“The clock is ticking for President Biden and White House officials to broker an agreement among congressional Democrats on the president’s economic agenda as patience in some corners wears thin.”
So says The Hill, with less than two weeks to go until the latest deadline for passage of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger, one-party social spending and climate bill. While the popular infrastructure bill has been ready to go for two months — just a House vote away from Biden’s desk — Democrats haven’t even decided yet what will go in the other package.
The New York Times says lawmakers are “still at odds. … Liberals remain insistent that the bill — initially conceived as a cradle-to-grave social safety net overhaul on par with the Great Society of the 1960s — include as many programs as possible, while more moderate lawmakers have called for large investments in just a few key initiatives.” Of course, the Great Society was passed in a very different way, under very different circumstances. It consisted of nearly 200 bills, not two; the major components passed with bipartisan support; and the president at the time had just been elected in a landslide, with sweeping majorities in both houses.
Biden desperately needs a win, and he alone can break through the impasse. As Dan Balz of the Washington Post writes, Biden needs to sit down with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer “to settle on something and persuade all sides to get behind it. He has shown patience or passivity, depending on the perspective, but the time for choosing is not far into the future.”
The popular bipartisan infrastructure bill can be on Biden’s desk by Halloween. All he has to do is pick up the phone.