Joe Biden’s domestic policy package crumbles in Congress
The decline in Biden’s approval rating and the party’s own hold on Congress are at stake with the 2022 midterm election campaigns soon underway. Democrats are struggling in governor races next week in Virginia and New Jersey, where one would have expected sure wins.
“It’s pretty amazing to me that we’re in this place,” exasperated Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Told reporters Thursday night as the House adjourned.
Biden arrived on Capitol Hill that morning triumphantly announcing a historic setting on the bill which he said would get 50 votes in the Senate. But the two recalcitrant Democratic Senate Manchin and Sinema responded – maybe, maybe not.
Manchin and Sinema’s reluctance to fully embrace Biden’s plan sparked a series of domino events that sent Biden to overseas summits empty-handed and left the party portrayed as in disarray.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to drop plans to pass the companion measure, the $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, which got tangled up in deliberations. Progressives refused to vote for this public works package of roads, bridges and broadband, refusing their support as leverage to ensure Manchin and Sinema agree to Biden’s big bill.
“Everyone is very clear that the biggest problem we have here is Manchin and Sinema,” Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego told reporters. âWe don’t trust them. We have to hear from them that they actually agree with the president’s frame. ”
Yet, step by step, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are bringing their caucuses closer to resolving their differences over what would be the most ambitious federal investments in social services in generations and some $ 555 billion. dollars in climate change strategies.
“We will vote on both bills,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Chair of the Progressive Caucus, after approving Biden’s plan.
Lawmakers are expected to spend the weekend negotiating the final details of a text exceeding 1,600 pages. Some are trying to reinstate a paid family leave program or reduce the costs of prescription drugs that were outside of Biden’s framework.
Manchin and Sinema, the two hold-outs, now hold enormous power, essentially deciding whether Biden will be able to deliver on the Democrats’ key campaign promises.
The two have privately indicated that they are on board, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, an ally of Biden.
“I have new optimism,” tweeted Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who was part of a small entourage who privately met Sinema on Capitol Hill.
“Ditto,” responded Representative Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Who served as a bridge between the Progressives and the Arizona senator.
But it won’t be easy, if past battles in Congress are a measure. Legislating is time consuming and rarely done on time.
Democrats took the entire first year of Barack Obama’s presidency to pass the Affordable Care Act in a Senate vote on Christmas Eve 2009 – and that was only part of the way. It was not promulgated until March 2010.
Republicans tried unsuccessfully to repeal the same healthcare law in Donald Trump’s first year in a stunning midnight flop in 2017.
Biden’s package is even more radical than these.
âLet’s do this,â he urged in a White House address Thursday. He said the package “will fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better.”