The Democratic Agenda is in Disarray

Just under a week into the current election year, Senate Democrats admit their big legislative plan is in disarray.

In the wake of the November 2021 elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Democrats believed they needed to do more in Congress.

President Biden pushed the $1 trillion, bipartisan economic stimulus package in mid-November, but the remainder of his plan is blocked.

Democrats anticipate Republicans will filibuster voting rights measures again later this month; they also expect a vote to amend Senate rules to end the GOP roadblock.

Democrats’ Major Plans

Leftists believe the blocked Build Back Better plan, which needs to be altered to get Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin on board, won’t be heard until March.

Also, the top four congressional leaders haven’t settled on an omnibus budget plan to finance the administration by Feb. 18, when the previous temporary solution expires.

Even the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which will also fund $52 billion for semiconductor innovation and manufacture, has stagnated in the House.

One Democrat senator claimed the ongoing stalemate over voting rights, Senate rules changes, and the Build Back Better plan is draining everyone’s energy.

Nothing is moving ahead, the congressman added.

Everything has been drowned out by the battle to pass the voting rights law and Build Back Better, given the GOP’s adamant resistance to electoral reform and Manchin’s profound qualms about new social stimulus programs. 

Joe Manchin and Build Back Better

On Wednesday, Manchin indicated he had no immediate intentions of negotiating with Biden on Build Back Better.

“Guys, I believe I made my opinion very clear,” Manchin said, chuckling.

 

Democrats stuffed the Build Back Better Act with climate change funds, extended child tax credits, universal pre-kindergarten, and prescription medication price reform.

With the nuclear alternative, Manchin virtually eliminated any possibility of enacting Schumer’s voting rights bill to bring to the floor. 

It’s tough to accept a rule change that creates a nuclear option. It’s a big task, Manchin remarked.

Manchin said he supports keeping the Senate’s 60-vote barrier for legislative passage. Still, he is open to more modest modifications, such as reducing the procedural vote threshold for opening a floor discussion.

The West Virginia senator also supports lowering the bar for breaking a filibuster to three-fifths of the senators entitled to vote.

However, Manchin wants to amend the rules with Republican backing, getting 17 GOP votes. Priorities like gun control and immigration policies have gotten little discourse or consideration under the current Democrat Senate majority.

Democrats wanted to include an immigration reform bill in the Build Back Better package. Still, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough argued it didn’t conform to the Byrd rule guiding the budget settlement.

According to the Pew Research Center, Congress’ 30 substantive bills approved before the August vacation matched the fifth least among the 18 Congresses since 1987.

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