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Moderate Democrats Are Sabotaging the Biden Agenda

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It may be hard to remember but six months ago, Democrats had a kind of super momentum. The euphoria of the early days of a new president, plus a fierce urgency to do what was necessary to slow the pandemic brought Congressional Democrats together to pass a sweeping, $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, covering everything from vaccine distribution to unemployment to direct cash payments. The politics were not particularly complicated: Democrats had run on ending the pandemic efficiently and competently—that is, without telling people to eat fish tank cleaner. Signed on March 11, the American Rescue Act did what it set out to do: Vaccines got distributed and people got money. The bill was so good that many Republicans tried to take credit for it, despite not voting for it.

A half year later, and that sense of momentum has all but disappeared. Now, Democrats find themselves in an internecine quagmire as they try to push two bills, both of which continue the project began earlier this year, through the legislative bowels. One is a $1 trillion infrastructure bill with (some) bipartisan support that would boost the economy and rebuild the crumbling roads and bridges that politicians have been invoking for years. The other, a $3.5 trillion spending bill, would be the largest expansion of the welfare state since Lyndon Johnson administration, including money for Medicare expansion, universal pre-K, and (maybe) immigration reform.

That Democrats aren’t acting with a similar sense of urgency boggles the mind. This pair of bills now constitutes the entirety of what we might call a “Democratic agenda”—and, by extension, the party’s slim hopes of retaining its congressional majorities next fall hinges on their successful enactment. (The Democrats want to call........

© New Republic

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