Biden Met With Sinema and Manchin to Discuss the Budget Bill.
In regards to the circumstances and politics surrounding the infrastructure and budget bills set to be voted on by the end of the month, I sometimes find myself wondering how I would handle the situation if I were President Biden. In particular, how would I handle Senators like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who are theoretically acting as obstacles to legislation that would not only indefinitely be the foundation of my legacy as President, but more importantly have a lasting impact on the lives of the vast majority of Americans throughout the country. Recently, it was reported that Biden had separate meetings with Senators Sinema and Manchin to discuss the budget bill, and it will be fascinating to see what comes of it.
As I have said on multiple occasions, if Biden cares about anything at all it is his legacy. While I thoroughly disagree with his approach or stance on a number of important issues — medicare for all and the $15 minimum wage being among them — it appears patently obvious that he genuinely cares about how history will view him and the lasting impact he could leave on the country. While I see nothing as of yet that would suggest he has the courage or convictions to be the next FDR, it seems apparent that he has enjoyed those comparisons. All that said, it remains to be seen how much he associates this budget bill with his legacy, and whether he does or not will be made clear by just how hard he is willing to fight for this bill.
It is clear that Biden wants something passed. But, how much money is he willing to fight for is the question. What, exactly, is he willing to have stripped from this bill? As impressed as I am with Bernie Sanders and progressive lawmakers fighting as hard as they are for the passage of this budget bill as it stands right now, I would genuinely be shocked if the final amount was $3.5 trillion. What Biden is willing to settle for is what Democratic leadership will settle for, and the pressure for progressives to cave will only intensify. In all likelihood, the figure will probably be around $2–2.5 trillion. The progressives voting yes on a figure any less than that would be a significant defeat, and they’ve put too much into this now to stoop lower.
But what’s going to be in the final product? After meeting with Manchin and Sinema, will Biden signal to Democratic leadership that provisions to combat climate change must be cut? Will free community college and paid family leave be out? Or, will he tell Manchin and Sinema that they had better get on board?
At this point, I just want it all to be over with. I’ve seen too much over the past few years alone to get my hopes up too much, but it will be interesting to see whether Biden even cared about this bill at all. Will Manchin and Sinema sway him, or will he sway them?
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