The road to passage for the ever-diminishing, multi-trillion-dollar spending bill is “clearer than ever,” according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. An “overwhelming number” of House Democrats support both President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says. Despite the optimism of a few, the recently announced new and improved – or, at the very least, somewhat reduced – social spending bill upon which even Biden hangs the future of the Democratic Party seems to have failed to launch. So much for unity, and so much for that international victory lap as Biden hobnobs with other world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Rome.
No Malarkey, and No Hyperbole
“I need you to help me; I need your votes,” the president reportedly told Democratic members of Congress before rushing off to Rome for the Group of 20 summit. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate (Democratic) majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week.” If the president was hoping for a quiet passing vote to give him a victory to boast of in front of the world’s elite, he must have had a rather disappointing flight.
As Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner has pointed out numerous times – including as recently as just a few days ago – the Democrats are almost guaranteed to lose at least one of their majorities, and quite possibly both. “The biggest mistake Democrats could make would be to continue believing, as they evidently do now, that the nation is crying out for radical social change,” Tim wrote. On the other hand, it seems quite likely Biden is correct in assuming this is his last chance to build a legislative legacy – regardless of whether the people actually want him to.
One might think that if they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t, then they had damned well better do. Unfortunately for them – but perhaps fortunately for the Republic – Democrats can’t seem to trust each other enough to take what victory they can.
No Majority, and No Vote
“We have a historic economic framework,” Biden said after meeting with Congress in yet another attempt to establish the legacy he wants. Whether history will remember it, however, remains to be seen. Like all prior “historic” attempts, this framework is fraught with opposition from within the Democratic Party, to say nothing of the GOP.
One problem is that progressives want trillions in government-growing, liberty-slashing social spending, while the more moderate members of the party prefer a lower price tag and a bit more bipartisanship. That disagreement is why several “frameworks” have been constructed then abandoned – there simply isn’t a way to fully satisfy both sides.
Another issue, however, is that many in the House aren’t willing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, until the much larger Build Back Better Act clears the Senate via reconciliation. “Dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Leader Pramila Jayapal, a representative from Washington. Rep. Jayapal is one of half a dozen leaders of a caucus with 95 House members. So much for Speaker Pelosi’s “overwhelming number” of supporters.
No Legacy, and No Re-election
While Biden and Pelosi did their best to convince House Democrats to just get along, the vote on the infrastructure bill from the Senate, originally planned for Thursday, was delayed until next week. The upper chamber cleared a short-term extension for surface transportation funding and adjourned until Monday at 3 p.m. – so no reconciliation this week.
Though multiple LN writers have made the point over the last couple of months, it is significant that Biden himself has finally admitted that failing to pass these major spending bills while Democrats hold the trifecta of power in the Swamp means almost certain defeat come 2022. Then, of course, if Republicans take over the House, the Senate, or both, the Democrats will go into the 2024 election cycle with few if any significant legislative wins – a legacy of failure unlikely to result in Democrats retaining power. Should that future come to be, at least Biden can say he made one correct forecast during his presidency.
~ Read more from James Fite.