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What’s Going on Up There?

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July 17, 2021 1:36 p.m.

I’ve written repeatedly over recent months about the politics of opacity in the Biden era. The debates that are in public are largely performative. The consequential conversations are among Senate Democrats and between Senate Democrats and the Biden White House. They are necessarily confidential and private. People who follow politics closely and feel deeply invested in the outcomes find themselves asked to take things on faith. Why didn’t they get to Wednesday’s milestone in April rather than the middle of summer? Why are Democrats still trying to find bipartisan ‘deals’ Republicans will always renege on.

I wanted to have a conversation with someone up there who can walk us through, at least in general terms, just how all this stuff is working and why it works that way. So yesterday we hosted an Inside Briefing with Sen. Brian Schatz (D) of Hawaii. We talked about all these questions and it provided a lot of helpful context to understand why these work as they do even if you don’t think it’s a good way for them to work. I learned a lot from it and I think you will too.

If you’re a member, you can watch our discussion after the jump.

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