Can Democrats hold together? Biden’s agenda depends on it

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It’s one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite sayings, a guidepost for Democrats in tough times: “Our diversity is our strength. Our unity is our strength.”

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But as Democrats try to turn President Joe Biden’s sprawling federal government into law, it is the party’s diversity of progressive and conservative views that is driving them apart.

And only by staying unified is their no-vote-to-spare majority any hope of pushing their rebuilding agenda into law.


Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to speak directly to the American people on his vision: It’s time to tax big business and the wealthy and invest that money in child care, health care, education and tackling climate change. – which he sees as some of the country’s most important priorities.

Together, Biden, Pelosi and other Democrats are entering a highly uncertain time, a mess of lawmaking, which will now be the pursuit of a long haul that could span weeks, if not months, of negotiations.

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“Let me just tell you about the conversation: In the end, when you really have to weigh in,” Pelosi said recently. “You can’t get tired. You can’t believe.”

“This,” he added on the day when the conversation would last until midnight, “that’s the fun part.”

The product – or the colossal failure to reach a deal – will define not only the first year of Biden’s presidency, but the legacy of Pelosi and a generation of lawmakers in Congress, with implications for next year’s midterm elections. At stake is not only the $3.5 trillion plan, but also the thinnest $1 trillion public works bill now stalled, tied to the larger bill.

As Democrats in Congress, after having passed Pelosi’s self-imposed Friday deadline for passing legislation in the House with a bitter finger pointing, they now face a new, October 31, Biden To make profit on big schemes of The $3.5 trillion package is being bumped up to nearly $2 trillion and the final approval of the $1 trillion public works bill passed by the Senate is on hold for now.

Attention is focused on two major holdouts, Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kirsten Cinema, who are the linchpins for any deal with a small band of conservative House Democrats.

Biden is expected to be in touch as the senator returns to Washington on Monday. Pelosi is in talks with both Manchin in West Virginia and Cinema of Arizona.

“The president wants both bills and he hopes to get both bills,” Biden’s adviser Cedric Richmond said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We will continue to work on both.”

The inability to win over Munchkin and cinema to support Biden’s broader vision contributed to the collapse of the last week of a promised House vote on his favorite $1 trillion public works bill, which he negotiated with Biden. Had it.

Anger flared up and started accusing who was to blame. Progressives hit out at two senators for upholding Biden’s larger agenda; The centrists blame Pelosi for turning back from the promised vote; And progressives were persuaded and scolded for playing hardball, withholding their votes on the public works bill to implement a comprehensive agreement.

Biden finally arrived on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to deliver a tough-love message to all of them — telling centrists that he would not get their vote on the bipartisan deal he helped broker unless progressives had a comprehensive package and warnings. There was no commitment on the progressives. The price tag of the larger bill is likely to drop to around $2 trillion.

In many ways, the coming weeks are a reminder of the last major legislative undertaking by Democrats to push the Affordable Care Act to the finish line during the Obama administration.

No one doubts that Pelosi – and Biden – can do it again. But the battle ahead is bound to be a politically painful one.

Without the support of Republicans who scoff at Biden’s vision of a big socialist-style government, Democrats will have to decide among themselves what size package can win on support in the 50-50 Senate and the narrowly held House. .

Paid by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, individuals who earn more than $400,000 per year, or $450,000 for couples, the measure, Biden insists, would have an overall price tag of “zero.”

Nevertheless, private discussions about reducing various programs have now delved deeper into talks on the wholesale reductions that may need to be made. It’s all on the table.

For example, whether Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. to expand Medicare to include dental, vision and other health care benefits. Or will those benefits have to be eliminated or reduced?

What about new child care subsidies or COVID-19-related tax credits for families with children – will they last for many years or will they have to be refunded in just a few?

Will free community college be available to all, or only to those with low incomes, as Munchkin proposes?

Could the public works bill extend Biden’s effort to tackle climate change beyond already approved funding for electric vehicles and weather-friendly buildings?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, leader of the Congress Progressive Caucus, said in an interview on Sunday, “What we have said from the beginning has never been about the price. It is about what we give. want.” on CNN.

“The President told us the same thing. He said don’t start with numbers. Start with what you want,” she said.

Pelosi is working on the phone to win over Munchkin and cinema, which in many ways are outliers between Democrats in the House and Senate who are more progressive.

The prominence of the two senators has spilled over into popular culture beyond the Beltway – cinema was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, while…

Credit: / Nancy Pelosi

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