Biden’s Economic Agenda in a Dead-End Tunnel: Ignoring Progressives Will Lead Him Nowhere

by Eli Mshomi
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Biden’s infrastructure plan is in the doldrums as he is at the crossroads with members of his own party.

Despite the fact that progressives surrendered a big chunk of their demands regarding the social spending bill, Biden is hesitating to show the actual text of the $1.8 trillion bill to progressives, which is their only remaining demand to vote for the infrastructure legislation.

This is not only putting the passing of the landmark infrastructure bill at stake but also poses a significant threat to the Democrats’ majority in Congress in general and Biden’s presidency in particular.

Major progressives including Ilhan Omar, AOC, and Rashida Tlaib have asked Biden to show them the original text of the negotiated social spending bill if he wants to get their support for the infrastructure legislation.

Major progressives including Ilhan Omar, AOC, and Rashida Tlaib have asked Biden to show them the original text of the negotiated social spending bill if he wants to get their support for the infrastructure legislation.

Biden Ignoring Progressives Legit Demands Will Only Make His Tenure Difficult

Progressives refused to pass the infrastructure legislation earlier in October as they wanted to pass the $3.5 trillion social spending bill.

But Democratic infighting made the passing of both bills impossible. Progressives somehow compromised and agreed to cut some of the major spending programs, bringing the bill below half of its original value.

Some of the key provisions of the original bill, including the paid family leaves, are being canceled from the original bill.

While Biden claims that he has managed to get an incredible framework ready of the reconciliation bill, however, he is hesitating to show that “framework” to progressives.

Had he not been reluctant to do that, today, the infrastructure bill would have been passed from Congress.

The mouthpiece of the progressive caucus, including AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and the chair, Prmaila Jayapal, have reiterated that they need to see the actual text of the social spending bill to see what is Biden planning to bring under that legislation.

Biden tried to make a fool out of progressives and rushed to Capitol Hill to convince them to vote for the infrastructure bill without offering the text of the social reconciliation bill.

He had to rush toward Glasgow to attend the climate summit and wanted to wrap up the agenda in a hurry.

However, in a closed-door meeting, he received merciless trashing from the progressive caucus, whose demands of showing the actual text of the spending package were ignored completely by him.

Two moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinnema are also behind Democrats negotiated social spending bill, which was the golden opportunity for Biden to get it passed from Congress.

Two moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinnema are also behind Democrats negotiated social spending bill, which was the golden opportunity for Biden to get it passed from Congress.

Biden Has Nothing to Lose Right Now
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Biden has already declared that his presidency and the Democrats majority in both House and the Senate are dependent on how his economic agenda unfolds in the upcoming days.

With this much at stake, he had no need to come at crossroads with the progressives, who are in the driver’s seat of pushing his legislative agenda in either direction.

This was perhaps the ideal opportunity for the president, as both Kyrsten Sinnema and Joe Manchin are already convinced to vote in favor of the negotiated social spending legislation.

Hiding the text from progressives only means that Biden is trying to exclude some very important provisions which the caucus dearly wants in the bill.

Playing along these lines is dangerous for him, as it will be a short-lived strategy because it will crack the trust of the progressive caucus badly on his presidency, who will be looking forward to spending Biden’s other upcoming policies.

Secondly, although progressives have agreed to compromise on the social spending bill, now their demand of bringing the two bills together also holds water.

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Moderates’ ambitions of passing the infrastructure bill all alone do not contain much weight now, as Democrats, in general, are convinced on both the legislations now.

Nancy Pelosi knows the importance of passing Biden's economic agenda as soon as possible. However, up till now she is unable to bring every one on board.

Nancy Pelosi knows the importance of passing Biden’s economic agenda as soon as possible. However, up till now she is unable to bring every one on board.

Final Thoughts

Both Nancy Pelosi and the President are going through a crucial phase of their tenures as Biden has nothing to brag about except his infrastructure and spending bill in the 2022 elections.

And with only one year left and the unpassed bills, Biden is being pushed in the dead-end tunnel due to his own inability to bring the team of 222 House members and 50 Senators together.

Meanwhile, Republicans are busy cashing in on the Democrats’ weakness of not passing their bills despite having majorities everywhere.

For passing the infrastructure bill, Biden is even ignoring the fact that it is bipartisan legislation that got the votes of Senate Republicans as well.

He could have tried to team up with them as well to get the bill passed and to start the infrastructure development; however, not relying on data and numbers is costing him too much during his opening year of presidency.

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