Friday, June 2, 2023

Debt ceiling bill approved by Senate, sent to President Biden for signature

Yesterday's news was House votes to approve debt ceiling deal, on to the Senate. Today, as MSNBC reported on "The 11th Hour," the news is Senate passes debt limit bill.

After debating a series of amendments, the Senate passed the debt ceiling deal struck by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The bill now heads to Biden’s desk for a signature as Monday’s debt deadline approaches.
As the preview image shows, the bill passed 66 to 36, with one Senator absent. It now goes to President Joe Biden to sign, which he will do this weekend after addressing the country at 7 P.M. EDT tonight. As I wrote yesterday, crisis averted!

With that out of the way, follow over the jump as I look for the devil in the details, one of the punchlines in the Satan Sandwich cartoon that served as the period on yesterday's post.

One of those details was how well one of my predictions fared.
I don't like the pipeline, either, but I don't think Kaine's attempt to remove it from the bill will succeed. Every Republican plus Joe Manchin will vote against his amendment. If one more Senator joins them, it will fail. If they don't, I expect Vice President Kamala Harris will vote against it, breaking the tie, and it will still fail. After that happens, I also expect Kaine to vote yes on it, and it will go to President Biden to be signed.
I came close on the first part, as two Republicans, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted yes, but 19 Democrats including Manchin voted no, so it lost 30-69. Lee and Paul are two of the more iconoclastic Republican Senators, so I shouldn't be surprised. Otherwise, the vote was pretty much a left-right split with the dividing line down the center of the Democratic caucus. I was spot on with the second part, as Kaine voted yes on the bill as a whole. I consider this to be a good, although not perfect, prediction.

One of the reasons I wrote that the debt ceiling votes would be interesting was how they would expose divides within the parties, whether left-right, as with Kaine's pipeline amendment, or up-down along Voteview's establishment/anti-establishment second dimension. The House vote divided mostly along establishment/anti-establishment lines, with the establishment side voting yes and the anti-establishment side voting no, as the image below shows.

The vote also displayed a slight left-right split, as more Republicans than Democrats voted against the deal.

The Senate vote showed more of a left-right divide with a secondary up-down split.

The divides look different within each party. The Republicans split between left and right, while the Democrats split between up (establishment) and down (anti-establishment). The anti-establishment Democratic and independent Senators from left to right are Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, and John Fetterman. I like all of them.

These votes give me a perfect opportunity to re-examine Kyrsten Sinema moving to the left as an independent. Here's where she was last month.

Here's where she is now.

Sinema has moved to the center after the votes on the debt ceiling and also on overturning Biden forgiving (some) student loan debt. She still has the highest establishment rating among the Senators who caucus with Democrats, but she is no longer more liberal than the median Democrat, although she's still to the left of 63% of all Senators, including John Fetterman. Just the same, the people who were skeptical of her moving to the left were correct; she showed her true colors when it was time to vote on measures that affected her donors. That's what I expected of her when she became an independent.

I close today's post by revisiting a wish that doubled as a prediction: "May Debt Ceiling Cat be watching negotiations that result in a something other than a sovereign default, which will send the country, if not the world, into an avoidable recession." Fortunately, I got the outcome I hoped for.

Looking forward to not posting this meme for another two years.

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