WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s agenda will be significantly slowed in the new Congress, from abortion rights to climate change and more.His party’s hold on Capitol Hill eased for the first time since taking office .
A 51-seat split majority in the Senate, his party a minority in the House, Mr. Biden will find himself with fewer allies within the legislative branch. Defeated or retired centrist leaves parliament this week, And raspy conservatives who have promised to block the Democratic legislative priorities will come to power.
Republicans in the House will be unenthusiastic about Biden’s campaign promises, including assault weapons bans, federal protection of abortion rights, criminal justice reform, and the Voting Rights Act.
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Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist who served as an aide to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and aide to President George W. Bush in the White House, said a split Congress would keep the government functioning. said Mr.
“Do you think they’ll do more than that? No,” said Jennings.
Democratic lawmakers and strategists say Biden and his aides will undo his achievements and advance progressive priorities with Republicans in Congress focused on examining his administration. , said more reliance should be placed on the actions of the president.
“I think that’s the main way we get things done. I think they know that,” D-Wash Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in an interview. He has made it clear to me that as president he wants to take bold action and that he wants to do all he can for the American people.”
Jayapal said the Congressional Progressive Party Caucus, which she chairs, aims to send the White House an updated list of administrative actions Biden should take by the end of January. One of her top priorities for the group, she said, is increasing the number of workers eligible to receive overtime pay.
The White House declined to comment on the pending administrative action. In his statement, Mr. Biden said he remains committed to working across the aisles to ensure bipartisan support for his agenda.
Over the past six months, Mr. Biden has made progressive strides such as waiving student loans for federal borrowers, allowing federal marijuana convictions, and providing federal assistance to women seeking abortion care. He has relied heavily on his executive branch to move matters forward.
“The presidency remains the most powerful job in the world, and if Congress doesn’t move, there are some things that can be done through executive action,” said Ben Rabolt, a former adviser to Biden and White House aide to President Obama. “I think we’re going to see some of that from this administration.”
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‘Dead on arrival’
Republicans have vowed to derail even the bipartisan part of Biden’s agenda if they take control of the House. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has promised that any bill that passes the Senate with the help of moderate Republicans will be “on arrival” and will not reach the floor of the House.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz stressed that “the legislative agenda will be completed in January” on the agenda for the past two years, including Democratic spending.
“There is plenty of room for bipartisan cooperation if Biden is willing to work on common sense policies that reduce government burdens on small businesses, create jobs and help working people,” Cruz said. . “But it would take the White House to make a decision that no more Radical Leftists should be allowed into the party.”
Ron Bonjeen, a Republican strategist with close ties to the Republican Party on the Capitol, said that beyond funding the government and responding to national emergencies such as hurricanes, important legislation over the next two years would be on Biden’s desk. said he did not expect it to reach and wildfires.
“The issues Democrats are pushing in the Senate are getting nowhere in the House. Congress will be a megaphone for both sides to use on how to lead the country. It’s a setter,” said Bonjean.
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Colorado Rep. Joe Negse, the incoming chairman of the House Democratic Message Division, said he and his colleagues intend to work with Republicans wherever they can. “But I am also prepared to confront the extremism that is unfortunately emerging in the House GOP meeting,” he said.
“It takes commitment on the other side of the aisle to really govern. Only time will tell if it will,” he said.
While it will be difficult for Biden to deliver on his campaign promises in a Republican-run Congress, Chris Coons, a Biden supporter and Delaware senator, said, “I’m not excluding him.”
“I would argue that this president has had the most remarkable legislative success of any president since LBJ. .
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The White House similarly argued that the midterm elections showed voters support Biden’s agenda and his continued efforts to protect women’s reproductive rights and defend American democracy. .
White House Deputy Press Secretary Emily Simmons said, “The bottom line is that we believe there are opportunities to work together, and the President is willing to work with anyone who wants to work with him. I made it clear,” he said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said the cryptocurrency regulation she is working on is an example of an area where Democrats and Republicans could work together.
“It’s not as good as having a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and a president in the White House and everyone trying to go in the same direction. It’s not the expectation that you’re trapped and can’t make any changes,” said Warren, D Massachusetts.
A difficult time for Democrats
Civil rights leader and president and CEO of the National Urban League, Marc Morial, has said that a lack of support from Republicans should not stop Democrats from bringing important legislation to the Senate. says it won’t.
“It’s a tough time to pass a real voting bill. Raise the real minimum wage. But I think they should be put on the floor. I think they should be passed. Especially on the side of the Senate, Democrats. I don’t think they should be neutralized. They should force Republicans to vote on these bills,” he said.
Progressives say Biden should not back down from Democratic priorities, including raising the minimum wage, even if he is doomed to fail in the Republican-run House of Representatives.
Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders said, “I think good policy is good politics.” We have to fight for it here, and now I won’t guarantee that Republicans will support it, but it’s what Americans want and workers desperately need. It doesn’t mean you won’t stand up and fight for what you have.”
Francesca Chambers and Michael Collins cover the White House. Follow Collins on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS and her Chambers @fran_chambers.