The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: marco rubio

Rubio Says Trump Absconding With Top Secret Documents ’Is Not A Crime’

In a rare Fox News moment, host Bret Baier reported that many are concerned about the lack of Republican “alarm” over Donald Trump absconding with at least 15 cartons of documents and other items, some of which were classified, or even “top secret” classified, and storing them in his suite at Mar-a-Lago, compared to the massive coverage the media gave the Hillary Clinton email story.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is the Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, and also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, responded by saying “it’s not a crime” to break federal law – the Presidential Records Act of 1978, in this case, by removing the documents or flushing them down the toilet.

It seems odd that the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee would be unaware of federal laws about retention of presidential documents, especially handling of classified and top-secret national security documents.

The Florida Republican also suggested Trump had turned over all the missing documents, which is false.

Rubio began by claiming he doesn’t know what’s true because “they” have made up so many stories about Trump “over the years.”

He goes on to suggest, apparently erroneously, that Hillary Clinton’s treatment of classified documents was pleaded in a federal court case.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

GOP Bill Would Revive Boss-Dominated ‘Company Unions’

Congressional Republicans are proposing a bill they claim would improve "teamwork" between workers and management. In reality, it would allow businesses to bring back the "company unions" used in the 1920s and 1930s to prevent workers from achieving meaningful gains.

Last Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 2022, a bill "to enable an employer or employees to establish an employee involvement organization to represent the interests of employees." Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and 12 GOP colleagues filed the same bill in the House.

In a February 3 press release, Rubio and Banks claimed the bill "would provide workers seeking to organize with an alternative to unionization that allows both workers and managers to work together, without fearing heavy-handed legal action or bureaucratic meddling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)," and noted that it is supported by "conservative labor experts."

Rubio said the bill would help protect companies from having to negotiate with their employees "by creating a pro-worker alternative to unions, which are notoriously left-wing and almost always pit workers against management, only worsening the workplace environment."

Banks claimed the bill would allow workers' voices to be heard without having to embrace "the left's woke agenda."

Labor unions have strongly opposed so-called "company unions," arguing that they allow businesses to run roughshod over their workers.

According to an issue brief by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, "In the 1920s and 1930s, large numbers of employers established management-dominated employee organizations — known as 'company unions' — to thwart the efforts of workers to form their own independent unions."

In 1935, Congress stepped in, passing the National Labor Relations Act. Section 8(a)(2) of that law made it illegal for a business "to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it."

The new bill would eliminate those protections, making it possible for employers to "establish, assist, maintain, or participate in an employee involvement organization" where employees and supervisors "address matters of mutual interest, including issues of quality of work, productivity, efficiency, compensation, benefits (including related to education and training), recruitment and retention, grievances, child care, safety and health, and accommodation of the religious beliefs and practices of employees."

A 1995 AFL-CIO executive council statement warned that without the National Labor Relations Act's protections, "non-union employers would be free to create phony employee organizations and fake employee committees and handpick the 'leaders' of these organizations. Employers would then be free to deal with these management-anointed 'representatives' as if they were the real voice of the employees."

They also noted that, even in unionized workplaces, companies could "create, fund, and deal with a rival, company-controlled entity" to undermine the existing union and destabilize its collective bargaining efforts.

At that time, Republicans in Congress were pushing a nearly identical effort. The original Teamwork Act, authored by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-WI) was passed by the GOP-run House in September 1995 and Senate in July 1996 — mostly along party lines.

President Bill Clinton stopped their bill with a veto, writing, "Rather than encouraging true workplace cooperation, this bill would abolish protections that ensure independent and democratic representation in the workplace. True cooperative efforts must be based on true partnerships."

Rubio and Banks said their new bill is "modeled off" of Gunderson's proposal.

Since the 1996 effort failed, Republicans have largely backed off the idea. But now that the Democratic majority in Congress is trying to expand labor rights through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and through the Build Back Better framework, these 14 GOP lawmakers are trying to undermine unions.

