President Joe Biden almost pleaded with a group of moderate Democrats who had come to see him in the Oval Office to indicate how much money they are ready to spend on the huge “Build Back Better” reconciliation plan. Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy urged that Democrats first agree on how much revenue they will collect in taxes before deciding on a price tag among the eleven moderates.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal wept as she pleaded for an immigration amnesty in the reconciliation package. The Senate parliamentarian has ruled it can’t. She asked Biden to postpone Monday’s vote or face progressive opposition to the infrastructure package. Biden did not concede, but he did hint that the vote might not take place on September 27 as anticipated.
According to Julian Zelizer of the New York Times, Democrats have come into political reality, and it isn’t pleasant. They spent months convincing themselves that a presidential election decided by 42,000 votes cast in three states, a deadlocked Senate, and a 220–212 House was akin to FDR and LBJ’s supermajorities. They’re just now realizing that the coalition that elected them doesn’t agree on anything other than that Donald Trump should not be in the White House.
The Democratic Party’s attempt to transform a close election into substantial change is facing a reckoning in the autumn of 2021. Frontline House Democrats, like their predecessors in 1993 and 2009, must decide if supporting a liberal agenda is more damaging to their careers than denying a president of his party a legislative victory.
The deal’s approval in the Senate exacerbated divisions in the House Democratic caucus and ensured Republican opposition to the reconciliation package. Yuval Levin said that Republican involvement began as an attempt to cool the filibuster, but it appeared that it might have enough votes to succeed after a while. It became apparent that it had the potential to divide the Democratic Party further.
McConnell persuaded Democrats to agree that any rise in the debt ceiling should come solely from them. It’s a clever and cynical tactic, and the Republicans also contribute to the debt, but it’s also politically astute. Neither is the economy in peril. Democrats can and will eventually lift the debt ceiling on their own.
Joe Biden has a 46 percent popularity rating in the FiveThirtyEight polling average, whereas he has a 43 percent approval rating in Gallup. Democrats feel Biden’s last chance to recoup lost ground and prevent a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, and maybe the Senate, in 2022. However, the president’s objectives have been known to deviate in the past.