From day one of his administration, President Joe Biden pledged to oversee an overhaul of the U.S. economy and social safety net on a scale unprecedented since the New Deal and the Great Society.
But Thursday night, as a pair of Democratic senators threatened to derail the trillion dollar package in its entirety, Biden admitted that many of the package’s most important components were dead in the water.
Health Insurance Coverage For Dental Care? âIt’s a litter. “
Three months of paid parental leave? “It came down to four weeks.”
Community college tuition-free? “It’s not going to bring us all of that.”
What about the higher taxes on the wealthiest corporations and citizens of the country who were supposed to pay for all of this? Who knows.
âLook,â Biden said candidly at one point at a municipal CNN event, âin the United States Senate, when you have 50 Democrats, each is the president.â
The Biden Town Hall event was a tactical withdrawal study. While the president tacitly acknowledged that his grand designs for paid tuition fees, health insurance expansion, green energy investments and so many other Democratic priorities had either been curtailed be removed entirely from its ‘Build Better’ economic program, he insisted that give and take was part of the long tradition of legislative sausage-making – and promised that on the road, he would come back for more. rest of his program.
“I was a senator for 370 years and was relatively good at making deals.“
“I was a senator for 370 years,” Biden said to the audience’s laughter, “and I was relatively good at making deals.”
But beyond continued public statements of his long-standing faith in the power of compromise, town hall – only Biden’s 14th interview since his inauguration, according to the Daily Beast’s tally – was the clearest articulation to date. from the limits of an administration that has hedged on entirely eliminating any part of the president’s proposals.
Tax cuts on full coverage of community college tuition fees and overhaul of the nation’s electricity grid, for example, would all be on the way, Biden promised, whatever their fate in his yet-unwritten economic package.
âThat won’t give us everything,â Biden said of a $ 500 increase in the maximum Pell grant available to students with financial need, a third of what he proposed, âbut it’s a beginning”.
The town hall also amounted to a tacit recognition that the senses. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema – dubbed the “thug moderates” by an enraged member of the public that a pair of Democrats oppose the deal – grab the keys to the castle from the agenda servant of the president.
Biden has repeatedly singled out Manchin “and another person,” as he referred to Sinema, for their obstructionism, although he made it clear that the West Virginia senator was “not a bad guy.”
“He’s a friend,” Biden insisted. âHe always, at the end of the day, walked around and voted. “
In some areas, Biden said, he and Sinema are in sync, especially in areas related to the environment, and while there are “four or five issues” of continuing contention, he still sees a way to create ” a serious and serious piece of legislation that changes the dynamics for working class people in America and middle class people and starts getting the very rich and corporations to start paying their fair share.
âKidding aside, I think we can do it,â Biden said.
But Biden’s direct admission that Sinema “won’t raise a single dime in taxes on the side of corporations and wealthy people” – the mechanism by which the bulk of his package would actually be paid off – likely undermines his continued optimism about in the future of the agreement. And despite his vow that the administration will continue to pursue elements of its agenda in the future, given the likelihood that Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm election, it’s unclear how Biden plans to fulfill those promises.
As Biden said, “And so that’s where it kind of falls apart.”