The House bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Rick Allen (GA), Brian Babin (TX), Tom Cole (OK), Byron Donalds (UFL), Mike Garcia (CA), Ronny Jackson (TX), Tracey Mann (KS), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), David Rouzer (NC), Austin Scott (GA), and Claudia Tenney (NY).

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Lethal Lie: Distorting Data, Republicans Insist Covid Only Kills Very Sick

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans have settled on a position that seems just a smidge incredible: There is no pandemic. Downplaying the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease that it generates has been standard Republican operating procedure since Donald Trump insisted that cases would soon be “down to zero” and that COVID-19 would go away “like magic.” But at this point, with 860,000 dead Americans and over 5.5 million lives lost around the world, in the midst of a wave of disease sending record numbers to hospitals, pandemic denial seems like something that should be impossible.

It’s not. Republicans have returned to the idea that people are just, you know, dying. And that COVID-19 has nothing to do with it.

It’s another trip through irresponsibility, delusion, and jackassery that started with a badly edited interview, passed through a now deleted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweet, and spawned a million gloating I-told-you-so claims on Facebook. Since then other Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have doubled down on the claim, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) is proceeding at warp nine into conspiracy space.

Like so many of the claims during the last five years, this one started from a misunderstanding, then pivoted to a deliberate lie. It can be fully expected to become the accepted “truth” for Republicans moving forward. Here’s the three-step process into how “not from COVID-19, but with COVID-19” became the new Republican baseline.

Step 1: ABC makes a criminally bad edit of an already bad interview

To say that Rochelle Walensky’s brief term as director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been marked by poor communication is something of an understatement. Communicating with dolphins is only slightly less frustrating.

It’s not so much that the CDC has been wrong, but under Walensky the agency has issued unnecessary guidance that includes caveats and details almost certain to be steamrolled into a mush of confusion. For example, the idea that people who were asymptomatic but who tested positive for COVID-19 could cease self-isolation after five days if they continued to wear a mask. This was predictably turned into “CDC cuts COVID-19 quarantine to five days” by the media within 30 seconds of its issuance.

But perhaps no single statement has done more damage the CDC’s reputation than an interview on ABC News. In that interview, Walensky was asked about the results of a new study showing that vaccines were very effective in preventing severe illness. Here’s her response as it appeared on ABC News.

Walensky: “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of omicron. This means not just to get your primary series, but to get your booster, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

There were any number of reasons to be upset by this statement. For one thing, Walensky appears to be not just brushing off people with long-term illness or conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, but actually gloating about how deaths are restricted to people who were “unwell to begin with.” Disability advocates—and a lot of people who suffer from issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure—were justifiably outraged.

However, it turns out that ABC made an absolutely egregious edit. This was Walensky’s actual reply to the question about the study.

Walensky: “You know, really important study, if I may just summarize it. A study of 1.2 million people who were vaccinated between December and October, and demonstrated that severe disease occurred in about 0.015 percent of the people who received their primary series. And death in 0.003 percent of those people. The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of omicron. This means not just to get your primary series, but to get your booster, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

All of that went on the cutting room floor at ABC. Clearly, what Walensky was actually addressing was the results of a single study, a study that showed just how tremendously effective the vaccines really are.

However, the complaints of disability advocates remain absolutely valid, because there was no reason for Walensky to characterize the extremely low number of deaths found in this study in the way she did. It added no value to her response. In fact, by answering in this way, Walensky greatly undercut the point that she was trying to make. That point was not “only sick people died” but “vaccines are tremendously effective.” Walensky’s response remains a masterclass in awful.

But ABC’s editing made everything 1,000 times worse, and queued up exactly what came next.

Step 2: Context gets shredded by the RNC

Those watching the ABC interview might still have picked up on the fact that Walensky’s statement, no matter how mangled, was characterizing only vaccinated individuals in one study. But when those words hit social media, context went out the window. As far as the Internet was concerned, this was the beginning and the end of what Walensky had to say.

