Not Just a Blog...
Jul02 It's a Date!
Jul02 New York City Releases Update on Mayoral Race