Joe Biden stood in front of an aging bridge in Woodstock, New Hampshire on Tuesday as some of the first snowflakes of the winter began to fall, advertising $ 550 billion for the new infrastructure he had just signed. But this two-party infrastructure law, which will repair bridges and roads and expand Internet access and train connections across the country, is not enough, he said. The American middle class is, according to Biden, “hollowed out,” and the time has come to “rebuild the backbone of this nation.”
To that end, Biden wants Congress to approve a second set of spending proposals designed to reduce the cost of childcare, care for the elderly, housing and prescription drugs, as well as take greater leaps toward reducing the U.S. contribution to climate change. These are key elements on Biden’s agenda, and most democratic strategists believe their adoption is important to Democrats in next year’s by-elections. Biden’s top aides also think that taking the second step is crucial to reversing the shaky view of Americans about the president’s own performance.
But it is precisely those low approval classes – hovering in the 1940s by mid-November – that are undermining Biden’s chances of getting the so-called Build Back Better plan through Congress. It’s one of Washington’s physical laws that survey figures bring their own gravity. And right now, that means Biden is in a vicious vortex: his voting numbers make it harder to adopt his agenda, but his advisers believe that adopting his agenda is the best way to improve the vote.
Parliament can vote on the Build Back Better Act this week. But then it heads to the Senate, where Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have curbed the plan’s progress for months worried about raising rates, paid family leave, climate regulations and overall costs. Biden has so far taken a soft approach to Manchini and Sinema, and has preferred to listen to their views rather than support their program. But when parliament passes the law, it’s time for Biden to close the deal, and his sinking approvals combined with rising inflation may have further weakened his negotiating position with stubborn opponents in the Senate.
Several Democratic senators told TIME that current circumstances will not prevent the party assembly from passing the Build Back Better legislation by the end of the year, even though Biden signed an infrastructure law on both sides on Monday to eliminate it as a negotiating game to keep Manchin and Sinema. board. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to report on the costs and financial benefits of the proposal for social programs later this week. “There’s so much more here that benefits both states,” Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois says, referring to Manchin and Sinema. “We have to wait until the CBO scores are released on Friday. But that doesn’t detract from our commitment to accepting this. And if anything, it became very clear that we have to pass this before the end of the year.
The White House is trying to get ahead of the CBO’s cost estimate report, which is expected to call into question Democrats ’assurances that the bill will be paid in full, in part by stepping up enforcement of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against wealthy tax breaks. The administration has estimated that an increase in IRS funding of $ 80 billion could result in revenue of $ 400 billion over a decade. But CBO director Phillip Swagel said Monday according to New York Timesthat the return could be much lower: $ 120 billion in ten years.
White House Assistant Press Secretary Andrew Bates tried to sow distrust in an impartial government agency while traveling with Biden on Tuesday. “Everyone involved – moderates, liberals, etc. – has been broadly in agreement that the CBO has no experience in analyzing the amount of revenue gained from the repression of wealthy tax collectors exploiting every honest taxpayer,” Bates told reporters. Air Force Onessa.
Manchin and Sinema had already expressed concern about the size and scope of the Build Back Better bill before the CBO cost projections began to flow out. When inflation rises to a three-decade record of 6.2 percent, the idea of voting for something that has not been fully paid for may make them even less likely to support the package. Several well-known economists, including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, have come to the conclusion that these investments will not increase inflation because the package is designed to increase productivity. Other party members nonetheless support the bill. Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, expressed concern about the IRS’s ability to raise enough revenue along the way. “Well, let’s not speculate,” he told TIME. “Okay?”
But some Democrats point out that Biden would not be the only president to consume a deficit if it went to it. Donald Trump’s law on tax cuts and jobs – which cut individual tax rates and lowered the top corporate tax rate – was estimated to increase the deficit by $ 1.4 trillion in a decade when it was passed in 2017. “Republicans want to blame Biden for everything,” its Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown says. “Republicans are the ones who drove the deficit pit with this trillion and half-dollar Trump tax gift to rich people. We’re fixing some of it. Not enough, but little of it.”
The passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and nearly $ 2 trillion in stimulus funding earlier this year means Congress has now approved two of Biden’s three major spending proposals. These actions have been widely popular among voters, but this popularity has not massaged Biden. This has left a gap between Biden’s low public ratings and the popularity of the actions he and Democrats have taken so far.
Biden’s popularity began to decline in the summer as infections with the COVID-19 Delta variant increased across the country and Biden led a chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In recent months, there has been a debate among Democrats about the size of social spending and whether raising corporate taxes should be part of a plan to pay for it. White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Monday that Democrat talks have weakened public perception. “I’ve been doing press and communication for a while – I’ll tell you you’re not planning a communication strategy around the internal struggles of the Democratic Party in Washington,” Psaki told reporters. “It has been necessary to get this legislation done.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has revived and reduced unemployment, but rising demand for goods has led to supply chain bottlenecks and rising prices. Voters put these problems on Biden’s feet: According to a recent poll by the Washington Post-ABC News, 49 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s approach to handling a pandemic. The same poll showed that about half of Americans blame Biden for record inflation.
In the Senate Hall on Tuesday, Senator John Hickenlooper, a moderate Democrat in Colorado, argued that the poor presidential vote was not his fault but the result of long-standing supply chain problems before Biden’s presidency. They are “a reflection of temporary inflation caused by supply chain bottlenecks and then OPEC oil producers blocking supply and trying to cause harm,” Hickenlooper said, referring to an organization of 13 oil-exporting countries. which controls more than 35 percent of world oil exports.
Those close to Biden agree that these disruptions are temporary, and they believe the way out is to accept the Build Back Better package. “We need to get this law done,” says the Democrat strategist, who has ties to the White House. “We have a good way out of this. Some of it happens organically on its own, like COVID, the supply chain, and some of them need to be taken control.”
Voters expect how much Biden can control.