Granted, that kind of sentence or even phrase-level cherry-picking has been standard RNC practice for years, but ABC really helped them out by dropping all context from Walensky’s reply. As a result, social media soon flooded with Republicans claiming that 75 percent of all the people who have died from COVID-19 have been people who were very unwell to begin with. That prompted, including other things, this now-deleted Cruz tweet.

Now deleted Ted Cruz tweet claiming that most people who died from COVID, didn

Step 3: Double-down and carry on

Cruz may have backed away from that tweet after the editing fingers of both the RNC and ABC were made clear, but don’t expect him to stay backed up. Since that initial post, the RNC has doubled down. And tripled down. In their latest tweet, they’re back to the language that Republicans used in the opening days of the pandemic as deaths began to pile up across the country. People didn’t die from COVID-19, says the RNC. They’re just sick people who happened to die with COVID-19.

Rubio then took this to the next logical step with a claim that the thousands of people being hospitalized during the Omicron spike aren’t being hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Except that as the article makes clear, there are 145,982 people hospitalized in U.S. from COVID-19. Not from “reasons unrelated to COVID.” There’s absolutely nothing in the article cited, or in any other source, to back up Rubio’s statement.

It doesn’t matter, because the Republican Party has only one reaction to being found wrong on any point: tactical extremism. Rather than admit the claims about people dying from COVID-19 are the results of a series of bad, out of context edits, expect Republicans to harden on this position as a baseline. Expect renewed claims that the CDC is greatly exaggerating the threat of COVID-19, as well as more of those videos where people invade their local hospital to “prove” that there’s no wave of COVID-19 patients.

Expect more resistance to vaccination. Expect more denial of reason. Expect more deaths.

All brought to you by the modern Republican Party, the best friend a virus ever had.

Why Senate Republicans Have A Raging DeSantis Problem

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The politics of Florida's raging COVID-19 outbreak under the bankrupt stewardship of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis are proving to be particularly challenging for Senate Republicans.

Not only has DeSantis become the poster boy for dooming his constituents in service of political gain, but the southern swing state is also home to a dissonant mix of political interests as next year's midterms approach.

Read Now Show less

Spooked By Negative Polls, Republican Politicians Now Push Vaccination

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Vaccinated Americans are pretty damn upset about the lagging vaccination rates—mainly among white GOP voters—that have led to a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, particularly in red states.

Now Senate Republicans want Americans to know who to blame for the low vaccination rates of GOP voters: Democrats.

In case you missed it, Republicans are now pro-vaccine, and the sudden surge of the Delta variant is all President Joe Biden's fault. At least, that's the bridge Senate Republicans and some GOP governors are selling.

Before we go any further, let's be clear about what the GOP's latest gaslighting effort represents: an all-hands-on-deck clean-up on aisle COVID-19.

"When it comes to COVID, there should only be one message to the American people and that should be: Vaccines work," Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told reporters Tuesday in the ultimate Johnny-come-lately of pandemic statements. Barrasso then went on to accuse the White House and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of "medical malpractice" for having chaotic messages on masking, lockdowns, and other coronavirus mitigation efforts. Never mind the fact that the red-state surge is what has landed the country back in masking territory.

Now that Republicans have driven the country back into a COVID-19 ditch, they're planting the keys on President Joe Biden. Indeed, anti-masker and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pinning the Sunshine State's deadly outbreak on Biden's border policies. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is suddenly a huge promoter of "VACCINATIONS!" And Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who's 'perplexed' by the vaccine hesitancy mostly coursing through red America—is now funding radio ads urging residents of Kentucky to get vaccinated. Just eight of the state's more than 120 counties have reported vaccination rates above 50 percent, according to recent CDC data.

Here's one thing we can all be assured of: Mitch McConnell doesn't lavish campaign funds on public health for the sake of public health. His campaign expenditure is a sure sign that Republicans—particularly those in swing states and swing districts—don't like what they are seeing in the polling.

