Sometimes, the answer to a problem lies directly of front of you but it’s so simple as to be unbelievable.
In order to get HR 1 enacted, one of two things have to happen: (i) eleven Republican Senators need to support it — to overturn any filibuster effort; or (ii) HR 1 has to be incorporated into a reconciliation bill that is not subject to a filibuster.
The first alternative is not going to happen. The second alternative is possible. Here’s how it can happen.
First, the Democrats have to strike the public funding of elections provisions. The Democrats are spending so much money for long-held Democratic objectives that adding public funding of elections starts out as a betrayal of any bi-partisan effort. So, Democrats should make a big deal about abandoning that goal in the interests of bi-partisanship and expressly thank Senator Joe Manchin for encouraging that approach.
Second, add a provision to the bill that provides a tax credit equal to the lesser of 1% or 1/365th of a tax-payer’s tax obligation if the tax-payer lives in a state that complies with the requirements of HR 1 and/or a tax surcharge equal to the lesser of 1% or 1/365th of a tax-payer’s tax obligation if a tax-payer lives in a state that does not comply. (A federal court determination of compliance would be dispositive.). Provisions that increase and decrease tax revenues are almost always approved by the Senate Parliamentarian as being germane to a reconciliation bill.
Politics is the art of the possible. Public funding of elections is not going to happen this year and it should not be the albatross that pulls election reform into the abyss. Ask any Democrat, from a local assembly-person to the occupant of the White House, if he or she would give up public funding of elections to get the balance of HR 1 passed. It’s a no-brainer.