Governor John Bel Edwards joins Bipartisan Council of U.S. Governors

Written by Jesse Coates, Contributor

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, along with 8 other state governors, has been handpicked by President Biden to form a bi-partisan Council of Governors. The council is tasked to discuss homeland security and coordinate state-federal response to events which pose a threat to the nation, natural or otherwise.

The other members of this Council include Tim Waltz (Mi-D), Mike DeWine (Oh-R) as its Co-Chairs along with John Carney (Delaware), Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Spencer Cox (Utah), Phil Scott (Vermont), and Mark Gordon (Wyoming). Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee was previously a member who was appointed by Trump to serve until 2022.

“It is an honor to join my fellow governors in serving as a critical
link between the states and the federal government, especially as we face important issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, improving our
physical and cyber infrastructure, and addressing the ongoing climate
crisis, among other things. As has been made apparent over the past 16 months, the nation’s governors are at the forefront of handling many emerging threats and crises, and I applaud the White House’s
commitment to clear, transparent communication with the states and
incorporating the concerns of governors in the country’s response and resilience strategies. When government agencies at all levels work together, all of our people benefit.”

Governor John Bel Edwards, https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/3262

President Biden intended an even split of party occupancy in the council, though as of now there are currently five Democrats and four Republicans, as a part of one of his big campaign promises to restore the division sown by Trump during his presidency.

“We need to revive the spirit of bipartisanship in this country. I know that sounds bizarre in light of where we are. The spirit of being able to work with one another.
When I say that, and I said that from the time I announced, I was told that, ‘Maybe that the way things
used to work, Joe, you got a lot done before Joe, but you can’t do that anymore.’ Well, I’m here to tell you and say we can, and we must, if we’re going to get anything done. Democracy requires consensus. I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. There will be no blue states and red states with me. It’s one America. I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans.”

President Joe Biden, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/06/24/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-deal/

Over time, He elaborated further suggesting we need to “go together and get this figured out.” and in absence of Trump’s vindictiveness, it’s guaranteed that between 4 to 8
republicans will being willing to openly cooperate with us, which then evolved into everyone has a choice to make. This is the difference between ‘I promise’ and ‘it isn’t in my
hands’.

The Myth of Bipartisanship

First of all, there are more parties than two and the term ‘bipartisanship’ puts absolute focus on the two major parties, so we tend to forget others exist or find it pointless to register as anything else. So even when we had “bipartisanship”, it still wouldn’t accommodate the full spectrum of political ideals. I’ve always hated that term. It makes the duopolous party system sound practical. It never was.

It’s vital that we do find a bottom-line consensus where we include everyone possible at the table. We all have a vision of how the country should be ran and finding the closest middle ground is a big step to attaining any semblance of stability. It is impossible to split the country in enough ways to give everyone their utopia and we really don’t need that many dictators and autocrats. Democracy is supposed to be everyone pulling at the rope with nobody getting their way entirely. That’s sort of what’s happening, except there’s a giant wall sitting on the rope and republicans won’t lift it until they have more pull or we have less resistance.

Bipartisanship is impossible when there is an absolute refusal to compromise or have a good-faith discussion to reach an agreement on any proposal put forth. What we have now is a congress in limbo. Minority leader Mitch McConnell openly expressed his intent to “stop this administration”. Something he parroted during the Obama era as well. Republicans have a strategy that they continue to shamelessly and transparently speak of, recently so by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas claimed at a Patriot’s Voices event that his party wants “18 more months of chaos and nothing being done.”

Abusing the filibuster rule allows them to indefinitely “discuss” the provisions until it simply gets shut down when they fail to reach the 60 vote threshold. Where they once stood for hours discussing it on the floor, now it’s just Ted Cruz reading “Green Eggs and Ham”. H.R.1 (For the People Act) is constantly dead on arrival upon reaching the senate floor, as well as the Jan. 6th commission and a number of others, 15 in total which is all cited
here.

The nuclear option, or eliminating/revising the filibuster, only needs the senate majority which is being blocked by all republicans and two democrats Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema.

H.R.1 is required to lift the widespread voting restrictions and prevent further gerrymandering, allowing the states to redraw districts to the advantage of partisan interest. Republicans in Washington and in the states recently discussed utilizing the census data to do what they call “cracking cities” in order to split heavy populated republican cities into separate districts. Doing so will allow for more congressional seats, improving their chances of winning in the 2022 midterms.

No nuclear option means no H.R.1 or any other passing bill that would noticeably benefit the public. If the administration, more specifically a Democratic-controlled government, appears ineffective, Republicans can further improve the odds of winning in the midterms.

The American Cares Act, forced through reconciliation, was a big win for many families who needed the assistance dearly along with the success of the $1.2T infrastructure bill that passed, falling short $.8T of the initial proposal, under the conditions that it doesn’t use the 2017 corporate tax cuts put forth by the republicans to pay for it. That proposed infrastructure bill cuts out many provisions unrelated to infrastructure in a “traditional” sense, only funding things such as roads, bridges, public transport, etc. as opposed to investing in cities to invest in domestic businesses to decrease outsourced jobs and other more abstract yet noticeable improvements.

Ultimately, more needs to be done, and it won’t be through bipartisanship. A few political analysts suggest not trying to push for progressive policies and sticking with the promise of working across the aisle but there’s a red wall in the way and they plan to keep it there hoping to win the midterms and maybe even the next presidential election. Mitch McConnell said himself “the time for bipartisanship is over” and as long as that remains the right’s position, that is the case.

Jesse Coates
Contributor

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