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President Biden’s Agenda Faces Several Roadblocks in the Senate

Erik Sofranko

Posted on July 7, 2021 04:21

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Progressives are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress being made by the Democrat-led House, Senate, and White House on key legislation.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have repeatedly stated they will not support eliminating the legislative filibuster. Both Arizona and West Virginia are conservative-leaning states. This forces Manchin and Sinema to carefully calculate their decisions in regard to the president’s policy proposals.

In a recent op-Ed in The Washington Post, Senator Manchin wrote, “In 2017 when Republicans held control of the White House and Congress, President Donald Trump was publicly urging Senate Republicans to eliminate the filibuster. Then, it was Senate Democrats who were proudly defending the filibuster. The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.”

 

During Trump’s presidency, Majority Leader McConnell preserved the legislative filibuster 60-vote threshold against Trump’s demands to eliminate.


Senator Sinema also weighed in with a Washington Post op-Ed in defense of preserving the legislative filibuster, which has acted as a roadblock to many progressive policy proposals. She wrote, “My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”

 
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has also expressed concern with the idea of lowering the vote threshold to pass key legislation. Her reputation as an institutionalist is in line with her willingness to speak out against an attempt to do so. Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana also holds this position, though neither Feinstein nor Tester are as vocal about their support for bipartisanship as Manchin and Sinema.

 
Progressives have not held back in their criticism of Democrats not being able to pass bold legislation that voters had been promised.

 
Prominent progressive political host and commentator Cenk Uygur has fiercely criticized the Biden administration and the Democratic Party for stalling on legislation and refusing to use their power.

 
Uygur tweeted, “Joe Biden’s first term is now over with Manchin saying he’s against both filibuster reform & For the People Act. Biden doesn’t have the inclination to fight back. They’ll get almost nothing done from now on. Manchin just handed Congress back to the GOP. He’s worse than a Republican… Joe Biden's plan all along was to pretend to have a bold progressive agenda, then pass Covid relief bill, a Republican infrastructure bill that's a fraction of his proposal and half of HR-1. If he does that, his legacy will be the ‘nothing will fundamentally change’ President.” 

 
In a little over a year, voters will decide control of the House and Senate for the 118th Congress. The political landscape in Washington D.C. may change yet again, and some Democrats may end up viewing several senators like Manchin and Sinema as principled lawmakers rather than obstructionists when the GOP again has control of the Senate with the legislative filibuster still in place.

Erik Sofranko

Posted on July 7, 2021 04:21

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Source: Daily Mail

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