tv Politics Nation MSNBC August 7, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
conditioned, they have felt belittled. to hear something from that from the attorney general after this extensive report, incredible to hear. susan del percio, thank you so much for sharing this with us and joining us this hour. that wraps up the hour for me, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian. i'll be back here tomorrow, don't worry, 3:00 p.m. eastern. reverend al sharpton and "politicsnation" begins right now. good evening and welcome to a road edition of "politicsnation." i'm in martha's vineyard. more details on why later in the show. because tonight's lede, waiting to exhale. right now our senate has voted to advance the process on president biden's bipartisan infrastructure proposal. 67 voting yes on progressing the legislation forward. 27 voting no. now comes more debate.
this after the vice president made a last-minute visit to capitol hill this afternoon, meeting with democratic senators to show support for the president's plan. and in the house, democrats are pushing their revised version of the voter protection bill named after the late john lewis, hoping to see a vote by early september. of course, the nationwide assault on the vote by state republicans will not abate in that time. case in point, texas, where legislators in the state are also in another special session, the second call by the governor in the past month to pass voter restrictions after state democrats fled the state to protect the vote. but one heavily watched democratic primary concluded this week, and shortly i'll ask chantel brown, the winner of
that high-profile ohio congressional race about her state's political future ahead of next year's midterms. but first, joining me now, senator michael bennett of colorado, a democrat. senator bennet, thank you, vice president harris was on capitol hill today to discuss the plan. the senate was in a special saturday session. much of today to consider the bill, a procedural vote coming back 67-27. with these signs, are you confident that the bill will ultimately pass, senator? [ no audio ]
>> okay. we've got technical difficulties with the senator. let me see if we can straighten that out. let me move on to this. as the delta variant of covid-19 ravages several states and gop governors refuse, if not punish compliance with medical guidance, mayors find themselves in a tough position. and this week, one made a tough decision. joining me now, one of those mayors, frank scott, the mayor of little rock, arkansas. mayor scott, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you so much, reverend al. definite pleasure to be with you. >> now, on thursday you installed a mask mandate for public places in your city as your state is suffering the third worst outbreak of
infection in the nation per capita. you did this in defiance of an order from your governor back in march. that municipalities wouldn't be able to mandate face coverings. i wonder if you can elaborate what, if any, pushback you've gotten from your republican-dominated state government. >> we haven't received the pushback just yet. we do know there are some members of the state legislature that are planning to file a lawsuit. they've also have said said not-so-nice things. but this is what we signed up for. we took the time and attention to work with our city attorney to understand that our power as mayors and other local governments can't be taken away as it relates to what we do to protect the public safety of our residents. and so that's the reason why we did it. it's about our residents. we're seeing close to 3,000 case
on average a day. little rock represents the mechanic calf health care for the state of arkansas. when we have hospital beds filling up and doctors and specialists trying to figure out whether they should take a covid patient versus a non-covid patient, it's serious. it's life or death. and so we made a decision in the best interest of our people. >> now, what does the president's infrastructure plan, which appears to be advancing after that special senate session today, what does it mean for our city, mr. mayor? >> well, it means a whole lot. as you know, little rock represents the most populous city in the state of arkansas nation to being the state capital city. we have both interstate 40 and interstate 30 that intersects within our city. so we need more money for our streets, drainage projects, and roads. this will help take us back to rebuild our city. we're excited to see this bipartisan bill move forward because it means more dollars an
our streets to ensure that we have more travelable roads and multimodal transportation as we move forward. and so this is exciting to receive and hopefully just like we've been able to do with the american rescue plan act dollars. >> i have to ask you this. your gop-documented state legislatures is among the dozens that have produced voter restrictions bills in the last year. and you know wive been working on this for a while. in addition to those signed into law by your governor recently, i'd imagine that your heavily black city is in the cross-hairs of those restrictions along with diverse cities in your neighborhoods state of texas where voter registrations are being discussed in another special state session as we speak. what is your response to this movement of those on the right to come with voter restriction laws in your state and your
neighbor state of texas? >> well, first and foremost, we should not be creating more restrictions on voting. we should make it easier to vote. our ancestors fought for the right to vote. we shouldn't have to have an authorization every so often so we can vote. but that's what it is right now, so we have to do everything we can to ensure everyone has a right to vote. but we should not suppress the vote in any shape, form, or fashion. >> now, while i have you, i was in your city recently around a police case in bebe, arkansas. while i was in little rock, i was told by some people there about the crime problem that is in uptick all over the country. tell us about the money you have allocated toward crime prevention in little rock, because people here -- as we continue to fight for police reform, but they don't hear when you have a mayor like you that is also fighting for crime
