This is the way the governing majority ends. This is the way the governing majority ends. This is the way the governing majority ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.
To be fair, nothing has ended quite yet — the midterm elections are more than a year away — but after a week came and went in which Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pledged votes on a trillion-dollar infrastructure package and some version of a $3.5 trillion spending bill, a Democratic standoff between the left and the center has made Congress empty-handed when it comes to delivering huge pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda.
There’s now a new deadline of Halloween, which is always auspicious, as Pelosi desperately tries to make two factions with their own sets of non-negotiables negotiate, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bends over backward to get Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to kindly explain what they might say yes to, not just the price tag at which they’ll balk.
We count ourselves strong supporters of most of the big bill Democrats aim to pass through reconciliation, which is overflowing with the long-overdue strengthening of the social safety net including free community college; dental and hearing and vision coverage under Medicare; free or low-cost child-care; and 12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers, which ought to be a minimum in a civilized and prosperous nation.
But Democrats, with the thinnest majority mathematically possible in the Senate and a pretty small margin in the House, need to hold their own to get it through, which means the whole thing could fall apart with one wrong move. And which also means they meanwhile need to pass a major piece of legislation that they and the president also claim to care a great deal about, the bipartisan infrastructure bill that would invest billions in public transit, roads, trains, bridges, broadband internet and climate resiliency.
Get what you can get, when you can get it. Or risk watching a tenuous governing coalition implode.
New York Daily News