As Democratic infighting continues over their $3.5 trillion social spending legislation, the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency and the Democrats’ majority in Congress hang in the balance.
While moderate Democrats have pushed for legislation with a significantly lower price tag, progressives have dug their heels in, refusing to vote for a bill that is less than $3.5 trillion. Progressives have also threatened to kill the president’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is scheduled for a final vote tomorrow, if the moderates don’t make a reconciliation counteroffer that is robust enough by their standards.
Ultimately, President Biden must act urgently, using his influence among Democrats and moderate Republicans in the House to ensure the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, first and foremost.
Simultaneously, the president along with Democratic leaders in Joe Biden Congress must develop a set of principles or a framework that will convince progressives not to kill the bipartisan infrastructure plan, and then work to negotiate down the size of the $3.5 trillion bill to something that moderate Democratic Senators — namely, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — can get on board with.
If not, the Biden presidency could be left in tatters, with nothing to show for legislatively on both traditional infrastructure and on so-called “human infrastructure.”
To be sure, the political stakes couldn’t be higher for President Biden and the Democrats. Biden’s job approval rating, according to Gallup, dropped six points over the past month to 43 percent, a new low for the president. Further, his approval has steadily declined over the course of the year — it stood at 49 percent in August, 56 percent in June, and 57 percent in April.
“Among elected presidents since World War II, only [Donald] Trump has had a lower job approval rating than Biden does at a similar point in their presidencies,” Gallup reported, also noting that “President Biden’s current 37 percent approval rating among independents is his lowest to date and 24-points below his personal high of 61 percent.”