Will Democrats Doom Their Own President?

slate.com
5 min read
fairly easy
A gulf between progressives and moderates places Joe Biden's agenda on brittle ground.
Jim Newell, Slate's senior politics writer, is focused on this coming Monday, Sept. 27. Because that is the day when many of President Joe Biden's legislative priorities will dramatically collide in Congress. There are two big bills the Democrats are trying to pass right now. One is a $550 billion infrastructure package negotiated with Republicans in the Senate. The other is a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which doesn't require Republican cooperation at all. Progressives want to pass the big bill first to make sure it becomes law. Moderates want to pass the compromise bill first, because spending $3.5 trillion sounds like a pipe dream. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said voting will begin on Monday, but progressives and moderates are basically threatening to tank each other's priorities if they don't get their own way. On Thursday's episode of What Next, I spoke with Newell about the mess the Democrats are facing, how it reveals a subtle shift in the center of gravity within the party, and whether Biden is in danger of having to kiss his agenda goodbye. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Mary Harris: Have you ever seen the progressives this angry or empowered since you've been covering Congress?

Jim Newell: I've never before seen them and thought, oh, they might actually go through with a threat this time, because they're not the equivalent of the Freedom Caucus and the Republicans who really don't care if they screw up everyone else's plans. Usually, progressives try to use their leverage, but they also understand that you have to keep this moving as a team to prevent embarrassing everyone. But this time, they really are willing to tank some plans because this is their last shot to get through a progressive agenda for potentially a pretty long time, and I think they want to make sure they have some leverage to make sure climate change is addressed, along with everything…
Mary Harris
Read full article