Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda horror looms large In the face of a raging coronavirus pandemic. Democrats in Congress are at odds on the scale and breadth of the domestic agenda, ‘Build Back Better.
And he is under fire from Republicans for how the United States withdrew its forces from Afghanistan and Democrats for his immigration policy in the aftermath of the abuse and deportation of Haitian immigrants.
Republican skeptics charge that Biden’s presidency has exhibited the polar opposite of the competence he campaigned on and that his public popularity numbers have sunk to a record low – 43 % last week.
According to the RealClearPolitics average of various opinion polls, Biden currently has a combined popularity rating of 45.7 percent and a disapproval rating of 50.3 %.
Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ Agenda Needs a Win or two.
It is not solely that the honeymoon phase has ended. Biden’s love relationship with the public is in peril. Many Democrats believe his real chance of rescuing it — perhaps his final chance before the shadow of midterm elections paralyzes Congress — is to enact as much of his two-part, $4 trillion plan to strengthen infrastructure and expand the nation’s social safety net as feasible.
Few believe Biden will win everything, and there is still a chance he may go away empty-handed. As President Barack Obama typically did, he depends on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to shepherd the most divisive aspects of his agenda through the House.
It is her most significant legislative test since the Affordable Care Act’s passage more than a decade back, and she appears to understand that.
“The next few days will be intense,” she wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Saturday. She has pledged to take a vote Monday on the bipartisan Senate-passed infrastructure bill and “this week” on the Democrats-only budget “reconciliation” measure — financing of social programs.
Moderates and Liberals Face-Off Over Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’
A few moderates in the House and Senate have vowed to reject the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill outright if progressives do not back the infrastructure measure. On the other hand,
Progressives have stated that they will vote against the infrastructure bill if moderates do not agree to back social expenditure. While most progressives are resigned that they will not get all $3.5 trillion, it only takes four House Democrats or one Senate Democrat to veto any bill.
Biden’s backers suppose that this week marks a watershed moment for him, premised on the passage of policies they believe will benefit the public and their party’s politics. However, they see risk as well.
“There is no question that we-POTUS and the Democrats-require the passage of both bills,” Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., stated in a text exchange. “If they do not, Democrats will face a disaster in 2022.
However, if they pass, Biden and congressional Democrats would have made substantial changes to our social safety net since The Great Society’s inception. That would be a massive victory.”
Biden can visibly see his 2.0 version of Lyndon B. Johnson’s safety-net expansion contracting in before of his eyes. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both Democrats, have stated that they are too hefty.
Given this fact, Biden began suggesting last week that he is willing to compromise on the reconciliation bill to garner support from moderates.
Thus, Biden and Democratic congressional leaders’ first task will be to determine whether a number will satisfy both camps.
If they cannot convince progressives to take the part of reconciliation that moderates are prepared to accept, the entirety of Biden’s remaining domestic legislative agenda may end up in the congressional trash can.
It may be considerably more difficult to iron out the intricacies of the tax-and-work mix. Several prominent politicians from high-tax states are enraged by Biden’s inclination to maintain former President Donald Trump’s cap on the federal deduction people can take to offset state and local taxes.
Also, Manchin has stated that he opposes the reconciliation bill’s enhanced Medicare coverage when the program’s hospital fund is set to run out of money in five years. Sinema has expressed reservations about the measure’s stance on prescription drugs price control.
Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ serves as a litmus test for the President’s much-lauded legislative acumen.
Progressives are angered by moderates’ failure to present solid counterproposals, which makes negotiating with them more difficult — if not unworkable. Despite months of public debate about the legislation’s scope and specific provisions, neither side has budged.
Faiz Shakir, the top adviser on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, said Biden’s inclination for civility and consensus is a double-edged sword: It’s why people like him, but it may be impeding his capacity to highlight the distinctions that galvanize support for an agenda and a politician.
“As President of the United States, it is your task to generate friction,” Shakir remarked. “When others see you fighting for your cause, they become more committed to it.”
Biden ought to be naming and shaming his congressional and business adversaries, Shakir argued.
“He’s a carrots-and-sticks kind of guy,” he explained. “However, now and then, the stick has to come out.”
He has avoided whacking Manchin, Sinema, and their House backers, in part because it does not appear to work.
Separately, Biden spoke with Democratic congressional leaders, progressives, and moderates last week. All parties declared their sessions to be collegial and fruitful. However, no one left the White House claiming to have made significant progress on any two bills.
The window of opportunity is rapidly closing, and Biden cannot afford to close it without delivering a substantial part of what he set out to do. This might mean passing the infrastructure package on Monday and allowing ample time for reconciliation negotiations to continue.
Still, liberals have stated that they will vote against the former unless there is an unassailable agreement on the latter.
After trumpeting his legislative attributes during the campaign, it’s time for Biden to showcase them.
If he does nothing, Democrats will be forced to campaign on their failures.