After failing to get his $3.5 trillion social spending plan passed, Joe Biden is more desperate than ever to pass something. Unfortunately for him, that something appears to be a stripped-down version of the plan that comes in at $1.75 trillion—literally, half the original plan that he laughably claimed was “already paid for.”
And desperate might be an understatement. Many House Democrats are furious that the new version of the spending bill leaves out some of their big priorities, but Biden realizes that the failure to pass anything could have severe consequences for him.
“I need you to help me. I need your votes,” Biden reportedly told House Democrats in a private meeting, a source in the room told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week,” Biden added.
Biden might be right. Democrat strategist Douglas Schoen said last month that the fates of Biden’s presidency and the Democrats’ majority in Congress “hang it the balance” over their $3.5 trillion spending bill. Schoen argued at the time that Biden and Democratic leaders needed to “work to negotiate down the size of the $3.5 trillion spending bill to something that moderate Democratic senators — namely, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — can get on board with.”
If this doesn’t happen, Schoen says Biden’s presidency “could be left in tatters, with nothing to show for legislatively on both traditional infrastructure and on so-called ‘human infrastructure.’”
But, it appears that Biden’s problem at this point is not getting Manchin and Sinema on board. Instead, Biden assured House Democrats that all 50 Democrats in the Senate would back this trimmed-down bill. “I am back here to tell you that we have a framework that will get 50 votes in the United States Senate,” Biden explained. “We badly need a vote on both of these measures.”
This is likely the case, as both senators have previously indicated that they could support something significantly smaller than the $3.5 trillion. Still, neither has committed to supporting the new plan, and some House Democrats won’t back the new plan unless it clears the Senate first.
Unfortunately for Biden, disgruntled progressives who have no interest in compromise are his new Achilles heel, as key priorities of the far-left Democrats, such as 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and the child tax credit extension, are no longer in the bill. And with majorities in both the House and Senate, they are not content to accept anything less.
This is exactly the kind of situation Biden assured us he was uniquely qualified to handle with ease. His decades of experience in the Senate should have made achieving compromise a cinch for him, but instead, he’s begging Democrats to get on board—mostly to save his presidency. This is a colossal failure in leadership on his part. Regardless of whether he manages to get the $1.75 trillion passed, he won’t be able to keep the moderate and progressive wings of his party happy at the same time. There will always be issues they won’t agree on, and by the time the progressive wing figures out they need to accept less, they’ll be back in the minority.