Saturday, November 27

Biden’s agenda remains unrealized as Democrats fail to close the deal again | United States politics

Joe Biden’s nearly $ 3 trillion national agenda remains unrealized after an 11-hour push to rally Democrats around a scaled-down package that he called historic, but failed to close the deal in time for his meeting with the world leaders in Rome at the G20 summit.

But after a dramatic Thursday of bold promises and frustrated hopes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to postpone a vote on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill for the second time in a month. as progressives demanded more guarantees than a $ 1.75 trillion social commitment The policy plan would also pass.

It was a setback, though perhaps only temporary, for Democratic leaders, who hoped to hand the president a legislative victory that he could promote during his six-day trip to Europe for a pair of international economic and climate summits.

The delay underscored the depth of mistrust among Democrats, between the House and Senate, progressives and moderates, leaders and members, after a lengthy negotiation process yielded a plan that was about half the size of the initial vision of Biden.

Biden’s proposal includes substantial investments in child care, education and healthcare, as well as major initiatives to address climate change that, if enacted, would be the largest action ever taken by the US Congress. Revenue would come from tax increases on corporations and the wealthy.

But in grants to centrists like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, paid family leave, free college tuition, and efforts to cut prescription drug prices were scrapped from the latest version of the plan. Progressives were disappointed by the cuts, but their desire to pass the legislation ultimately had little influence to force major changes.

In a speech before leaving for Europe, Biden acknowledged that the bill did not meet his legislative ambitions, but reflected the limits of what was politically possible given the narrow ruling majorities of Democrats and the unified Republican opposition.

“Nobody got everything they wanted, including me,” he said. “But that’s the compromise.”

As lawmakers and activists assimilate the recently released details of the plan, there appears to be a growing consensus among progressives that, while insufficient, the plan makes critical investments in many of its top priorities, especially in the field of addressing climate crisis.

“The recently announced Build Back Better Act may be a turning point in America’s fight against the climate crisis, but only if we pass it,” the leaders of the climate advocacy group Evergreen Action wrote in a memo on Friday.

Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, said that unified control of the White House and Congress can, perhaps paradoxically, make governance more difficult. Because these moments are rare and often fleeting, the president and his party are rushing to pursue an ambitious agenda that defines the legacy, he said.

“But the challenges of legislating are not going away,” Zelizer said. “And in a way, the tensions within the game are exacerbated by how much is at stake.”

Some have argued that cutting back on key programs could make it harder for Americans to feel the impact of the new benefits, despite the substantial size of the legislation. That could make it difficult for Biden, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks, from selling the plan that he told House Democrats would determine the fate of his presidency and his political future.

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