Washington — President Biden’s passionate words to reduce gun violence, protect access to abortion, and protect voting rights are progressives who were once wary of choosing traditionalists in favor of compromise. Raised hope.
But now that the White House is looking past the final push of a $ 3.5 trillion spending bill that prioritizes its policy, there is growing concern that Mr Biden’s actions may not be as bold as his tone. Are-at least some of their key issues regarding that.
The spending plans that Democrats are about to pass through Congress are transformative, affecting almost every American at every stage of their lives, from free universal kindergartens to coverage of elderly care. This includes funding to address climate change, as well as funding to address the expansion of social programs and social safety nets.
But to address some of the other issues that Biden has posed as a threat to the foundations of American democracy, he must confront the mysterious rules that lead to his awe-inspiring Senate system. Let’s-and until then he made it’s clear that he doesn’t want to force the senator to change.
Personally, White House officials are trying to assure activists that they plan to pay serious attention to voting rights after the promotion of infrastructure ends at the end of the month. But it does almost nothing to relieve anxiety.
“I’m cautiously worried,” said Rev. Al Sharpton. He said he was worried that Mr Biden would not follow up on his lofty remarks and speeches in action. “There is a difference between passion and marriage.”
Mr Sharpton said he wanted the White House to pressure senators to support a “curve-out” of filibuster so that the voting bill could be passed by a simple majority.
“They aren’t saying they’re going to do that,” Sharpton said.
Mark H. Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League, said at a private meeting that he pressured the president and his senior aides to give voting rights by the necessary means. rice field. “If you can’t find the Republican 10 votes, you need to filibuster. You need to isolate and reform it,” he said. “It’s less important than protecting American democracy.”
According to Morial, the reaction from the president and his top aides has been silent.
“There isn’t much reaction,” he said. “I think I’m reluctant to telegram future developments.”
Biden used the soaring language to match the base’s passion for a particular issue.
“All life taken by a bullet penetrates our soul,” the president said in May after a mass shooting in San Jose, California. He also called gun violence in the United States an “epidemic” that required urgent action.
After the Supreme Court refused to block most abortion bans this month, Mr Biden called the decision “an unprecedented assault on women’s constitutional rights.”
And in a summer speech on the right to vote, he oppressed the right to vote, saying, “Assault on democracy, assault on freedom, who we are, are we Americans.” Assembled a destructive movement. “It threatens the very foundation of our country.”
But the question remains. What will come next?
At the crossroads of the domestic agenda, Mr. Biden had already had to reduce his policy goals on minimum wages, election safeguards and criminal justice reform in the face of resistance from Republicans and members. ..
This month, the president had to pull his pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after failing to gain enough support for a Democratic-controlled Senate nomination. When he admitted the amazing defeat of his gun control agenda.
White House spokesman Jen Psaki said the growing frustration among gun security advocates should be directed to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who voted against the measures supported by the president. Will certainly support their defense. ” .. “
That is not a satisfying answer for many activists.
“If we spend two years in full control of the Democratic Party and they break their promises on all of these issues, from guns to voting and abortion, it seems unthinkable and conceivable. It shouldn’t be, “said Eli Zupnick. A spokesman for Fix Our Senate, a coalition of more than 80 organizations working to eliminate filibuster. “But that’s what they’re trying to do, unless they ultimately deal with the filibuster they’re in the way.”
Stephen Spaulding, a senior counsel at the Common Cause, said Democratic voters are attuned to filibuster. Filibuster is a Senate procedural weapon that requires a majority of 60 votes to proceed with most bills.
“If it hasn’t been reformed and there is no action to protect voting and reproductive rights being attacked in states across the country, they will have serious problems,” he said. rice field. “They will ask the question:” Why did you care more about Senate rules than these priorities? “
Even the Senate Democratic Party’s rallying election bill is unlikely to get support from the Republicans, who claim the bill poses a threat to the party.
Mr Biden criticized the filibuster at his first formal press conference as president, saying it was “abused in a huge way.”
But since then, he said he didn’t want to demand reform because the fight would distract him from his agenda. “Does my friend on the other side like to discuss filibuster instead of passing a recovery law?” He said at the CNN Town Hall event in July. He also said he would like to pass the voting rights with bipartisan support, not by changing the rules of the Senate.
“I want to bring in not only all Democrats, but Republicans I’m familiar with,” he said. “What I don’t want to do is get involved in the debate so far, whether or not this is about filibuster.”
Even if the White House tried to avoid it, conversation was inevitable. According to attendees, many attendees will raise the issue of filibuster at a roundtable meeting with women’s rights and reproductive health leaders this month by senior White House officials, and will Biden change his position? I asked. They did not receive a response from the officials present.
Many of them suggested ways to fight Texas abortion law and encouraged the judiciary’s legal action this month, but all eventually needed legislative amendments and the White House. Said that pressure would help.
“In the long run, we need legislative intervention, just as we need for voting rights,” Nancy said. North Up, the director of the Reproductive Rights Center who attended the conference. “We need to stop what Texas is doing, but it will take a long time to actually tackle this problem.”
Chris Meeger, a White House spokesman, said: “He will continue to work with Hill’s leaders to prioritize legislation on these serious issues,” Mieger added.