For Democrats in Congress, opposing forces leave Biden’s agenda hanging in the balance


WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda is caught between two compensatory forces.

First, the agenda is Too Big to Fail – that is, Democrats have so much to do with the infrastructure and reconciliation packages that they will eventually pass them no matter the legislative drama or ideological differences.

Second, the party is just too divided to pass – with the weakest majority, Democrats are simply too divided (ideologically, geographically, and procedurally) to overcome a single Senate defection and a handful of House defections.

And that’s due to a worse-than-expected performance in the 2020 election, where Democrats failed to defeat Susan Collins in Maine, Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Joni Ernst in Iowa, and where they lost. House seats despite Biden’s presidential victory.

Why it’s too big to fail

  • Senate moderates are deeply invested in the bipartisan infrastructure deal. They wrote it, it’s full of items they want for their states, and they’re eager to show that the old-fashioned deals are still alive in Washington.
  • Progressives are well aware that the reconciliation bill may be their last chance for large-scale spending for years, maybe even a generation, given the GOP’s advantages in the House and Senate. Even a reduced bill would mean significant investments in health care, education, climate, housing and more.
  • Both sides have a vested interest in backing Biden ahead of the midterms. Failure to pass either bill could cratter his presidency and bring them down with him. They need something to sell halfway through, and no one looks good when the leader’s platform implodes and his approval ratings follow. As Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V., put it early: “We are going to make Joe Biden succeed.”

Why it’s too divided to pass

  • There is deep mistrust between centrist and progressive members, as well as between the House and the Senate – neither trusting the other to support their preferred legislation. It led to all kinds of procedural tinkering. President Pelosi had to commit to passing both bills together before the Senate infrastructure vote, and then a centrist rebellion forced her to promise a September 27 date for a vote on the bill. With a bill unlikely to be completed by then, the whole “two-way” deal is now on the verge of collapse, with progressives threatening to reject it.
  • Progressives fear that their colleagues will try to force the infrastructure bill and kill or declaw the reconciliation bill and renew threats to vote against the former without a deal on the latter. The centrists desperately want to show that bills are not “tied” and that they are not intimidated into supporting anything they don’t want. Both sides dug this week.
  • Substantive divisions over the reconciliation bill are growing: a group of centrist members of the House voted against the leadership’s drug price reforms last week; plans to tax the rich, especially the biggest billionaires, face major opposition; and Manchin, who will play a key role on the climate part, looks at top environmentalists’ priorities, especially a plan to punish and reward utilities based on how quickly they switch to renewables. Much more worryingly, he begins to question the urgency of passing a bill, citing concerns about inflation.
  • It all becomes much, much, much more difficult if the moderates drop the price a billion or two billion dollars. So far, the centrists have caused the most problems for leadership, but at some point, if a bill is watered down enough, progressives will start to draw their own red lines. The potential for a spiral of recriminations is high. There has to be a way for both sides to save face.

Biden’s day at the UN

At 10:00 a.m.ET, President Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York. At noon, he holds a bilateral meeting in the Big Apple with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and then meets with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson back in the White House at 3:55 p.m. ET.

Biden’s appearance on the world stage comes at an inopportune time for the president – after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, after the confession of a U.S. drone strike that killed innocent civilians, and after France withdrew its American ambassadors because of a submarine. deal with the dispute.

Tweet of the day

Downloading data: the numbers you need to know today

Over 20,000: Number of Gathering of Haitian migrants in Colombia for possible migration to America.

31 percent: The proportion of American adults who report getting regular news from Facebook, by Pew.

94%: The effectiveness that Johnson & Johnson claims their clinical trial has found to two doses of his Covid vaccine.

42 330 282: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 207,873 more since Monday morning.)

680 293: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, according to the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 2393 more since Monday morning.)

386 237 881: The number of doses of vaccine administered in the United States, by the CDC. (That’s 651,869 more since Friday morning.)

54.7%: The share of all Americans who are fully immunized, by the CDC.

65.9%: The share of all U.S. adults 18 years of age or older who are fully immunized, by CDC

Virginia Governor’s Race

With six weeks to go, Virginia gubernatorial candidates gear up for the sprint to the finish line – Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has just under $ 2 million to date reserved on election day, compared to $ 1.2 million for Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. .

McAuliffe has been hammering out ads about the pandemic and education in recent days, with Youngkin dropping a handful of new ads on similar issues.

One of Youngkin’s new spots focuses on education, with a Loudon County teacher arguing that the Republican will bring “true leadership»To the state education system; one is aimed at Hampton Roads with his plan for the region; another pushes back attacks on his approach to vaccines (after a long row between the two candidates over the issue during last week’s debate), where doctors attacks McAuliffe’s “smear campaign” on vaccines and celebrate the way it broadcasts a TV commercial “encouraging Virginians” to have their pictures taken; and a brand new one-minute spot focuses on a police officer injured in the line of duty in 1984 who says he fears McAuliffe will free violent criminals.

ICYMI: what else is happening in the world

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party won Monday’s election, but it does not appear to have won a majority of seats in Parliament.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party won the parliamentary elections, leading to allegations of fraud by rivals.

A member of the CIA director’s team may be suffering from Havana Syndrome after a trip to India.

Democrats set to present new proposals to limit the power of the presidency in response to their concerns about the conduct of former President Donald Trump.

A new excerpt from the forthcoming book “Péril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Washington Post includes a memo that Trump’s legal team used in hopes of getting Vice President Mike Pence to help him overturn the election.

A Texas doctor has revealed that he performed an abortion in violation new strict state limits, leading to trial.


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