prevention at the same time that we're trying to make policing reforms more a reality and more law. >> yes. public safety is a top priority in our administration. what that means is we focus not only on police reform, but true crime prevention, to focus on ways to prevent the crime from even happening. many times there are root causes that goes with a need for more community programming, a need for more prevention specialists, more mental health to make sure we have the appropriate personnel responding to issues of domestic violence. what we've done with the american rescue plan act dollars is assign $1,500,000 to focus on community violence intervention specialists to ensure we have street teams figuring out what's going on before something bubbles up and quite frankly squash it. this is going to be a tool to help the members of our little rock police department as we continue to see a downward trend
of violent crime. but we want to figure out how we sustain that downward trend, and this is how we do it. >> all right. thank you. the mayor of little rock, anniversary, frank scott jr. let's go back to senator bennet. we apologize we had a technical issue. thank you for joining us this evening, senator. as i was beginning to say to you, vice president kamala harris was on the hill today in meetings to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure plan. the senate was in a special saturday session much of today to consider the bill a procedural cloakture vote coming back with a count of 67-27 with these signs. let me ask you, are you confident that this bill will ultimately pass? >> i am, reverend. i've learned not to take anything for granted in washington, d.c. we can screw stuff up. that's certainly within our power. but i think this is headed to a
big bipartisan win for the biden administration and a home run for the american people. >> now, senator, i try to make sure that my audience has the best possible grasp on how legislation will ultimately affect their lives. now, i know that broadband access and environmental protections are priorities of yours reflected in this plan. but to someone watching us right now and wondering why so much emphasis and energy has gone into legislation versus other concerns, how do you explain the impact as you see it? >> the way i look at this is that washington for decades has not invested in working families. we cut taxes by $5 trillion for the wealthiest people in america since 2001. we spent $5.6 trillion fighting
two wars that were almost endless. two 20-year wars in the middle east. now, finally, after all those decades, this is an opportunity for us to invest in the american people, in our infrastructure, in our children. so this will mean that we will have broadband all across the country and not live in a world where one group of kids has access to broadband and another group doesn't. reverend, as you know, we've accepted the school districts over history, where one group of students had access to textbooks, another group didn't have access to textbooks. those are some of the darkest moments in the country's history. and yet we've allowed that to happen with broadband . if we can extend the child tax credit, which i've been fighting for in the reconciliation package -- >> i want to talk to you about that. i want to talk to you about that and i'm glad you brought up the
broadband because broadband is the textbook of today. if you don't have access, if you're in a broadband desert -- we saw that with the pandemic. they've literally taken your education away from you. but i know you're pushing, as you started going to make the expanded child tax credit, a key part of president biden's economic recovery plan fighting to make it permanent. now, what is it about this incentive that you feel is so essential to american families moving forward? >> there are three things. we take it from $2,000 a year to $3,000, $3,600 for kids under the age of 6. we make it fully refundable, which means the poorest kids in our country who have not been eligible for it will thousand be eligible for it. and it's going to be paid out on a monthly basis. in fact, we started in july, july 15th. families were getting $300 per
kid, 250 bucks for kids over to age of 6. that's happening again in august, september, october, november. so parents at the end of the month can make decisions about how to pay their grocery bill, pay their rent, maybe buy a little bit of child care so they can stay at work and keep working for their families. that's why we need to make it permanent when we lived in an economy that's worked really well o for the top 10% for all these years but hasn't worked for 90% of the american people. that's what this is about. >> do you find it strange as i do that when we give these tax cuts to the wealthy, the top 10% as you mentioned, and you come and talk about child tax credits and making it permanent, they act like that's a handout. when we're talking about people that really literally need it? >> it is staggering. these people are willing to cut taxes for the richest people in
the country when we've had the worst income inequality since the 1920s. and then they go to the floor and vote against a tax cut for working people. i don't understand how you go home to a place like wisconsin and explain that you voted for donald trump's tax cut for the rich, 15% of which went to the top 5% of the american people and you voted against something that actually went for working people. and cut childhood poverty in half and help try to make this country something other than one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the industrialized world. it makes no sense. it makes no sense. >> i'm glad we got that technical glitch out of the way so you could express yourself on that and the other issues on the infrastructure. thank you, senator michael bennett for being with us. coming up on "politicsnation," war of words.
