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Divided Congress grapples with rising gas prices, COVID aid and immigration

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Lisa Desjardins:

So much to say here.

So let me also try to guide that. We are still watching Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. And he’s talking to Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. They just talked on Monday. However, what Joe Manchin wants right now is a deficit reduction bill. It would raise corporate taxes, which many Democrats want to do. But he would use half of that money to reduce the deficit.

Kind of what he’s saying, if you want my vote, that’s what I — what I want back. Now the Democrats might try to get some of that original — those original agenda items, maybe child care, maybe some health care provisions. But this is only the beginning. And, really, it’s a bit long at this point to know if there’s a Build Back Better version left.

I think about what I want to do, because it’s so, sometimes it hurts my head to talk about all these things. I want to expose to the viewers the chances of survival of all these different issues that we are talking about.

So we created this chart. This is the way forward for all the different issues that are on the table here. You see, first of all, on the left side, most likely, Ukrainian funds. It’s something that’s more likely to pass through Congress in the weeks and months to come.

Now a bit more in the middle, talking about the findings of COVID. This is a hot political issue right now. Republicans don’t trust Democrats. There is politics involved. I think, however, everyone realizes that this country needs new COVID supplies.

Now, in the middle, trickier, this competitive spill of China and CHIPS. Very hard to see where this leads. On the less likely end, the longshots, these include things we just talked about, the Manchin Deficit Bill, Build Back Better. There is also a potential climate bill that Joe Manchin and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are working on.

I put them on the longshot kind of part of the spectrum. Another problem with all of this, Judy, of course, as you said, time is of the essence.

So let’s take a look at the schedule for the upcoming Congress. Here we are. Let’s look at May and June. These are the weeks when the House and Senate are in session, five weeks only. Why are these months important? Because it’s a midterm election year. The 4th of July is generally seen as the time when everything turns into an election year.

It’s a huge election year. Could lawmakers do something after September? Yes. But have they done so in recent years? No, they never did. And, also, occupying the calendar in May and June, the January 6 hearings in the House.

So there’s not a lot of oxygen on Capitol Hill. They have a lot to do. There’s not a lot of will — or there’s not a lot of commonalities, and there’s a lot to do.