In fact, a newly released Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index is offering a window into the motivations behind the GOP's latest blame-shifting campaign. Of the roughly 70 percent of vaccinated Americans, nearly eight in 10 blame unvaccinated Americans for the latest wave of infections. Beyond faulting the unvaccinated, 36 percent of those who are vaccinated blame Donald Trump, 33 percent blame conservative media, and 30 percent blame people from other countries traveling to the United States. In other words, the vaccinated among us overwhelmingly blame Republicans, Trump, and right-wing media for erasing the gains made by the Biden administration's speedy vaccination program. That's exactly why Republicans are so desperate to recast Biden as responsible for the delta uptick.

Congressional Democrats are reportedly seeing something similar in their own polling, according to Washington Post's Greg Sargent. Internal polling by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has shown that "56 percent of likely voters in four dozen battleground districts have serious doubts about Republicans after hearing that they are spreading lies about vaccines to further conspiracy theories." The DCCC is now pushing its candidates to emphasize Republican disinformation on both the vaccine and the January 6 insurrection at their campaign events. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been offering a master class in how to highlight the radicalization of the Republican Party.

The vaccine message is also a natural for Democrats since the public widely trusts Democrats over Republicans on health care issues. The fact that Republicans are now trying flip public perception of GOP extremism on a public health issue is also telling—they simply cannot afford to chart a new course on the Jan. 6 insurrection, since many of their voters now support the terrorist siege and most adamantly believe the election was stolen from Trump.

But Republicans will have to stage a massive cover-up in order to retroactively recast themselves as part of the solution on taming COVID-19 spread. Rewriting history would be a cinch among Trump cultists and avid Fox News watchers. But the people Republicans need to convince of their rationality are actually rational people—those who still believe in facts and science and might be willing to vote Republican if the party wasn't overrun by extremists.

That's going to be a much tougher sell after congressional Republicans led the charge in sowing doubt and confusion about the vaccines. Republicans comparing the White House vaccination campaign to tactics used by the Nazis wasn't exactly helpful. Neither was Republicans smearing localized vaccination campaigns as "door-to-door" spying. Some Republicans hyped the idea that President Biden's vaccination effort was really a ploy to raid people's homes for their Bibles and guns.

As of mid-May, 100 percent of congressional Democrats reported being vaccinated while a meager 45 percent of House Republicans said they had gotten the shot. And last week, House Republicans spent much of the week railing against mask mandates in the lower chamber—even as their own caucus poses a primary threat to the health of everyone else in the Capitol.

Whatever whopper congressional Republicans and GOP governors are trying to sell now, they carried the mantle on hamstringing Biden's extraordinary vaccination push. Based on the polling, vaccinated Americans seem to both know that and resent it.

Republicans Stirring Up Ugly Smears -- And Lethal Hatred -- Against Fauci

Days after thousands of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci became public through a series of FOIA requests, Republicans are using portions of those emails—out of context—to ramp up attacks on the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Those emails are being conflated with a series of media-hyped articles about the origins of COVID-19, and the result is a genuinely toxic stew that is being used by Republicans ranging from Josh Hawley to Donald Trump Jr. as a way to stir up hate and rake in cash.

For those not neck deep in OAN, Newsmax, or Fox News, it may be hard to fathom just how much those channels have become a 24/7 assault on the 80-year-old doctor, or how hard they have been pushing the "lab escape" theory as "proof" that the NIAID director is somehow responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these outlets are in heavy rotation with the idea that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab, operated by a friend of Dr. Fauci, that Fauci helped China in covering up that origin, and that this somehow absolves Donald Trump of all responsibility in 900,000 American deaths.

And that's the lightweight version. The version being pushed by multiple "guests" and "experts" appearing on these programs is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was deliberately engineered to infect people as part of a program that Fauci—and President Barack Obama—approved of and funded. The baseless accusations are so ugly that, even as Republicans like Hawley demand that Dr. Fauci be fired, others, like Trump Jr., are already chuckling over the idea that Dr. Fauci could be murdered.