the governor of florida clashes with president biden over covid restrictions as the virus surges in the state of florida. plus, ohio's democratic congressional nominee, chantel brown, on the primary race that propelled her into the national spotlight. and the republican opponent she'll face in november. we'll talk about all of that with her coming up. but first, today's top news stories. yasmin? >> thanks, rev. stories we're watching this hour, florida is reporting the highest number of covid cases since the beginning of this pandemic. the state recorded more than 23,000 new cases and 93 deaths on friday. more than 13,000 people are hospitalized. also a state record. the dixie wildfire in northern california is officially the third largest blaze in state history. on friday the fire grew by 110
miles. the fire has burned over 446,000 acres of land since it started last month. and the sexual harassment scandal surrounding new york governor andrew cuomo continues to grow. the albany county sheriff says he's in the preliminary stages of a criminal investigation into a complaint brought forth by a former executive assistant who says cuomo groped her and reached under her blouse. the woman's allegations are also included in a broader report from new york's attorney general which alleges the governor harassed nearly a dozen women. governor cuomo denies any wrongdoing and is resisting widespread calls for him to resign. more "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton after a quick break. and their suv is always there with them. so when their windshield got a chip, they wanted it fixed fast. they drove to safelite autoglass for a guaranteed, same-day, in-shop repair. we repaired the chip before it could crack. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them.
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welcome back to "politicsnation." i have a lot to get to with my political panel this evening. joining me now is dana milbank, "washington post" opinion columnist, and tim miller, who is a writer at large at bulwark as well as an msnbc political analyst. let's dive right into it with the exploding covid outbreak in florida. and the republican governor's attempt to shift the blame. listen to this. >> joe biden is taking to himself to try to single out florida over covid. this is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to, quote, shut down the virus.
and what has he done? why don't you do your job? why don't you get this border secure? and until you do that, i don't want to hear a blip about covid from you. >> dana, this is a man who outlawed mask mandates and discouraged vaccinations in his state, and he wants to blame the president as florida experiences its highest caseload of the pandemic? what is desantis hoping to accomplish here? >> i love it, reverend. he says that biden is singling out florida. it's the virus that's singling out florida because of this governor's policy. this is the apothio sis of insanity. his policies are literally causing people to die. they're literally killing people. look, desantis is in the invisible primary right now to become biden's challenger in
2024, and he believes that the solution is to be the trumpiest of them all, and that is to fight any sort of mandates involving the virus. it's not like the rest of the country is shut down. we're all open now. he's just being obstinate about common sense precautions that don't impede on anybody's life. so he's, you know, literally causing people to die and then turning around and insulting the president and suggesting that the president has lost his marbles and can't remember the governor's name. >> now, also in florida governor desantis has banned mask mandates in public schools, and the state is offering all kinds of excuses, offering private school vouchers to parents who want their children to wear masks for their own safety. tim, how can republicans take
this public health emergency as an opportunity to further erode the public schools at the cost of children's lives? >> rev, i think there's two classes of republicans right now. you look at the governor's class. you got the ron desantis of the world looking ahead to 2024 trying to copy the donald trump playbook where owning the libs and attacking the left and trying to troll elites and health officials and teachers unions and people who want to make responsible decisions as the way to become politically popular in republican primaries. that's just a reality. if you look at the contrast between what desantis is doing -- biden has been working with larry hogan in maryland, jim justice in west virginia, phil scott in vermont. these are all republican governors who are doing vaccine lotteries, who are putting in appropriate-where-necessary mask mandates. how do we get schools open?
