The Democratic Party, which currently holds all power in Washington, is in a phase of implosion. The so-called ‘progressives’, the left wing on Capitol Hill, continue to condition any law that has to do with public financing and budgets on the approval of a pharaonic plan of $ 3.5 trillion (to change, about 3,020,000,000,000 euros) to which the Republicans and the moderates of their own party are opposed.
The president, meanwhile, has taken the initiative to try to save a consensus infrastructure plan, and an expansion of the spending ceiling. In a last minute maneuver, yesterday Joe Biden made the rare decision to appear on Capitol Hill to meet with all the Democrats, and try to convince them to put their differences aside. The president was himself a senator for 36 years, and he knows the importance of those gestures.
This Friday the frantic meetings continued to try to reach a compromise, which seemed increasingly unattainable. For now, Democrats were able to postpone the government shutdown for two months on Thursday by approving a budget extension. But there is still a pending investment plan in infrastructure of 1 trillion dollars, agreed with the Republicans, and, most urgently, expand the spending ceiling. If the latter is not done, the US government may begin to default on October 18. Biden has made investment in infrastructure and social spending a crucial part of his agenda.
Already at dawn on Thursday, the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, He postponed a vote on the infrastructure package, which is urgent because it also finances the so-called Federal Highway Administration, which is dedicated to supervising road transport and manages federal aid to those highways.
It is true that the Democrats control the White House and the Capitol, but their majorities in the latter are meager. They have a single vote advantage 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 the senator Bernie Sanders.
The famous social spending plan of the 3.5 trillion includes all types of unemployment, housing, education and environment benefits. Two Democratic senators see it as impossible, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kristen Sinema of Arizona, both from Republican states. The first has said that the maximum that is proposed is a social spending package of 1.5 trillion, which is already half a trillion more than investment in infrastructure. The so-called progressives are opposed.
Much to his regret, Biden has become the main mediator between the two factions of his own party, which they could actually pass it all on their own and without a single Republican vote. The president was making calls and trying to bring positions closer until the early hours of Thursday and throughout the day yesterday. He even canceled a trip to Chicago on Wednesday in order to help reach a point of consensus that seems far away. After those marathon days, the week ended yesterday with his trip to the Capitol.
Everything the Democrats do now is going to take its toll on them. In one year, by-elections are held again, in which a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives are renewed. According to the latest polls, Republicans can regain at least a majority in the latter. Biden’s popularity has also plummeted after the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.