As the clock ticks towards the early December deadline to keep the government running and the debt limit raised or suspended, it is crunch time for President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats. Moreover, they have a packed legislative calendar as they seek to pass Biden’s “signature” spending bills, both of which have been stuck, due to partisan and internecine fighting. Indeed, the stakes could not have been higher for the Democrats, and Biden, especially, given they/he ran on a platform of expanding the Social Safety Net.
These Dire Straits in which Biden and the Democrats find themselves in were not the case when he took office, wherein the prospect of Democrats controlling the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, made progressives believe that they had a good chance of enacting their Tax and Spend plans to remake the way government works and to reverse the decades old, Reaganian dogma of Supply Side Economics, with its emphasis on Limited Government and Tax Cuts for the Rich.
Indeed, Biden started well with the passage of the Coronavirus Relief Bill totaling more than a Trillion Dollars, which immediately drew praise from many conservative columnists as well, some of whom compared him to FDR, who with his New Deal in the aftermath of the Great Depression in the 1930s, created the contours of the Welfare State. This also led to fevered speculations on whether the Green New Deal (a term used to describe a vast spending bill aimed at addressing climate change) would become a reality and ensure that the US retained its pole position in the global fight against climate change.
However, with barely Six Months having elapsed from March, when the Relief Bill was passed, the Democrats find themselves in an unenviable position, mainly due to infighting, but also due to Republican intransigence, who by now have made it a habit to “oppose” anything that Democrats do, just for “the sake of opposing”. In other words, the Republicans are blocking legislation, just because they need to oppose, and not out of any ideological reasons or to extract concessions. The holdouts among the Democrats, the so-called Mansinema duo, are not helping matters, by being Democrats In Name Only.
So, with a month and half to go, the coming weeks would define Biden’s Presidency and would decide the fate of the Democrats in the Midterms in 2022 as well as the subsequent direction of where the legislative processes would head into. What this means is that everything is up for grabs as December approaches, and maybe, who knows, this Christmas would not bring cheer to Democrats, unless a “miracle” happens. There we are, hoping for Divine Intervention as the Holiday Season beckons.
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