that's what people want. that's what's happening in states with governors that actually care about their residents. and then you have ron desantis who cares about his political career. i think that's the easiest way to understand the difference in what's going on. >> now, dana, let me go into this. the u.s. government has already hit the debt ceiling. though republicans happily ignored the debt limit while trump was in office, now they're threatening to default on those bills. they're trying to tie upcoming legislation like the infrastructure package to this scheme. what do you think will happen next? >> do they never learn, reverend? it's not like this has never happened before. we've seen them -- ted cruz with his brinkmanship in 2013. this goes all the way back to newt gingrich's days and they've lost every time.
i don't know why. this is the definition of insanity. i think the white house is going to ignore the brinkmanship knowing that they will ultimately cave as they have every time in the past. the american public is not interested in playing games with the full faith and credit of the united states. >> let's turn now to voting rights. democratic lawmakers remain in washington begging congress to act on federal election standards to stop voter suppression. their governor has called another special session that began just hours ago. tim, is congress going to take these texas legislators and the voting rights they're fighting for stuck? >> look, i hope so, rev. here's one thing that would be my message to chuck schumer and
democrats in congress, which is, you know, they need to figure out what is -- what is the art of the possible here? what can they get passed? there are going to be reasonable voting rights reforms and voting rights protections that you can get the mitt romneys of the world on board for, lisa murkowski for or manchin enough to change the filibuster. what i worry about is you have texas democrats and activists doing the lord's work out there fighting for this. and then you have a bunch of politicians who are saying, well, we need to figure out how to get to 60 votes but not willing to make any sacrifices to get there. and so i worry that's a recipe for nothing happening between 2022. i think they need to figure out what is possible, what can they get manchin and romney, et cetera on board for. that might not be anything activists want and activists should push for more. right now i'm not seeing any
practical momentum on voting rights in the way we've seen it on infrastructure and that's concerning. >> as we talk with them, as you know, we met with them, martin luther king iii and i met with them a couple weeks ago. they can't even come up -- i'm talking about members of the senate -- on why they cannot put something on the table that can be -- that can pass. dana, you had a new neighbor on "the washington post" opinion page this week, the attorney general himself, merrick garland. he wrote to urge congress to act to protect voting rights. he outlined the history of the voting rights act and the gutting of the pre-clearance measure by the supreme court in 2013 by clearing the standard that the justice department has to have pre-clearance, and by taking that away, not having the justice department having enough tools remaining to stop voting
suppression. will garland's voice finally be the one to tip the scales for the senate holdouts in your opinion? >> i'd certainly hope so, reverend. the issue is far from dead. we haven't seen enough pressure out there from the biden administration on this. look, h.r. 1 is dead. that was a huge omnibus piece of legislation, manchin and others weren't going to go for it. but we know what they are going to go for, and that is the john lewis voting rights act which is restoring the civil rights act and just common sense things so we cannot have the kind of abuses that are going on in texas that we've seen in georgia. so it's very clear that at least all 50 democrats are on board, and i think they're going to need to see if they can get those ten republicans, and if they can't, this is the issue where they're going to need to revisit the filibuster.
