With any luck, this could be the last week of the Biden Agenda, as Senate Democrats are growing more and more impatient and demanding the Vice President do more to end the Senate’s logjam on a package of legislative priorities.
By now, the Biden Agenda, the legislative priorities of Vice President Joe Biden, must be old news. But, like many things about Joe Biden, much of it is widely known but not talked about.
Why does the Biden Agenda matter? Because this is the stuff that Joe Biden cares about.
Biden began his public life by championing civil rights issues, including the right to vote. And although he first became Vice President, he hasn’t just focused on issues that are important to African Americans, but broadly speaking, the good of the nation. He’s passed his fair share of bills that help poor Americans and, more than anybody, Biden is famous for being able to get legislation passed by relying on Senators from the other party who don’t have to worry about losing elections just because they voted for his bill.
Biden’s clout at times was controversial. Some considered him too open to bipartisan cooperation. But, if he strikes the right deals, Biden could still count on Democratic and Republican votes to get his agenda passed in the Senate.
As we know, President Obama has taken up many of Biden’s bills. The unemployment benefits extension. Child care. Education. And now the Biden Agenda.
When Obama began his presidency, he decided he would like to run for reelection after two terms. The result was the New Majority Project which asked the president to “think long and hard” about whether he wanted to run for reelection or set up his own reelection operation, with an eye toward helping him win another term. The New Majority Project believed that the next two years would be crucial in breaking through gridlock in Washington and upending Washington’s dysfunctional ways.
…And if the Biden Agenda moves forward, it could be a key part of an all-hands-on-deck effort to find solutions to some of the big challenges facing the country.
Over the past four years, Joe Biden has garnered great respect from the people he’s known for years, both Republicans and Democrats. But there is concern that the effort to get a Biden Agenda off the ground, slowed down as it has been by this logjam, may fizzle. What’s more, the effort could be stymied if Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill don’t have any confidence that the Vice President will persuade them to support a deal. And so a long line of bills that would benefit middle class Americans and that the Biden Agenda would support, fell by the wayside.
The Biden Agenda is hanging by a thread. If this becomes a partisan standoff, it may disappear.
Biden has met with the White House and Senate leaders to discuss ways to break the logjam. Biden has laid out an outline of what could be a package that would help tackle issues like human trafficking, homeownership and mental health.
But now, with a possible government shutdown looming, there are Democratic demands for new witnesses, new documents and new votes from Republicans before any deal can be brokered.
The White House and Senate Democrats are trying to forge a consensus.
Meanwhile, the Vice President is meeting with Democratic Senators and probably about a dozen others.