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Manchin and the grim reality of Washington's minority rule

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.1%. 1 min read.

Here's evidence of the extreme dysfunction of the US federal government in three semi-related stories from the last day.

The problem is that under current Senate rules, majority support is meaningless, because the minority party -- right now, Republicans -- can insist on a 60-vote supermajority to pass anything at all.

What it means is that Democrats can't get the 50 votes they need to approve changing Senate rules so that a bare majority can pass laws -- so the need to reach a supermajority is here to stay, at least until the next election.

The third, and maybe the most important thing, that's happened in the past few days is that Kentucky -- not a blue state, but a state with a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature -- enacted bipartisan voting rights reforms.

The reality of a Democratic governor working with Republicans to expand voting rights bucks the larger trend of GOP-controlled swing states making it harder for people to vote.

In Georgia, where Republicans have moved to restrict access, it's still arguably easier to vote than in Kentucky, where the new law opens access to just three days of early voting.

He and Mark Studdert, a Stanford researcher, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that while there is not public support for a government passport system, industries and businesses should not be prohibited from verifying vaccines.

Just call it a vaccine verification, they argued.

"The concept of a vaccine passport pushes nearly every partisan political button for Republicans who already don't trust their political leaders and fear government overreach. "

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