WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s schedule on Capitol Hill has had a mixed start.
It scored a first major victory with the passage of the $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 Relief and Revival Act.
He fought to follow through with major investments in infrastructure, expanding safety nets, mitigating climate change and increasing taxes on the rich. These goals have potential, in large part because Democrat-controlled Congress can pass them with or without Republicans.
But other priorities such as gun safety, overhauling immigration, and strengthening voting rights have reached deadlock due to Senate filibustering and, in some cases, Democratic divisions in the Senate. within a Congress where the party has very thin margins in both chambers.
Where does Biden succeed?
Biden’s biggest legislative success so far has been the Covid-19 Relief Law, which bolstered resources for vaccine distribution, authorized $ 1,400 checks for most Americans and more. As much of the United States has been vaccinated, coronavirus deaths have plummeted, much of the economy has reopened, and voters are giving Biden high marks for his handling of the pandemic.
Some of Biden’s safety net provisions were included in the Covid-19 relief law, including increased subsidies from the Affordable Care Act and a large cash allowance for children of up to 3,600 $ per child. But this is only the beginning of what he wants and he will need more legislation to make them permanent.
Another area where Biden’s program is successful is judges, supported by the fact that the candidates are not obstructed, which means Republicans cannot stop him.
Led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats have taken the lead and have confirmed seven so far. This includes two circuit court judges and five district court judges. There are 76 vacancies in the circuit and district courts. Democrats are bracing for a potential Supreme Court retirement, although it is not clear if or when a retirement could occur. All judges need 50 senators to confirm, so as long as Democrats stay together, Republicans can’t stop Biden.
What’s in the air?
by Biden Infrastructure plans are a living bullet.
A group of 10 senators struck a bipartisan deal for an additional $ 579 billion to fund roads and bridges, public transit and other physical infrastructure projects. But it still has to be written and get a majority in the House and a super-majority in the Senate. His fate is tied to the greater expansion of Biden’s safety net, as President Nancy Pelosi has said the House will vote on both after they pass the Senate.
The bigger bill would fund what Biden calls human infrastructure – home care for the elderly, paid vacation, two years of free community college. The vehicle for this is a reconciliation bill that can escape filibuster and that Democrats hope to start pushing forward this month.
Bill is Biden’s best hope for moving forward climate action, likely in the form of clean energy investments and tax incentives to comply with the rules. Democrats are planning major investments in electric vehicles, green power and energy efficient homes.
Biden is estimated at $ 3.6 trillion in tax increases on corporations and the wealthy are also in motion. We don’t know how much the party will be able to agree on. With no hope of GOP support, the reconciliation bill is do or die for that part of Biden’s agenda, which aims to raise revenues to fund his economic programs and mitigate rising income inequality.
What priorities are blocked?
The president’s agenda is threatened by policies subject to the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, where Democrats have 50 members and continue to struggle to achieve GOP cooperation.
Biden’s call for a $ 15 minimum wage per hour reached a stalemate in March, with eight Democratic Senate members joining all Republicans in voting against.
More recently, equal pay the legislation fell to a Republican-led filibuster. And the prospects for strengthening LGBT protections does not look good.
Outlook for gun control are gloomy after the failure of bipartisan talks to expand background checks on firearms sales.
by Biden immigration The bill to illegally grant access to citizenship to millions of people in the United States and tie green cards to the economy is not going anywhere. Republicans categorically reject it and Democrats are divided. An updated “Dream Act” for undocumented youth has been passed by the House but faces a difficult climate in the Senate.
Biden’s push to strengthen right to vote hit a brick wall in Congress after Senate Republicans obstructed debate on the House’s “For the People” law to establish a minimum standard of access to the vote in every state and to revise voting laws. campaign financing. John Lewis’s separate Advancement Act could pass the House, but it is also unlikely to authorize the Senate.
Most Republicans say the matter should be left to the states and that the federal government does not need to intervene. Conservatives were inflamed by former President Donald Trump’s fabricated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, which fueled a GOP push – leading states to toughen election laws.
Negotiations between the two parties continue police reform, but they have repeatedly missed their deadlines and Democrats fear that a split within the law enforcement community over police accountability measures could derail a deal.