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Biden's Trap

With razor-thin margins of Democratic control in Congress, US President Joe Biden came to the White House with an unenviable task. His administration must deliver on its promise of introducing sweeping new federal programs while at the same time placating moderates who, by definition, oppose radical policy measures.

WASHINGTON, DC – When the election gods handed Joe Biden the presidency in 2020, they set a trap that he walked right into. The question – one that could define his presidency and affect the 2024 presidential election – is whether he can escape the trap formed by the narrow margins the Democratic Party has in both chambers of Congress. Along with the presidency, Biden was handed a 50-50 vote in the Senate, with the deciding vote to be cast by Vice President Kamala Harris, and an eight-vote margin in the House of Representatives. Thus, one Democratic Senator or four Democratic Representatives can block any Biden initiative.

Notwithstanding this, Biden proposed the expansion or initiation of numerous domestic programs, with improvements to the “social safety net” and environmental efforts, including:

• expanded child tax credits;
• child-care assistance;
• expanded Medicaid coverage, and Medicare to include eye, hearing, and dental care;
• allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with drug companies;
• home health-care coverage;
• two tuition-free years of community college;
• universal pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds; and
• aggressive efforts to combat climate change.

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