The COVID-19 bill reveals five things about how Washington will operate in the Biden era


President Biden will sign a law soon 1.9 trillion dollar bill Designed to boost the economy and help the United States deal with the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic.This is only the second bill Biden has signed into law And probably one of the most important. So let’s see what we learned from the process of making this legislation:

Biden’s Democratic Party is more liberal and populist than Obama or Clinton’s version.

In 2009, Barack Obama entered the White House, and the Democrats controlled the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.This Great Recession Still fully effective, the first thing the party did was to propose a stimulus bill.But many Democrats, especially More moderate congressman, Worry about being considered to support excessive spending.So the Democrats make sure that the bill Cost is less than US$1 trillion, Finally landed on $787 billion figure.

How White House Economists Consider COVID-19 Relief | 58

Twelve years later, the Democratic Party passed a bill with approximately twice the expenditure of the 2009 bill. The economic challenges posed by COVID-19 are very different from those caused by the collapse of the banking and real estate bubbles in 2008, so it is difficult to compare and explain whether the stimulus in 2009 or this stimulus is closer to the optimal spending range for stimulating the economy . But in my opinion, compared with 2009, the increase in spending in the 2021 stimulus bill is not only related to underlying economic conditions.The Democratic Party today is Further left Compared with the 2009 version-in particular, it is more open to spending and less worried about being portrayed as a big government liberal.Therefore, although the bill is about boosting the economy in the short term due to COVID-19, it also includes some Free policy Even if there is no lockout caused by the coronavirus, Democrats may try to adopt, such as increasing the child tax credit to $3,000 per school-age child with Increase subsidies For those who purchase health insurance through the “Affordable Care Act”.

In fact, the left wing of the party very happy With this legislation.

“This is spending on the scale of the problem,” said Mike Conchar, Director of the Progressive Roosevelt Institute.

He added: “This has not diminished because of fear of doing too much, showing restraint or being cynical about debt. Excellence.”

David Dyne Describes the bill As a “down payment to reverse 40 years of unequal treatment of the American middle class”.

“The U.S. rescue plan is the most important legislation that benefits working people in the country’s modern history,” Senator Bernie Sanders said.

What has changed since 2009 to make the Democratic Party more satisfied with this bill?Most importantly, the left wing of the party—think Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—has More power and influence, Pulling moderate figures like Biden to the left. Democrats also seem to have concluded that large spending or being portrayed as being too eager to spend federal funds does not pose much of an election risk.This may be because it is not clear whether the Republican Party suffered losses in the election due to the large increase in the national debt. During Trump’s presidency.

Democrats, especially Biden, seem to have also learned some lessons from the early days of Obama’s presidency…

For Biden, “unity” does not necessarily mean bipartisan cooperation.

Before Biden took office Developed a $1.9 trillion proposal Used for COVID-19 relief. I think this is a negotiation strategy, and he will lower this number, partly to win the Republican votes on Capitol Hill. He didn’t.Instead, Biden and his assistant meet Republicans in Congress He also expressed that the government is willing to reach a compromise with the Republican Party-but Biden has never fundamentally changed his proposal. The Biden administration seems to prioritize setting its policy goals, rather than trying to reach an agreement that Democrats think the Republicans are not interested in anyway. (We will introduce the Republicans’ position in detail later.)

Biden’s approach shows that the former vice president has drawn political experts and political experts from the Obama era. Other Democratic politicians Indeed: Regardless of the details, the Republican Party may not be willing to reach an agreement with the Democratic president on major legislation.The Obama administration spent several months in 2009 negotiating with Republicans in Congress on what is now called Obamacare, even though now It’s fairly clear that Republicans will never reach an agreement And make one of Obama’s iconic legislation become bipartisan.

If they have any guiding significance for the practice of the COVID-19 relief bill, then it seems that Biden and his aides have not completely abandoned the president’s solidarity rhetoric. From his inauguration speech -They are just unwilling to sacrifice legislative goals for pursuit.Instead, the Biden team is implementing ceremony Two-party cooperation- Hold regular meetings Maintain friendly relations with Congressional Republicans and be polite to them-and pass legislation that seeks to be welcomed by a large number of Republicans voter (And keep Emphasize this point).For example, polls show A large piece Republican voters stand by Stimulus package.