On Friday evening, Trump Jr. showed that he isn't just expecting Dr. Fauci to be killed by the rabid Trump supporters being pushed to believe that a man who has lived his life in service to both medicine and the nation is some kind of monster. No, Junior is ready to celebrate that murder. In an Instagram post, Trump Jr. posted an image saying "I'm just going to jump ahead on this, and said I don't think Fauci killed himself." Those words were pasted over a smiling image of the odious and sadistic slave owner Calvin Candie from the film Django Unchained.

Sen. Rand Paul started the latest edition of the smear train on Thursday when he issued a fundraising pitch insisting that Fauci "must go" and claiming that Fauci—who was forced to correct Paul over and over in Senate hearings—was "continuously and deliberately misleading the public at every turn." He provided no examples, but insisted that someone must "fire Fauci!"

On Friday, Sen. Hawley explicitly tied together vague claims about Fauci's emails, with equally vague claims about COVID-19. "Anthony Fauci's recently released emails and investigative reporting about COVID-19 origins are shocking." Exactly what in Fauci's emails Hawley found upsetting, he didn't say. But he did call for Fauci to resign, as well as "a congressional investigation" into claims that Fauci somehow covered up the pandemic's origins.

Also on Friday, Donald Trump issued a statement saying that "After seeing the emails, our Country is fortunate I didn't do what Dr. Fauci wanted me to do."

What this means is anyone's guess, but by Saturday morning Sen. Marco Rubio figured he had his marching orders, so he piled on, calling for Biden to remove Dr. Fauci. And again, Rubio's claim went directly back to the idea that Fauci "dismissed the idea that the virus could have come from a lab."

Fauci never made such a dismissal. And the "lab escape" origin of COVID-19 certainly isn't proven. But it has been getting constant fluffing from a series of articles and constant right-wing coverage, all of which features the implication that "Trump was right" about "the China virus."

The Daily Mail that Trump intends to make things even worse Saturday evening, when he makes his first appearance as a private citizen at a North Carolina rally. He's planning to make attacking Dr. Fauci the center of his tirade,

On Friday, President Biden spoke up in support of Dr. Fauci, responding to a question by saying, "Yes, I'm very confident in Dr. Fauci."

But the assault on Anthony Fauci is unrelenting and the level of ugliness demonstrated by the Trump, Jr. message is only getting worse. If Republicans have learned anything from Jan. 6, it's apparently that they really can (and do) inspire and direct deadly hate.

Republicans Warn That Opposing Racism Is A ‘Communist’ Plot

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) claimed on Tuesday that advocating for dismantling systemic racism is propaganda in service to the Communist Party of China.

On Tuesday afternoon, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote, "On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, we reflect on the fact that dismantling systemic racism is also a national security priority. The fight for racial justice at home and abroad is foundational to our future & to how the world sees us."

"This tweet is approved by the Communist Party of China," Cotton tweeted in response just minutes later.

Republicans in Congress largely ignored the anniversary of George Floyd's murder. But they have been more vocal about the supposed communist threat of anti-racist policy and education.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday argued that "social justice" is "often code for social Marxism." Rep. Matt Gaetz said just days ago that "the real threat to our nation is the Marxism and Critical Race Theory that they [the Biden administration] embraces." And Rep. Mo Brooks wrote earlier in May that "Marxism stokes division by fanning the flames of class, race, and gender resentment."

Cotton has repeatedly lashed out at efforts to address systemic racism in America.

In February, he characterized efforts by the Biden administration to address racism as "anti-American" and racist itself.

A month later, Cotton said that acknowledging the existence of racial bias in the country was "slander" against America.

Other Republicans have similarly attacked the concept of systemic racism.

