Joe Biden engages in a tough political fight with both Republicans and moderates in his own party

Joe Biden politicism problems

President Joe Biden plays a good part of his political weight and his legacy these days. And everything is in the hands of Congress. He can only exercise his renowned bargaining power. Although so far it has not worked. He continues with three open fronts, the tough Republican opposition dominated by the more conservative and Trumpist wing, and the deep division in his own party between moderates and progressives. The most immediate issue is the increase in the debt limit so that your Administration can continue to pay the national debt. The second is the Infrastructure law for which he is asking 1 trillion dollars and which could allow to renovate bridges and roads, boost clean energy and create millions of jobs. And the third, which is concatenated with the second, is his most ambitious project of the Reconciliation Law, that of the reform of the social system, for which he is seeking another 3.5 billion dollars.

On Friday, Biden went to discuss the agenda with his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. His ally, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, had promised to pass the Infrastructure law that same day. Everything bogged down when two centrist Democratic senators, Joe Manchin, from West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema, from Arizona, questioned their support for that project and, above all, for the second of the social reform. They say all they want is for spending to be curtailed, but the left-wing Democrats accuse them of responding to interest groups in the oil industry – which oppose a higher subsidy for renewable energy. And progressives refuse to pass one law if they do not have guarantees that the second will also be passed.. “They’re linked together, they form a comprehensive plan for economic reform, and it ‘s what the American working class wants, the polls consistently say,” Senator Bernie Sanders said on Sunday’s classic noon political show “Meet the Press.”

In the middle appeared the urgency to approve the increase in debt so as not to have to “close the administration.” On Monday, Biden launched a harsh message from the White House for his Republican rivals. He accused them of using a parliamentary maneuver to block the law that increases or suspends the debt limit. If it is not approved, he assured that the government will have to stop working before the end of the month and state salaries or pensions will not be able to be paid. And they were disappointed that during the Trump administration another $8 billion was added to the debt of the United States and now they refuse to pay the already approved tax and spending cuts.

The president even proposed to his rivals what could be a solution that would wash the faces of both sides: pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority instead of with a margin of 60 votes as required until now. That plan, in theory, would exempt Republican senators from passing an increase while allowing Democrats to avoid including the debt cap measure in their social safety net reform bill. And incidentally, he stirred them up a bit. “Republicans not only refuse to do their job, but they also threaten to use their power to stop us from doing our job.: Saving the economy from a catastrophic event… I think, frankly, that it is hypocritical, dangerous and shameful. Get out of the way, ”he told them.

The Treasury Department warned last week that lawmakers must address the debt ceiling debate and pass a law by Oct. 18, the deadline by which officials estimate the United States will exhaust emergency reinforcements to comply. with your bonus payments. Economists disagree on television forums about the consequences of an unprecedented U.S. default, but most – including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – say they would be “catastrophic.”Yellen has already warned the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, that diminishing confidence in Washington’s ability to service its IOUs on time “would likely trigger an increase in interest rates throughout the economy. , it would tarnish the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and send shock waves to financial markets.

In fact, the leaders of both parties are loath to acknowledge that the debt ceiling must be raised or risk economic calamity. What Republicans and Democrats disagree on is how to raise the limit, and each of them tries to use the issue as a political club. Republicans, frustrated by what they see as reckless spending policies by Democrats, say Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should include a suspension of the cap in their comprehensive social policy and climate bill. That is, they want to condition their support for the rise in debt with substantial cuts to the two fundamental Biden laws. Democrats try to avoid the maneuver approving the bills with a simple majority in the Senate, compared to the usual requirement of 60 votes. The powerful and ultra-conservative Republican leader in the Senate, Mitchell McConnell, has already made it clear that no member of his party will support a law that approves the increase in the debt ceiling and said that the responsibility lies with the Democrats, who control Congress and the White House. Yesterday he sent Biden a letter rejecting practically any negotiation.

The same confrontation is lived within the democratic party itself. The initiatives to revive the economy, which analysts consider the most important project for the country since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, are taken from proposals made by then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, leader of the party’s most progressive group. And while Biden was always the centrist expression of the Democrats, in that way he aligned himself with the left-wing. This was made clear when he went to the Capitol on Friday and did not accept the moderate wing’s offer to pass the first of the laws, Reconstruction, and leave the second for later. Biden, Sanders and the progressive caucus of both houses know that, if they do not “hook” both laws, it is most likely that the second, the most important, the one that makes the richest pay taxes and that distributes more money among families. most needy, it will never prosper.

“The way he governs does not reflect the skills I know he has from his years as a legislator,” said Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida, one of the moderate Democrats who demanded an immediate vote on the billion-dollar infrastructure bill. dollars convinced that this was what the president wanted, or at least needed. He called “disappointing and frustrating” Biden’s refusal to push harder for the legislation he had supported. “I’m not sure why he came to the Capitol,” he grumbled.

Unified first by their opposition and shared contempt for former President Donald Trump, and then by the adoption of a broad party platform, the two factions of the Democrats have been in harmony since Biden took office. They approved without further debate all the initiatives aimed at strengthening the economy hit by the pandemic. But the $4.5 trillion spending package – between the two laws – was too much. The centrists, like their Republican colleagues, want to limit spending. This confronts them with leftists who not only want to spend more but also want the increase to be paid by those who have more.. The outcome of this battle, which may last until Christmas, will determine the fate of Democrats in next year’s midterm elections and mark the legacy of Biden’s presidency.