but seems to me they at least have to get out there and have some test votes on the most basic protections of voting rights. and i think that's what chuck schumer's got to be doing now. >> well, if they can't go deal with the filibuster on this issue, it's fundamental to what american democracy is supposed to be about, i don't know what will. as we keep rallying and marching, some even in congress being arrested, i don't know what will make them deal with this. but we're going to stay on it. dana, you wrote an opinion piece in the "post" this week comparing right-wing lies about the january 6th insurrection to the lost cause mythology that emerged in the south following civil war. those post-confederate myths existed for nearly two centuries. what can we expect if we allow a similar narrative to take hold about the january coup d'état
attempt? >> well, the confederacy lost the war but won the narrative, and that was the justification for jim crow and segregation and the white supremacy we see today. if they are allowed to create the narrative that this was, you know, a tourist event, that these were martyrs, that they were the ones standings for the country and the constitution, you know what's going to happen is that will become a dress rehearsal for the real thing. they're going to come back and do it, but they're going to do it better, they're going to be better armed or attack in some other o ways. that's why the rest of us who still believe in democracy in this country need to call them what they are. they are terrorists. they committed sedition. they attempted a coup to overthrow the will of the people in the united states and we cannot let them sanitize this. >> final question to tim. i want to turn briefly to the misinformation being spread by some republicans about democrats. here's what missouri republican
senate candidate mark mcchlowski had to say about congresswoman cori bush said this week, simply for her support for an extension of the eviction moratorium. watch this. >> you know, the problem with these people, particularly cori bush, she's a communist. >> now, this is the same man who rose to notoriety for pointing a gun at peaceful black lives matter protesters. last summer this happened. do you think his lies will be effective? and are we going back to the 1950s red scare tactics? >> you know, he's kind of a hack, rev, so i don't know if we're going back to the 1950s, but i'm deeply concerned about these senate races and the republican candidates coming forth. if you thought the last batch was bad, if you look at what's coming up in 2022, everyone has
learned the lesson from donald trump and is using his tactics. i wrote about the missouri senate race this week and the supposedly mainstream candidate attorney general eric schmidt had an opening ad that was doing all the things dana was just talking about. it was a total lost cause, just completely brainwashing of what happened on january 6th. his ad bragged about the fact that he tried to take away the votes, the legal votes of people in other states, and he's supposedly the mainstream candidate. mccloskey and these clowns are to the right of him. that is, you know, what's on the table in missouri. so i do think it's important to watch what's happening in these races and i'm concerned about what kinds of candidates we'll be seeing on the right. they're going to be even more extreme than current batch we got. >> i have to leave it there. david milbank and tim miller, thank you for being on. coming up, ohio democratic congressional nominee shontel
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tune in tomorrow when i go one-on-one with kathleen saabilas to find out what needs to be done against this latest wave of covid. later today with covid cases and hospitalizations on the rise in arkansas, two moms are in arkansas launching a legal challenge to the state's mask mandate and state mask mandate ban. my colleague, alicia menendez, will speak to them next hour. still ahead on "politicsnation," my interview with the winner of the ohio race
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nina turner, a former state senator and cochair of bernie sanders' 2020 presidential campaign. she beat her by a six-point margin. the congressional seat in a majority-blue district was up for grabs after marcia punch the was selected by president biden to become hud secretary. joining me now is ohio congressional candidate, democrat shontel brown. thank you for being with us again. you won against a competitor who has been considered one of the faces of the progressive wing of the democratic party. during your race you used your platform at times to stay close to president biden and the more, quote, moderate leaders of the democratic party. while nina turner
campaigned with bernie sanders and other
progressives. what does your win tell us about where the future of the democratic party lies and what voters want in ohio? there's been a lot said about your win, eric adams' win in the democratic candidacy for mayor of new york. in your opinion, is that being overblown? is it something else? what does your win mean? >> so, first of all, reverend al, thank you for having me on your show. i'm a big fan. but i think this win says a lot of different things. first and foremost, i've never really ascribed to labels. when i'm helping people get their needs met, when someone calls me and says, shontel, how can i get my hands on a ppe loan, or when is the next food bank or how can i get rental assistance, they never end the
call with, by the way, are you a
moderate or progress? people want results delivered to them. that's what i focused on this campaign. the national narrative certainly took a life of its own, but this was a local race. the people that live in the 11th congressional district got to decide who was going to represent them. and so i've been here in the community for nine consecutive years as a legislator working with other legislators in the district. so before this got all of the national attention, i had earned the support of well over 100 local elected officials, reverend al. so that says something right there. long before that came, i also had the support of over 50 prominent faith-based leaders in both the jewish and black community, so that says something. and then the other thing that i had going for me was union support and the business community because i've been hyperfocused on delivering results and concentrating on issues and not so focused on titles or labels. >> yeah.
