The Corner

Politics & Policy

Spare Me, So-Called Senate Democratic ‘Centrists’

I guess it’s nice to see self-identified “centrist” senators such as Senator Jon Tester of Montana and independent senator Angus King of Maine murmuring their worries about excessive borrowing and spending as the Biden administration gets to work.

King says, “At some point we’ve got to start paying for things,” and Tester says of the upcoming infrastructure bill, “Some of it needs to be paid for.” Of course, if these senators had come to this realization before voting for that $1.9 trillion “COVID-relief bill” that spent fortunes on things that weren’t COVID relief, they could have done something to reduce the size of that bill and weed out some of the spending that just isn’t as high a priority.

The Senate remains evenly divided. We’ve observed the sudden awesome power and leverage of West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, but any Democratic senator could effectively block any spending he deemed wasteful by refusing to sign on to the next big spending bill. In other words, the Jon Testers and the Angus Kings of the world have absolutely no excuses; they will rarely encounter situations in the Senate where they will have more leverage than these circumstances.

We’ll see if they mean anything they’re currently saying about the dangers of excessive spending. For now, their murmuring about excessive borrowing has no real effect on spending bills that Congress passes.

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