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He could not possibly be better at this


Trump issuing a not-exactly-a-veto threat with no particular leverage is the kind of negotiating tactic that impresses would-be pundits on twitter dot com, and in practice went as well as could have been expected:

But while Mr. Trump’s decision to sign the bill avoided the calamity of a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic that is killing more than 1,000 Americans a day, even Republicans struggled to understand how his veto threat accomplished much that was positive for the president or his party.

On a practical level, he got very little.

In a statement released after he signed the legislation, Mr. Trump asserted that he was “demanding many rescissions,” a technical term for requests by a president for Congress to allow the administration to cut spending that it determines is no longer necessary.

But as Mr. Trump found out when he tried a similar tactic in 2018, it works only if a president can muster bipartisan support. (That year, several Republicans in the Senate voted against a $15 billion rescission request by Mr. Trump.)

On Sunday, Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, made it clear that the president’s effort would not succeed.

“The House Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over rescissions, and our Democratic majority will reject any rescissions submitted by President Trump,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Trump said the House and Senate “have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place” in the 2020 election. In fact, the Democratic-run House is certain to ignore that charge. And even in the Senate, there is little appetite to join the president’s voter fraud crusade.

Republican leadership urged senators this month on a private call to accept the results of the election and not to join an effort spearheaded by some House Republicans to overturn them.

And Congress is unlikely to embrace Mr. Trump’s call to eliminate protections for social media companies. He has argued without evidence that Section 230 enables websites to censor conservative views, but data shows that conservative personalities and publishers often thrive online.

While the concerns about Section 230 are bipartisan, it is unlikely that lawmakers could reach an agreement on the issue within the next week. Mr. Trump and his allies have yet to find substantial common ground with Democrats who primarily want changes addressing discriminatory advertising or terrorist content online.

Politically, the president’s veto threats served only to put his Republican allies in the House and Senate on the hot seat.

Given the overwhelming popularity of $2,000 checks and the upcoming Senate runoffs, Trump but Senate Republicans and a brutal position, and Bernie is playing this one beautifully:

Sen. Bernie Sanders will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto unless the Senate holds a vote on providing $2,000 direct payments to Americans.

“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said in an interview on Monday night. The Vermont independent can’t ultimately stop the veto override vote, but he can delay it until New Year’s Day and make things more difficult for the GOP.

The House passed the payment boost sought by Trump and Democratic leaders on Monday evening, and Trump said the Senate has agreed to “start the process” on a stimulus checks vote when he signed the $900 billion relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to address the timing of such a vote.

Under Senate rules, Sanders has the ability to keep the chamber in during the holiday week and likely mess with the campaign schedules of Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). Those two face Jan. 5 runoff races for control of the Senate against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who are both campaigning on the $2,000 checks.

Keep the heat on, and hope Trump keeps undermining the Insider Trading Duo.

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