Joe Biden’s far-reaching domestic agenda in the US faces serious setbacks on a variety of issues as the political quagmire of a highly contested Senate is seeing Democratic ambitions drastically curtailed in the face of Republican obstruction.
On several key fronts, such as pushing for electoral reform and voting rights, efforts to curb gun control, and advance LGBTQ civil rights, there has been effective pushback from Republicans, and a handful of conservative Democrats, which is forcing Biden and the Democratic Party in general to lag behind.
The Senate, whom critics ridicule as an increasingly unrepresentative body giving undue influence to the smaller and less diverse states run by Republicans, is scheduled to vote Tuesday on For the People Act, the US bill. voting rights that will surely be defeated by not having obtained the support of Republicans.
Republicans are expected to run out of the clock, a controversial tactical rule known as filibuster, in the package that requires lawmakers to reach a 60-vote threshold.
On Sunday, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman rejected the amendments proposed by conservative West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, whose rejection of the initial bill nearly defeated the Democrats’ bill. Portman described the planned legislation as a “federal takeover of our electoral system.”
“The bottom line is that we should make voting easier in this country. We should also make it difficult to cheat, “Portman said in Meet the NBC press. “Again, I appreciate [Manchin is] trying to find that middle ground and, who knows, maybe something can be done. “
Forcing Republicans to obstruct and making clear and public their opposition to a law that is seen as defending the voting rights of communities of color. Democrats hope to embarrass the party. But, without destroying the filibuster, which Manchin also opposes, there is little chance that the bill will pass.
Senate Democrats will also test calls for unity on LGBTQ civil rights and another bill, the Equality Act, which seeks Republican support. Schumer said last month that the upper house is “considering” a vote on the bill, but has not yet scheduled it. Once again, Manchin is the only Democrat resisted.
The proposed legislation would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 along with prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin.
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, one of two openly gay senators in the 100-member chamber, has said she is pressuring her Republican colleagues but has only made “gradual progress.”
Baldwin has said she believes the Senate should “postpone” a vote while “negotiations are productive” and progress is made. The Senate is split 50-50 and only under Democratic control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaker vote.
“There may be a time when there is a deadlock. I’m still trying to find 10 Republicans [to help pass the bill]”Baldwin said.
Republican resistance to the legislation focuses on protecting the rights of religious institutions that condemn homosexuality and oppose the rights of transgender people in sport. However, it occurs in a context of broad public, business and judicial support on the subject.
Manchin, an anti-abortion Democrat, has said that he “is not convinced that the Equality Act as drafted provides sufficient guidance to local officials who will be responsible for implementing it.” But he has also said that he will seek to “generate broad bipartisan support and find a viable path for these critical protections.”
Nor are Democrats currently likely to find broader opportunities for political unity in infrastructure spending where large-scale Democratic proposals are met by Republican counter-offers a fraction of the size.
Former Republican Presidential Advisor Karl Rove said this week with George Stephanopoulos President Biden faces two roads in infrastructure, both of which are fraught with obstacles. “[It will be] a bipartisan deal small enough to get Republican support but not big enough to hold Democrats together, or a go-it-alone plan that progressives want, priced as high as $ 6 trillion which is probably too big to spend, ”said Rove.
Similarly, pending gun control legislation may also be reluctant to win enough support to pass it.
As it stands, two bills passed by the House to expand background checks on gun buyers have stalled in the Senate. But instead of pushing legislation that Republicans will reject, Democrats can push for a vote to increase the number of online sales and gun displays covered by FBI background checks – a significant setback from the original proposals. .
Senator Chris Murphy, the Democrats’ key person in winning Republican support for gun control, said he’s still talking to Republican leaders about “some ideas that would involve expanding background checks without becoming universal.” .
When asked if Republicans would favor a bill on gun display controls, two senators involved in the discussions, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, offered a cold opinion on that possibility.
“We’ll see if it goes anywhere” Graham told Politico.
Toomey, who will be retiring next year, said: “It’s honestly not clear at this point.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism