POLITICO Playbook: A trillion-dollar staring contest. Who will blink first?


HIGH-STAKES LEGISLATIVE DEBATES aren’t always battles of ideas. They don’t necessarily test the power of persuasion. They’re staring contests between powerful political leaders who are trying to humiliate their opponents, and squeeze as much out of them as possible while seeking to achieve a political and policy victory that’s palatable to the majority of their internal constituency — their colleagues — and their external constituency, the voters.

NO ONE EXCELS at these affairs like Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and Speaker NANCY PELOSI — the respective party leaders. And no one has watched from the sidelines and admired the negotiating game — and longed to get in it — like MARK MEADOWS, the former House…



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