However, can Biden’s main initiative get a large number of votes from the Republican Party? At this point, it seems very, very unlikely.Democrats in Congress are already discussing using Reconciliation process Again-this is how this stimulus package was formulated- Pass the infrastructure billBy using settlements, Democrats can bypass Senate obstruction bills and pass legislation without any Republican votes.

The Democratic Party has a big obstruction problem.

Democrats like Sanders are eager to increase the minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief bill because it may be one of the few major laws enacted this year—at least as long as the obstruction bill still exists.But members of the Senate stated that the $15 federal minimum wage Will violate the budget rules Manage what can be included in the settlement bill. So the Democrats deleted it from the legislation.

As long as the 60-vote threshold remains, the $15 minimum wage is probably not the only major part of the Democratic agenda that has not won.Bill to Reform the electoral system, Limit discrimination Against Americans Based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and Change policing practices As a result of obstructing the bill, the proposals passed recently in the House of Representatives also appeared to be dead when they arrived in the Senate.

Democrats also have a big Manchin-Sinema problem.

Of course, this is the most real thing for those who obstruct the discussion.Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are the most outspoken Democrats Oppose getting rid of obstructionAnd because Democrats only control 50 Senate seats, as long as any Democrat (and all Republicans) are willing, obstruction of the bill will always exist.

But at least based on this stimulus process, the Democratic Party may encounter the Manchin-Sinema problem and even set aside the obstruction bill. In particular, it will continue to be difficult to get the vote of the Senator from West Virginia. Biden may get a house, an airplane, and an oval office, but the number of years in office is likely to depend mainly on what Manchin wants (and doesn’t want).

The Democratic Party’s COVID Relief Act is popular, but the Republican Party may not vote for it

In this stimulus bill, Manchin joined some more conservative Democrats in forcing the party to restrict cash payments to individuals Annual income is less than US$80,000, And the bill initially allowed people with an income of no more than $100,000 to get at least some money.Manchinya Successfully promoted the reduction of enhanced unemployment benefits The bills range from US$400 to US$300 per week.When the bill passed Congress, Manchin Declared against Biden was nominated at the time to effectively manage the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden (Neera Tanden) Strangle her nomination. The senator has hinted He is cautious about supporting the infrastructure bill If it does not have some GOP support.

Having said that, Manchin, he represents a country Biden lost 39 percentage points in 2020, It did support the $1.9 trillion bill. Therefore, let us not exaggerate his resistance to the party’s main goals.

Republicans are using their Obama era script.

By sticking to its $1.9 trillion price tag and including priorities unrelated to COVID-19, the Democrats almost assured the Republicans’ strong opposition to the bill. At the same time, it is not clear whether only a few Republicans will vote for Biden’s stimulus plan.Voting ends Trump’s impeachment And remove And controversy Representing Liz Cheney with Marjorie Taylor Green Republicans in Congress have been split.So Republican congressional leaders want United party Against Biden’s stimulus bill.

Even if they don’t want to overcome the friction in the party against Trump, Republicans may have still Mobilize against the bill.All signs indicate that Republicans believe that the way to regain control of the House and/or Senate next year is Repeat the Obama era strategy: Strongly and completely opposed to the agenda of the current Democratic president.

These are my main conclusions from the COVID-19 Relief Act. Nothing is completely surprising, but this process has clarified how Biden approached his presidency.

During and after the 2020 election campaign, Biden had Suggestions can convince some Republicans to support his agenda Because of his personality and long term on Capitol Hill.These comments were (and may be) very clever in politics and elections, because most voters Hope that all parties will work togetherIf the president at least shows the surface of wanting to cooperate with them, then most legislators will like him more. But it seems that this rhetoric is like this: veneer. I mean, maybe Biden actually thinks he can win some Republican votes, and the COVID-19 relief bill shows him how impossible this is. However, it is more likely that Biden’s talk about cooperating with Republicans has been a political expediency.

When things became reality, Biden passed a bill with only Democratic votes, without making major changes to appease Republicans and somehow defined bipartisan cooperation. Does not include getting any stand by From Republican congressmanBiden cannot change the underlying partisanship dynamics in Washington, no matter what he tells voters during the campaign, he seems to know this very well.

Why some Senate Democrats voted against raising the minimum wage

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