Let’s indulge in a moment of pure self interest: As a Vermonter you should wish for two things on the third of November. The first is that Joe Biden is elected president. The second is that the Democrats win control of the Senate. The combination could be a powerful win for Vermont; potentially unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
It’s purely circumstantial. No planning involved. No payoffs. No brains. Just luck, longevity and timing.
Let’s start with the Senate. If the Democrats take control of the Senate, and the odds are leaning in that direction, then two strong potentials loom: Sen. Patrick Leahy, 80, and the senior member of the United States Senate could take over as chair of the Appropriations Committee. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 79, could take over as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
The Appropriations Committee has legislative jurisdiction over appropriations bills, essentially the money the government doles out. The Budget Committee puts together the basic blueprint for the levels of revenue and spending the government follows.
The two are the money committees. Our two senators would have the opportunity to lead them. We’re a tiny, tiny state. Having Mr. Leahy and Mr. Sanders sensitive to our needs could be a game-changer given their roles, their responsibilities, and the opportunities.
Keep this in mind as well: should Mr. Biden win it’s expected he will spend prodigiously on the nation’s infrastructure. He will also ramp up spending to get the Covid-19 ravaged economy moving. He will be engaged on the health care front in a way that pairs nicely with Vermont’s experiment.
No matter the direction, or the programs involved, Vermont is in a privileged position. All because our two senators have seniority. Mr. Leahy is in the most privileged position of all. The Appropriations Committee is arguably the most powerful committee in the Senate and he had the opportunity to be its chair the last time the Democrats had control. He opted instead to chair the Judiciary Committee. That’s not likely to be the case this time around.
There is the report by Politico that Mr. Sanders is trying to figure out how he might convince Mr. Biden to anoint him as his Labor Secretary. Sources say Vermont’s junior senator is interested, that it would fit hand-in-glove with his interests and his political passions. The far left also wants a Biden administration to reflect its wishes; Mr. Sanders would suit its needs.
But when push comes to shove it’s hard to see how Mr. Biden ends up countenancing an up close and personal relationship with Mr. Sanders who has a prickly reputation and is not known as someone who works well with people, let alone FOR someone. Can anyone see Mr. Sanders deferring to a President Biden?
Should Biden win and should the Democrats win control of the Senate there would not be a single state with the power Vermont would have. We’ve never been in this position before and it’s almost a dead certainty we never will again. It’s our version of winning the lottery, except the winnings go to all 626,000 of us.
Yes, yes, yes, we all need to think collectively, as Americans. We’re all in this together. It all comes out of everyone’s pocket. We get it.
Like we said, indulge us in a moment of pure self interest.
Actually, more than a moment.
by Emerson Lynn