Paralyzed by one senator’s veto of his giant environmental and social reforms that are supposed to arm the United States with the challenges of the 21st century, and powerless in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, Joe Biden saw his presidency crack on all sides on Monday.
Back at the White House after a weekend with his family, the Democratic president, dressed in a thick black mask, walked toward the Oval Office without a word or a glimpse to the reporters who were waiting for him as his helicopter landed.
His agenda, for now, does not expect any public appearances on Monday.
His “Building Back Better” plan, $1.750 billion in spending to make America triumph over climate change and competition from China, received a fatal blow this weekend after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who vetoed, decided to vote against.
The 79-year-old president was content so far with a tweet, in which he said he was “more determined than ever” to advocate for this project, among other things, to drastically lower the cost of insulin.
Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer was trying to raise morale by promising in a statement: “We’ll vote on a revised version of the ‘big bill,’ and we’ll keep voting until we get something.”
France Press agency
But what would be the most important project of the Biden presidency without Joe Manchin’s voice?
After revealing that Sunday on the conservative Fox News that Donald Trump was fond of, the West Virginia representative-elect reiterated Monday in an interview with West Virginia Metro News Radio that he would not vote for these “very, very, very ambitious reforms” aimed at lowering the cost of caring for Children or medicines, subsidizing the purchasing power of families or encouraging the purchase of electric cars.
This medium fears the inflationary impact and considers that the aid should be more targeted.
Without him, there would be no Democratic majority in the Senate. And it is impossible to count, as Joe Biden did recently for a vote in favor of massive infrastructure spending, the votes of the opposition: Republicans believe that “Building Back Better” would push America toward “socialism,” the ultimate political deterrent in the United States.
The White House on Sunday expressed its frustration in an unprecedented statement of ferocity from its spokeswoman Jen Psaki, criticizing a “sudden inexplicable turnaround” and a “violation” of Joe Manchin’s commitments.
The senator said somewhat vaguely on Monday, after brutally ending discussions, that for weeks he has been the subject of all the White House’s attention.
The shift further erodes Joe Biden’s political credit, whose confidence rating is already very low, one year away from a midterm legislative election that could turn into a disaster for Democrats.
The president, a former senator who prides himself on unparalleled mastery of the parliamentary game, has personally invested in Joe Manchin — much to the chagrin of progressives in his party, who feel duped.
France Press agency
Helpless in the face of the senator of a small rural nation of 1.7 million people, the president also appears to be facing the new wave of COVID-19 sweeping the country, which is already the world’s most bereaved by the pandemic, with more than 800,000 deaths so far.
Across the country, lines stretch in front of testing centers, sports competitions and shows are cancelled, universities are sending students home…a disaster for Joe Biden, who was elected with a promise after the chaos of the Trump presidency of ending the pandemic.
But how do you keep that promise in a deeply divided country where the power of the federal state is limited anyway? Where is any restriction whether wearing a mask or vaccinations subject to controversy and several legal treatments?
Joe Biden is scheduled to speak to Americans on Tuesday about the Omicron variant. His health crisis advisor, Anthony Fauci, announced the color on Sunday: “We’re going to go through tough weeks or months as winter approaches.”
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