On day 1 of his administration, Joe Biden delighted progressives with a spate of Executive Orders targeting everything from the environment to international trade agreements to travel bans. Much of it undid the work the Trump administration had done by Executive Order. In the following days, the Biden administration unveiled its $1.9 trillion Stimulus package, a massive Immigration bill and its 100 Day Agenda.
Since that time…. crickets. No, literally, I mean crickets. The Biden administration has also been surprisingly mum about how it plans to pass its massive $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Plan when it includes hundreds of billions in aid for states the GOP almost universally opposes. And the Biden team’s lack of a plan speaks to what progressives feared of Biden. He is not a true progressive. He was just enough progressive to woo the part of the base not won over just by not being Trump. Biden does not truly seem to believe in sending checks to struggling families.
Just consider the strategy the White House is pursuing on its two largest hot – button issues it has announced, relief and immigration. Instead of splitting the relief bill into bite sized chunks, Biden and Democrats went all in on a massive bill and waited for Republicans to blink. Republican’s didn’t. Instead, they almost universally came out against the bill because they could pick and choose what they wanted to oppose it on. This could not be done if the Biden team had on Day 1 put out a bill calling for $1,400 or $2,000 checks for many Americans. Republicans would be in disarray and even if it failed it would fail with some Republicans voting for it. Other pieces, COVID aid, state and local funding. business support, etc. would have been easy to hang around the GOP’s necks. But oh no, the Biden team did not do that. They threw out a massive bill they knew could not pass immediately, delaying the aid they sought.
This is not just shockingly inept but also a sign the Biden administration really had no plans nor a theme to run on other than “we’re not Trump.” Or maybe not. Perhaps, the Biden administration really did want to put out a massive package they knew had no chance of immediate passage for it to be watered down by moderates in both parties. Earlier this week, Republican Senator Susan Collins (ME) and Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) were seen at the White House after saying they both opposed the initial package. Putting out a bipartisan package might play well in media optics but for struggling Americans who voted to have a more efficient government the slow pace and moderate package is just another broken promise.
On immigration, the entire package should not even have been released. It has no shot of passage. First, because Republicans have little incentive to support it. Secondly, because unlike budget related items, a massive immigration bill only has random items fit within the reconciliation rules process. Once again, it seems like the administration either had no plan or just never wanted to pass immigration reform in the first place.
These examples speak of what we are in for for the next two years. A new, do – nothing government simply wrapped in a kinder, gentler face. But the economic hardships millions of Americans of all political stripes are facing is unlikely to be alleviated.
One could take this argument a step further and argue there really are now three parties in America. The first two are the traditional Democratic and Republican parties. The third, new party, is moderates on both sides of the aisle who follow the post WWII consensus of perceived moderation, neo – liberal economics which does nothing but prop up the current system and institutional longevity. In truth, despite his long career in politics, Biden probably fits this third party better. He is beholden to the systems and institution, meaning the era of do – nothing government is here. Just in a kindler, gentler package.