Collins said Democrats surprise deal could sink same-sex marriage bill

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says Democrats’ surprise deal on $430B climate and prescription drug bill could SINK the bid to codify same-sex marriage

  • Sen. Susan Collins said the Democrats’ surprise deal to revive parts of Build Back Better may have doomed GOP support to codify gay marriage 
  • ‘I think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,’ Collins told HuffPost
  • She was referring to Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Wednesday announcement on a $430 billion reconciliation bill 
  • Democrats waited to announce the deal until after the CHIPS bill passed, which includes climate, prescription drug and tax provisions
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously said he would derail CHIPs if Democrats resurrected a Build Back Better reconciliation bill 
  • Collins called it a ‘very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way’ 

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Democrats‘ surprise deal to revive parts of President Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better plan may have doomed Republican support to codify gay marriage. 

‘I think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,’ Collins told HuffPost, referring to Wednesday’s announcement that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin had agreed on a $430 billion reconciliaiton bill, which included a number of healthcare, climate and tax provisions. 

The announcement came in the hours after the Senate passed the CHIPS Act, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had threatened to derail if Democrats tried to bring Build Back Better back. 

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Democrats' surprise deal to revive parts of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan may have doomed Republican support to codify gay marriage

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Democrats’ surprise deal to revive parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan may have doomed Republican support to codify gay marriage

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Sen. Joe Manchin

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin shocked Republicans by outmaneuvering them – waiting for the bipartisan CHIPS bill to pass before announcing they had resurrected parts of Build Back Better 

Republicans were blindsided, as press reports suggested that negotiations between Manchin and Schumer had soured. 

‘After we just had worked together successfully on gun safety legislation, on the CHIPs bill, it was a very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way,’ Collins said. 

Among those bipartisan efforts was an effort to find 10 Republican senators to break the filibuster on a House-passed bill that would legalize same-sex marriage nationally. 

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overruled 49 years of precedent throwing abortion laws back to the states, LGBTQ+ advocates feared gay marriage could be next. 

The Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalized gay marriage was based on the same ‘right to privacy’ justices had used to justify legalizing abortion in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. 

In a concurring Dobbs opinion, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the same rationale that the court used to overrule Roe should be used on cases involving contraception, same-sex sexual relations and same-sex marriage. 

Since last month’s dissolution of federal abortion rights, Democrats in Congress have worked to pass legislation protecting a woman’s right to choose, access to contraception and gay marriage. 

The Senate looked on track to possibly pass a the House’s gay marriage bill with four moderate Republicans saying they’d vote in favor of it: Collins, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. 

A fifth, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson – who is facing a tough re-election fight in a state that voted for Biden – said he wouldn’t block it. 

But with Republicans shocked that Democrats for once out-maneuvered them, it’s unclear if there would be five additional GOP votes.  

HuffPost asked Collins if she thought the bill would have to wait for the fall – as the Senate is about to go on its traditional August recess. 

‘I don’t know and I’m going to continue to work for support for the bill,’ the Maine Republican said.  

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