Internal Democratic squabbles have harmed the huge social-spending proposal by Joe Biden. The move could increase the possibility that it could stall, shrink significantly, or collapse entirely.
According to Politico, Moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) remain a significant problem for the party’s $3.5 trillion goal. The Senate parliamentarian has just killed the party’s years-long effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Members of the House of Representatives may derail the party’s long-awaited prescription drug reform. And a battle over Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) proposal to extend Medicare is still raging.
“If any member of Congress is not concerned that this could fall apart, they need treatment,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). He warned that if his party fails to implement Biden’s program, it would “pay the price at the elections.”
Issues Threaten To Derail Biden’s Momentum
Yahoo! News said these obstacles threaten to derail Biden’s momentum from this summer, when he secured a bipartisan infrastructure agreement in the Senate and received bipartisan backing for a budget that would lay the stage for his massive spending package. Now, Manchin is calling for a halt, moderates are objecting to major provisions of the bill, and a new budget battle over the debt ceiling is brewing.
Because of these factors, Democrats are seeking for an internal reset after months of discussion over Biden’s plan, which has been played out publicly via leaks, lines in the sand, and disputes over the topline figure.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) hoped that they could all be more on the same page regarding when the government should implement the American Families Plan. She also hopes that they would reach an agreement this year rather than waiting until next year. She also offered a backup plan.
Issues Pile Up In An Important Time For Biden, Democrats
The slew of issues has piled up at a crucial time for the Democratic Party and Biden, who is desperate for a legislative victory amid low popularity ratings. However, despite surveys showing that most of his social spending plan is popular outside of Congress, gaining support within Democrats’ small majority has been more difficult.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can’t afford to alienate either side of their fractured party, with a three-vote advantage in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate, or the prospects for either of Biden’s hallmark domestic wins may vanish entirely.
How many Democrats are siding with notable House and Senate moderates is unknown. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), a moderate Democrat running for reelection next year, refused to say if she agreed with the $3.5 trillion expenditure figure announced on Monday, or whether she supports halting the measure.
Discord over a measure that progressives view as critical to achieving their party’s goals has prompted some to consider scrapping the bipartisan infrastructure bill crafted by moderate Democratic senators. Many on the left argue that by agreeing to a $3.5 trillion spending package rather than the $6 trillion or more requested by progressive leaders like Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, they have already made a compromise (D-Wash.).
Despite the Democratic handwringing, Biden’s spokesman claimed the administration is lobbying a wide range of members and “making excellent progress.”