A good news week?

 Is it somehow unAmerican to write of good news anymore?

One can’t focus on the jobs ahead without concentrating on what needs fixing.  This moment, however, I’m very happy about some recent news.

For one, the 7-day average for new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. has fallen by 40% since Sept. 1? Theories exist as to why this virus has such a cycle, but it’s still quite puzzling. Still, around the world, health care workers are getting a small break that–unless we get a new mutation like Delta–might become a lengthy one.  .

Unfortunately, Idaho didn’t follow this national trend.  Our case numbers have actually  risen over 40% since Sept. 1.  But the numbers have levelled off the past two weeks. We can hope there’s a big drop ahead for us, too.  

And we all have to be thankful that the immediate debt limit crisis was avoided. After 11 Republicans joined Democrats in stopping the boycott against debating the bill, it passed on a straight party voter. So the government will keep paying its workers and its debt holders for nearly three more months. 

This legislation only postpones debate Dec.2.  But the 2021 Congressional calendar calls for the holiday recess to start just one week later..We can hope members chose a tight schedule so negotiations will be short. They couldn’t enjoy a vacation while the economy crumbles, could they? 

And local developments do indicate that democracy is still alive and thriving. We’ve got dozens of local campaigns underway with candidates with a variety of backgrounds and views reaching out to voters and an independent redistricting commission that’s listening to voters throughout the state.   .

And the fact that members of Congress aren’t in agreement on some major issues is not the bad news some media makes it out to be.  

There’s a lot of give-and-take over two important projects–the protection of voting rights and the second infrastructure bill, aka the $3.5 trillion or Build Back Better infrastructure bill. Sure, it could end up a failure for Democrats, but many voted for Biden because of his experience brokering compromises. The President wants to see movement in the right direction, but he’ll accept baby steps if that’s the most he can get. 

The more conservative Senate Democrats unveiled a new voting rights bill about a month ago. It isn’t as comprehensive as the For the People Act passed by the House last March but it definitely is a step forward. It includes many practices that Idaho adopted long ago–same day registration, acceptance of specified picture ID cards, absentee ballots by request, restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences; and an end to partisan gerrymandering of legislative and Congressional districts. 

Idahoans can be proud of their voting laws.   

House progressives have signed on, but that still leaves the task of finding 10 Republican senators who will vote to stop a filibuster. It’s happened twice now, we can hope.  Voting reform is popular with a solid majority of voters.  

Democrats still haven’t come to agreement on an infrastructure bill. Republicans and conservative Democrats insist on not restoring some taxes on billionaires that could pay the entire amount. Instead, they’d cut programs to $2.3 or $1.5 trillion instead. 

Democrats, however, can bypass the filibuster by making this the one budget reconciliation bill they’re allowed to bring to the Senate floor this year.  .   

Everything is stewing at once–and it promises to be a healthy boost to America.  

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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