NEWS AND OPINION:
A giant hunk of legislation with a big price tag is still lurking on Capitol Hill. That would be the $2.1 trillion “Build Back Better” Act which passed the House on Nov. 21 and is headed towards the Senate.
One GOP stalwart won’t take his eyes off it: House Republican Whip Steve Scalise continues to parse the 2,135-page bill. The meticulous Louisiana lawmaker has discovered yet another odd and mysterious expenditure tucked away in the legislation.
“Section 31038 allocates $85 million in grants to support the education and training of doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers to identify and address the ‘health risks associated with climate change for pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals,’” Mr. Scalise noted in an analysis released Monday.
“President Biden and House Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi are more focused on enacting their radical Green New Deal agenda instead of reducing inflation, lowering energy costs, stopping illegal immigrants from crossing our border, or fixing the supply chain crisis,” he said.
“Spending $85 million to find a connection between climate change and its impact on mothers and pregnant women is just another example of Democrats spending taxpayer money on everything but the things that matter to the American people,” Mr. Scalise noted.
The legislation offers more proof that the Democratic Party has lost touch with the public and taken political correctness to the extreme.
“This is what they’re spending your money on as you face inflation. Dems have gone so woke they can’t even use the word ‘women.’ They’re now calling mothers ‘individuals’,” the lawmaker said in a well-received tweet.
KEEP AN EYE ON INDEPENDENT VOTERS
The countdown is on for the 2022 midterm elections, now less than a year off, set for Nov. 8 next year.
A total of 469 seats in the U.S. Congress (34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) are up for grabs according to a handy count by Ballotpedia.org — a non-profit digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.
Some analysts have confidently declared that the Republican Party will do well in the midterms, citing historical precedents as well as sagging poll numbers for both the White House and the Democratic Party.
That could happen, but then again, things may change. One traditional indicator which suggests victory for either party is the sentiment of the independent voter. Support from this somewhat unpredictable voting bloc can often hold significant sway in a case election.
And at the moment, independents are heavily favoring the Republican Party. A new Economist/YouGov poll finds that 41% of independents would vote for the GOP candidate if the election were held today — compared to 24% who favored the Democratic hopeful.
See more numbers and the survey’s particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
THEY GAVE IT A SHOT
“Vaccine” has been declared the official “Word of the Year” by Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher.
In the era of COVID-19, interest in the word increased by 600% as people scrambled to look up its meaning through the publisher’s online dictionary. Vaccines loomed large over the nation throughout the year.
“The story is about much more than medicine. It was at the center of debates about personal choice, political affiliation, professional regulations, school safety, health care inequity and so much more. The biggest science event of the year quickly became the biggest political debate in our country, and the word at the center of both stories is vaccine. Few words can express so much about one moment in time,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, in a statement.
“The lookups increased dramatically in August, with the introduction of state and federal vaccine mandates. Controversy surrounding President Biden’s September executive order requiring vaccination for federal employees, news about booster recommendations, and authorization of the vaccine for children continued to fuel enormous interest in the word,” the dictionary explained in its analysis.
Other 2021 “top lookups” include “insurrection,” “infrastructure,” “perseverance” — after NASA’s “Perseverance” spacecraft landed on Mars — and “cisgender,” which had its own trajectory.
“It hit public radar in May when the word was used in a CIA recruitment video, and again in October when a student used it in a college op-ed,” the analysis said.
“Guardian“ caught public attention in July after Cleveland’s baseball team announced that “Guardians” would replace “Indians” as the team name. Interest in “meta” spiked in October after Facebook announced it was changing the company name.
“Woke” drew interest during the off-year election in November’s election, “when those on the left were labeled with the word by those on the right,” the analysis says.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Archie McPhee — a Seattle-based novelty store and mail order source — has announced that its “Emotional Support Chicken” is the most popular item of all as the holiday gift-season gets underway.
“It should come as no surprise that the Emotional Support Chicken is at the top of the list. We could all use a little support right now and this chicken delivers reassuring squawks on demand. It’s your new BFF (Best Fowl Friend),” the store advised in a statement that billed the bird as “a chicken that is always there for you.”
The 13-inch bird wears a red vest that designates it as an official Emotional Support Chicken. It is made of “superior quality vinyl that feels like plucked poultry skin.”
Find this and much more at McPhee.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 40% of U.S. adults would vote for the Republican candidate if the election for U.S. Congress was being held today: 91% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
• 40% overall wold vote for the Democratic candidate; 2% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 91% of Democrats agree.
• 2% would vote for some other candidate; 0% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.
• 13% are not sure who they would vote for; 7% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 5% of Democrats agree.
• 5% would not vote; 1% of Republicans, 8% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 20-23.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.