“Reconciliation”, a tactic permitted by the Senate parliamentarian, to allow some bills to pass if 51 votes are gained, has led to the passage of the COVID 19 relief legislation in March, and it may be that it will be utilized to gain the passage of the Infrastructure bill, which has been unable to gain Republican support over the past two months of negotiation.
This Congress is the 4th time we have had an evenly divided US Senate, after the 47th Congress (1881-1883); the 83rd Congress (1953-1955); and the 107th Congress (2001-2003).
The tactic can be used only sparingly, but whether it can be employed for a multitude of other Joe Biden initiatives, including on voting rights, criminal justice reform, and health care and education advancements is doubtful.
There is the possibility, sadly, that Joe Biden may be stopped in making massive changes, similar to what Barack Obama faced in 2011-2017, and that is so infuriating!
And the danger that the party in the White House almost always loses seats and or control in the midterm elections, presents a real challenge to Democrats in 2022, when with two thirds of the Senate seats up for election in that year being Republican held seats, and at least five incumbent Republicans not running for reelection.
The Republicans in Congress are committing political suicide by refusing en masse to support President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, as well as the earlier COVID 19 legislation, and apparently, every other initiative, just as they did with Barack Obama during his Presidency.
The difference is that polls show a vast majority of Americans, including many Republican voters, actually like what Joe Biden is doing, and that they understand the need for bipartisanship in a time of the worst health crisis in a century, and the worst economic crisis in 90 years.
The rate of vaccinations is being accomplished much faster than Joe Biden had projected, nearing 200 million shots, twice what he forecast for the first 100 days of his Presidency.
And the economy is reviving, with nearly one million new jobs in March.
All this and more insures Joe Biden and the Democrats will have public backing for gun regulations, rise in the minimum wage, and so much more, and the Republicans will be left in the dust of history, due to their intransigence!
President Joe Biden is making clear in his $2 trillion infrastructure legislation proposal that it is long past the time when the nation needs a repairing and expansion of our roads, bridges, railways, airports, ports, and waterways, including the promotion of electric vehicles, and insuring infrastructure resiliency to withstand climate related disasters. There is also a need for modernizing public transit, and to double federal funding.
Biden also wants to expand high speed broadband; upgrade and build public schools and community colleges; as well as water infrastructure projects, public housing projects, VA Hospitals and Clinics; retrofit more than two million homes and commercial properties; improve the Electric Grid; expand high speed Broadband; provide caregivers for the elderly and disabled; promote clean energy and technology to deal with the climate crisis; and promote workforce protection.
This proposal is forward looking, and would match the significance of the Interstate Highway system promoted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s, and the significance of the Transcontinental Railroad system promoted by President Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s, as well as the promotion of the Space Programs under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s!