The Week When Fed Overreach Fizzled
The Biden administration hits a wall on overturning voter ID laws. The hits kept coming on economic data.
By the end of the week, after blow-back on his Atlanta speech about a federal take-over of election laws, President Biden’s push for a Senate vote on the measures to overturn voter ID laws had fizzled.
The administration's mandate of an experimental “vaccine” on 80 million Americans had failed at the Supreme Court.
His bid to change over 200 years of Senate precedent to do away with the 60-vote filibuster threshold also hit a wall, thanks to the principled stands of Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).
Call it the week when federal overreach failed more than it won.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court turned back the Biden White House's bid to use a "constitutional workaround" using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to force private employers to mandate experimental drugs on workers. The court said they had no authority from Congress.
Thanks to justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the liberal justices on the second mandate ruling, the rule forcing medical workers at facilities receiving Medicaid and Medicare to take the jab squeaked by, 5-4.
Justice Clarence Thomas's dissent focused on "the right of an individual to make his or her own health decisions."
“These cases are not about the efficacy or importance of COVID-19 vaccines. They are only about whether [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has the statutory authority to force healthcare workers, by coercing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo,” he wrote.
Two more mandate cases, for federal workers and federal contractors, are also working their way through the courts.
"I think it shows a bit of a reckless attitude on litigation," constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley said in a Fox News segment.
“There has been little media attention on the Biden administration’s impressive litany of losses in court or on the White House’s open pressure on these agencies," he wrote.
"The media covered these pressures extensively under the Trump administration, and legal experts have objected that the Trump White House is attacking the independence of the Justice Department and other agencies. In these measures, Biden demands questionable federal actions that are quickly taken by his agency heads with poor results for the executive branch.”
By mid-week Republicans were calling on the Secretary of Education to resign over revelations he helped push a campaign to target parents who were objecting to progressive agendas in their kids’ school.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said Secretary Miguel Cardona should resign after emails revealed he “solicited a controversial memo issued by the National School Boards Association last year, comparing parents to domestic terrorists.” (Per Fox News). The Department of Justice then launched “threat tags” to track the parents.
Data on inflation hit new records. The University of Michigan consumer confidence index fell two points to 68%, a 10-year low, over worries about inflation, capping a week when inflation hit 7%, and the producer price index hit a new high in December at just under 10%.
President Biden's approval rating dropped to 33% in a new Quinnipiac University poll, the lowest mark of any major public survey during his presidency. His approval among Blacks and Hispanic voters also fell to new lows over his handling of the economy.
Some 49% of respondents said they felt Biden was dividing the country. That poll was taken before Biden’s Atlanta speech on Tuesday, which basically accused Republicans -- or anyone opposed to the federal takeover of elections to racists. (Full speech transcript here.)
This time, it was too much for Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who weighed in with a rejoinder in a speech on the Senate floor:
“A President shouting that 52 Senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the Framers built the Senate to check his power. This whole display is the best possible argument for preserving the Senate rules that extend deliberation, force bipartisan compromise, and let cooler heads prevail. Nothing proves it better than this episode. It offers a perfect case study in why Senator Biden was right about the filibuster and President Biden is wrong.
“This institution was constructed as a firewall against exactly this kind of rage and false hysteria. It falls to the Senate to put America on a better track. It falls to us.”
(Full transcript here, per Powerlineblog.)
Even the Washington Post is worried. “Biden has been losing his way politically,” writes David Ignatius in a column this week.
“As he chases support from progressives in his own party, he has failed to craft versions of his social spending package and voting rights legislation that he could pass with fragile majorities. He’s been spinning his wheels.”
On a brighter note, and in a kind of rejoinder to the Atlanta speech, Virginia is making history this weekend when Republican Glenn Youngkin is sworn into office, and Republican Winsome Sears takes office as Lt. Governor. (In addition, Attorney General Jason Miyares also becomes the first Latino elected as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.)
Sears, herself a Jamaican immigrant as a child, will be the highest-ranking black woman in the state and is widely seen as a possible future governor herself.
She is a fierce advocate for education, parental choice, and school choice, issues she campaigned on with Youngkin.
"Sears recounts how she was buttonholed at a gospel concert recently by an 83-year-old black man, a lifelong Democrat," she said in a recent feature in the Wall Street Journal. The anecdote helps point to what was a major issue in the 2021 gubernatorial races in New Jersey, and Virginia voters in 2021.
The man told her, “I have never voted for Republicans, but this year I decided that I could.” The reason, she told the WSJ, was “education, education all the way.” #