Kim Strassel observes in her weekly Wall Street Journal column that the $270 billion so-called CHIPS and Science Act served as the predicate of the Schumer/Manchin $750 billion Bummer Beyond Belief light that is now to be moved via the reconciliation process.
CNBC drily observes that Senator McConnell had “previously warned that Republicans would not back the China competition bill [i.e., the CHIPS bill] if Democrats continued to pursue an unrelated reconciliation package.” What happened? Strassel writes: “The kinder commentators are noting that Republicans got ‘duped’ by their West Virginia buddy—but that’s unfair to dupes.” (Senator Manchin is “their West Virginia buddy.”)
This is the explanation Strassel offers: “Some Republicans saw an opportunity to funnel money to home-state chip interests, while others saw a chance to do the only thing they know how, spend. Even Mr. McConnell—’master strategist’—voted yes. Don’t confuse getting duped with a failure of basic impulse control.”
The Journal adds this in an editorial today: “Republicans thought that by supporting giant infrastructure and computer-chip bills, the West Virginian might stop a partisan spending bill. GOP Senators now look like tourists who paid $300 from LaGuardia for a taxi to their Manhattan hotel.” That’s not much of an explanation, but it is apparently all we have.
It isn’t even good election-year politics. I think Republican reversion to the status of the stupid party — the one implicitly offered by the Journal editors — is as good an explanation as any, yet there has to be more (or less) to it than that. I have followed someone (is it the Journal editors?) in calling the magically expanding CHIPS bill Spenderama. With the Schumer/Manchin Bummer Beyond Belief light on the table and in process, it is in any event equally infuriating and demoralizing.
In the event, 17 Republican Senators, including McConnell, voted for the Spenderama. I have copied the roll call vote on it and filtered out the Democrats to list the 17 Republican Senators who voted yea on it. Here they are: