Not a visit by the president to the Capitol could save the Democratic Party of the enormous crisis that is living these days. Even holding all power in Washington, he is unable to pass a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure investment package and a $ 3.5 trillion social spending package. The so-called progressives and the centrists are fighting over the level of spending, alarmed as they are by the proximity of the by-elections next year.
President Joe Biden he was unable to seal the peace in his meeting with Democratic lawmakers on Thursday. This Saturday, on the way to his home in Delaware, he insisted that “there is no reason why both laws cannot be passed.” He added: “There is nothing in any of those laws that can be considered radical.”
The truth is that the centrist Democrats, or moderate As they are called, they believe that 3.5 trillion dollars (3,020,000,000,000 euros) in environmental, health and social programs is an excess, which will also be financed by raising taxes on the highest incomes and companies. There are two senators blocking the approval of that spending plan, both from conservative states: Joe Manchin West Virginia and Kristen Cinema de Arizona.
And if they block the social spending plan, the on the left of the party, commanded by the senator Bernie Sanders and several deputies such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, refuse to give final approval to the infrastructure plan, which is in fact supported by both Biden and the bulk of the Republicans.
This is a crisis created by the Democrats, suffered by the Democrats and that those same Democrats will surely end up paying in the elections. Republicans have simply stepped aside and watched the spectacle, barely able to hide their glee. It’s like when Donald Trump was unable to revoke the health reform of Barack Obama although his party had a majority in both houses of the Capitol.
For now, the only thing the Democrats have done to overcome a major crisis is to extend state funding until December to avoid a government shutdown, and approve another extension of a program that pays for road maintenance. The deadline to renew both games was midnight on Friday. A date set by fire is on the horizon: according to the Treasury, on October 18 the US will go into suspension of payments with its creditors if the spending ceiling is not increased.
A very high price
There has never been a suspension of payments in the US due to disagreement on the spending ceiling – there was a brief episode of partial default in 1979 that was attributed to a technical problem – and it would be devastating. Moody’s Analytics has predicted that failing to raise the spending ceiling in the midst of a pandemic would cost the US economy up to 6 million jobs, cause losses of $ 15 trillion, and make the unemployment rate will increase to about 9%, from 5.2%. The country’s public debt amounts to $ 28.427 trillion. It increased $ 8 trillion under Donald Trump, but Republicans don’t want to allow Biden and Democrats to raise that borrowing cap, putting limits on their social spending plans.
It is true that the Democrats control the White House and the Capitol, but their majorities in the latter are slim. A single vote in the Senate and eight in the House of Representatives. That gives an unusual power to the so-called progressives, a group of almost 100 deputies led by Senator Bernie Sanders. Much to his regret, Biden has become the main mediator between both factions of his own party, who could actually pass it all on their own and without a single Republican vote. The president made calls and tried to bring positions closer all week. He even canceled a trip to Chicago on Wednesday to help reach a deal that seems far away.
According to what several of the Democrats present at the meeting he had in the Capitol on Thursday night told the Ap agency, Biden proposed cutting the social spending plan – which he himself supported in his day – from those 3.5 billion to about two trillions, something that so-called progressives are squarely opposed to. This Saturday, as he left the White House on his way to Delaware, the president admitted: “Everyone is frustrated, that’s part of governing, being frustrated.”