i tell you, i was surprised. national action network is certainly nonpartisan, but some people there were early supporters of you that are progressive. but early in the campaign, mrs. turner was the front-runner slated to win this race with early polling suggesting that it was her victory to lose. what did your campaign do to change that? >> again, if all politics is local, i'm as local as it gets. we start our path to victory through all those early endorsers. we expected the national story to come, but we knew that was a local race. having the support of city council members, local city council members, school board members, precinct committee folks, that was our path to victory. but i will say getting the attention and support of someone like hillary clinton certainly reshaped the narrative and got a lot of national support. after that, the ball just
started rolling with clyburn also endorsing, the aft and teamsters came on board. but let the record reflect we always saw a path to victory. i say this as humbly as i can, i never got into this race to do anything other than winning. i have six wins under my belt, and lord willing, in november this will be my seventh. anyone who knows me, seven is a number i strongly believe in. we ran with the mind-set of winning and being focused solely on the goal. >> now, let's shift and look at another part of the state. in ohio's 15th district that race there for congress, the trump-backed gop candidate, mike carey won his primary. if the former president is a
king-maker in that state, how do you think this will impact the 2022 midterms? >> oh. that's a great question. it is something that is very concerning, naturally. i think that we run -- as democrats we run with the same type of attitude that i ran with, focusing on the people and who can deliver results. i think that you can look at my race and learn a couple of things. people are tied up in negativity. they're tired of division. they're tired of being polarized. we have so much work to do and recovering from this pandemic should be everyone's highest priority, regardless whether you're a democrat or a republican. and so that is what i think we need to be focused on in 2022 because we're still battling the delta variant, right? and so making sure we continue to provide covid-19 tests that are regular, reliable, and free, making sure that the vaccine is accessible throughout communities, those are the high
priorities. making sure our communities are safe from gun violence, those are the issues that are at the heart of the people here in my community and the 11th congressional district, and clearly across the nation as the biden administration has pointed out that gun violence is a public health crisis. so we have a lot on our plate. so focusing on, again, the issues and how we can deliver results and where we can come together is what i hope to bring to d.c. when i win and i'm claiming the victory right now here, reverend sharpton, when i win in november. >> last question. ohio is a battleground state in the 2022 midterms. gop senator rob portman announced he will not be running for re-election, leaving his seat up for grabs. it is also worth mentioning that former president trump won ohio in the 2016 race and in 2020. so briefly, please, where do you see ohio heading come next year at the ballot box? >> we got a lot of work to do,
clearly, reverend al. you know, when i see is, again, being focused on the issues, going into those communities that have often been taken for granted. we can't leave anything on the table. we have to go in those areas where they are red. senator sherrod brown is a of h. he leaves nothing on the table. he focuses on the kitchen table these issues and on our working class and our middle class so that's what we have to do. we can't leave anybody out. we can't anything for granted. i see us being competitive, shoutout to congressman tim ryan who has thrown his name in that hat to run on the death penaltyic side of that seat. so i'll be doing the things that know how to do to make sheer we get to a place called victory. what i am clear about it will take a lot of hard work and i've never been scared of hard work, reverend al, so thank you. >> thank you shontel brown for being with us. my final thoughts up next. stay with us.
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they deserve better. yesterday was the 56th anniversary of the signing of the voting rights act by president lyndon baines johnson, but johnson didn't lead the movement that led to the voting rights act being passed, no, it was amelia boykin and john lewis and foot soldiers that marched all over the south, the mississippi project and others that forced the congress and the senate to pass a bill that lyndon johnson signed. that is why if we are going to get the senate bill 1 passed and the john lewis bill passed that will put teeth into the viting rights act it will not come from the white house down, it will come from the people up. that is why we're having this national voter rights march august 28th in washington, d.c.
martin luther king iii and i are calling for that you should come. you should register at www.nationalactionnetwork.net. we lost a great ally this week, richard trumka whose last public appearance was around voting rights. he worked shoulder to shoulder with us for many years in the civil rights movement. he was one of the first guests i had on "politics nation." he will be missed but he'll expect us to be present to fight for voting rights. we'll be right back. ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service.
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that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for another live hour of "politicking nation." my colleague alicia menendez picks it up. hello, i'm alicia menendez. we begin with breaking news on capitol hill. a key part of president joe biden's build back better initiative close to crossing the finish line. right now the senate is spending a second weekend hammering out final touches on a bipartisan infrastructure deal. today the senate voted 67-27 to invoke cloture which essentially ends debate on the massive bill and paves the way for final consideration. but the timing of