Democrats still facing the limits of narrow majorities: the note

TAKE it with Rick klein

It’s a 2021 theme: Democrats are frustrated with fellow Democrats – and even see their own party members as obstacles to progress.

Right now, the Biden agenda is stalled due to political math problems that fall into two main categories: There are things Democrats cannot do even if they have 50 votes in the Senate. , and things they can’t do because they can’t get to 50.

The first category is why the wrangling continues over the debt ceiling and why any deal now will only delay the tough decisions ahead. This is also why voting rights reform has stalled, to cite just one example that is fueling progressive and even moderate calls to limit or eliminate filibuster.

The latter category is why progress is slow and frustrating on infrastructure and social spending bills. Senator Bernie Sanders can again complain about two senators with veto power out of 48 – and we can even see nuances of that argument creeping into what President Joe Biden is saying – but as long as those votes are needed to get to 50 is reality.

There is also another problem reflected in the numbers for Democrats. With three weeks to go before the final deadlines for the infrastructure bill and the social spending bill, Biden’s poll is not helping democratic unity.

A Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday found that 55% of the public thinks Biden has not been competent to run government – a government that, yes, is controlled by Democrats in Washington. This pushes Biden’s approval rating to new lows in the FiveThirtyEight poll tracking.

The past few months have been dominated by crises – in Afghanistan, at the border, over COVID-19, and in spending battles – that undermine the image of calm competence that characterizes Biden.

Partisan divisions have arisen in all of these areas and more. But Democrats continue to stand in the way of their disagreements over how to proceed.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

The Department of Education has announced changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that will affect approximately 22,000 borrowers.

The overhaul will give thousands of previously ineligible borrowers a student loan discount. The changes include an expansion of the types of payments included in the program and an appeal process to review past denials. With the new changes, the program is expected to cancel $ 1.7 billion in loans.

The changes come as the Biden administration works through intra-party bickering to adopt the Build Back Better plan, which includes a multibillion-dollar investment in higher education – in its current form at least.

The plan includes a free community college, increased Pell grants, and investments in HBCUs and other institutions serving minorities.

The initial price of the $ 3.5 trillion spending plan is expected to drop in hopes of attracting figures like the Senses. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It is a reality that even President Joe Biden has recognized.

But it’s unclear whether the aforementioned investments in higher education will do the trick or if the ideas will be achievable in a lean plan.

The tip with Alisa wiersema

Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his condolences to the victims of the Timberview High School shooting from the border, where he and nine other Republican governors held a press conference on Wednesday to berate the Biden administration over immigration policy.

Abbott was joined by governors from Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming, some of whom took the mike to blame the president for the crime problems in their states which they believe stem from undocumented immigration. . Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – who was among 25 other state leaders to sign a letter last month asking to meet with the president by this week – said President Joe Biden was turning away from Republican governors .

“We tried to meet the president and be part of the solution, but he refuses. No, worse, he ignores us, just as he ignores the border and the welfare of the American people,” Ducey told reporters. .

It remains to be seen whether Republican governors and the White House can open a working dialogue on one of the country’s thorniest issues, but immigration continues to loom over the president’s legacy. According to Quinnipiac, 67% of American adults disapprove of his handling of immigration and the situation on the Mexican border.


ABC News’ Start Here Podcast. The Thursday morning episode features ABC News legal analyst Kate Shaw on a temporary injunction from a federal judge to ban the application of Texas’ controversial new abortion law. Next, ABC News’s Anne Flaherty talks about the future of COVID-19 testing in the coming year. And, ABC News’s Kayna Whitworth reports on the Colorado River’s water scarcity and its impact on Arizona farmers.


  • President Joe Biden receives the President’s daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. He will then depart for Chicago, where he will visit the Clayco construction site at 2:10 p.m. and comment on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements at 2:45 p.m. pm The President will return to the White House at 7.20 p.m.
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing to assess the “audit” of the Maricopa County, Ariz., Election at 10 a.m.
  • The House agriculture committee will hold a hearing to review the state of the ranching industry at 12 noon.
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    The Note is an ABC News daily article that highlights the top political stories of the day. Please come back tomorrow for the last one.

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