Thirty Republicans in the House banded together this month to push legislation that would prevent the government from addressing racism. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), has argued that "systemic socialism" is more of a "real" problem than racism.

International rivals of the United States have tried to exploit the racial animosity in the country to their own advantage. Citing campaigns by the Russian and Chinese governments to highlight and exploit America's racial divisions, the Center for a Just Security recently noted, "America's competitors view its social division, history of racism, and domestic anti-democratic movements as a vulnerability for the country."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

‘I Haven’t Even Read It’: GOP Senators Clueless On Jan 6 Commission Bill They Oppose

This week the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill by a vote of 252-175 to establish a commission on the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. Rep. John Katko of New York, a conservative Republican, played a key role in crafting the bill, which was approved by all House Democrats and 35 Republicans.

But the bill now faces an uphill climb in the U.S. Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has come out against it. And journalist Haley Byrd Wilt, in The Dispatch, reports that most Senate Republicans appear to be joining McConnell in that opposition.

Because of the rules of the filibuster, the bill will need at least 60 "yes" votes. Democrats have a majority in the Senate, but it's a narrow one. The bill needs ten or more Republican votes to become law.

Abolishing the filibuster would make it easier to get the bill through the Senate. But while Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the Senate's most conservative Democrat, is in favor of a January 6 commission, he is opposed to ending the filibuster.

As Wilt explains: "Most Senate Republicans are opposed to the House's proposed independent commission to look into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the events leading up to it. They're just not exactly sure why."

She argued that nearly all of the arguments Republicans brought up in opposition to the committee are based on misperceptions about what the legislation actually entails:

The legislation the Senate will soon consider was negotiated by the top Democrat and top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. It's miles apart from Pelosi's first proposal. It follows closely in the footsteps of the 9/11 commission. Members would be limited to those who are not currently serving in government. The panel would be evenly divided and Democrats wouldn't be able to do much of anything without Republican support. The GOP appointees would have equal say in where the probe goes and who gets subpoenaed. These were the two main demands from Republicans, and Democrats agreed to them. It also has a December 31, 2021 deadline for a final report—ensuring it wouldn't drop in the thick of the 2022 midterm elections.
Rep. Don Bacon, one of the 35 House Republicans who bucked GOP leadership to support the commission, summarized it like this: He voted for the bill, he said, because Democrats "basically gave us what we wanted."

Ironically, some of the Republicans say they just want congressional committees to take the lead in investigating the events — even though those committees are much more unilaterally controlled by Democrats than the commission would be.

But mostly, based on the comments to The Dispatch, the Republicans in opposition just seem uninformed and uninterested in the details.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R_FL) told The Dispatch, "If you're going to turn a commission into a political partisan weapon — you know, use it to subpoena people to embarrass them, use it to want to make allegations that might prove useful in the 2022 elections — you're actually contributing to the problem. My general feeling is that if we can have a serious examination of the events leading up to, occurring, and in the aftermath of that day, we should do it."

Rubio also admitted of the legislation: "I haven't even read it," even though, as Wilt explained, it has been available since Friday, it could be easily outlined within minutes by a staffer, and has been the subject of debate for months.

Others didn't seem to get the point or the details of the legislation, either, even though previously many Republicans had endorsed the idea of the commission. The truth seems to be just that they don't want the evens to be a focus of public attention because they make the Republican Party look by. They're not interested in addressing the danger posed to American democracy.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma told The Dispatch he won't support a bill if its purpose is to "just to go after President Trump." And Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota told The Dispatch that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of voting for the bill, but he didn't sound enthusiastic about it either.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins told The Dispatch she plans to discuss the details of the bill with Democrats but said, "The concept of a commission is a good one and would help answer some unanswered questions as well as give us some lessons learned."

According to Wilt, "There's not much that could change the minds of most GOP senators [about the bill]…. Democrats would need to win over at least 10 Senate Republicans to pass the commission into law. With unified opposition from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and Trump threatening 'consequences' for those who break with the party line, that's looking unlikely."