Opinion | With No Votes to Spare, Biden Gets a Win Obama and Clinton Would Have Envied

Before joining the choir, you should report to the last two Democratic presidents. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both ended up in office with a much larger majority and still took it on the chin. Despite having the closest majority to get something done, Biden could actually be in a much better position.

When Clinton came to power in 1993, he had large majorities in both houses: 57 Democrats in the Senate and 258 Democrats in the House. But resistance to his key economic package was so great in his own party that his plan was passed with just one vote in both the House and Senate, and only after key elements of that plan – like a gasoline tax – were thrown over the government side, to win the votes of the suburban democrats.

When Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Democrats and their independent allies held 59 seats in the Senate, and when Al Franken claimed his seat months later, they had a super-majority of 60 – enough to beat a filibuster. To get those votes, the Obama administration had to keep the cost of its Great Recession stimulus package below $ 1 trillion – an amount his team later conceded was too small to trigger a robust rebound. To get reluctant Democrats like Joe Lieberman to vote for Affordable Care Bill, the White House had to scrap the public health insurance option, discouraging progressive Democrats. (As Obama reports in his “A Promised Land” treatise, the shaking of hands by members of his own party has severely affected his signature performance as president, the largest expansion in health care since Medicare.)

The two ex-presidents also share a common, painful experience of the political consequences of their struggles. Clinton’s tax and budget initiatives aimed to reduce the then unacceptable budget deficit of around $ 250 billion – a deficit that helped bring independent candidate Ross Perot to 19 percent of the vote in 1992. (I hope you realize that we became Eisenhower Republicans. Clinton grumbled to his staff.) Politics eventually worked – Washington ran a huge surplus by the end of the Clinton years – but in the short term it was a political commitment that resulted in the loss of both Houses of Congress in 1994.

For Obama, the slow pace of recovery and relentless Republican political attacks on Obamacare at all levels in 2010 resulted in massive medium-term losses. The House went Republican, the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and 18 legislatures went red – a political upheaval that still torments the Democrats as they watch these legislatures enforce the laws to suppress voters that the American elections for will shape the coming years.

But this time around, Democrats may be able to provide a more optimistic answer to a question inspired by the Passover approach: “Why is this one-voice victory different from the other one-voice victories?”

This time around, the benefits for tens of millions of Americans will be clear: $ 1,400 in bank accounts; extended unemployment benefits; extended childcare assistance. Donald Trump understood the implications of such support when he insisted that his name be on the checks sent to American households. Joe Biden won’t be as obvious, but the direct help will be a sharp contrast to what happened under Obama’s incentive when most Americans didn’t even realize they were getting a tax cut. It is also a sharp departure from the effects of Obamacare, where the benefits began long after the law was passed and even after the mid-term elections.

And this time the passed bill was supported by an enormous majority of citizens – polls show that 75 percent support the Covid plan, including a clear majority of Republicans. This suggests that congressional Republicans’ unanimous opposition to the plan could leave the party with a political stance at a polar extreme, from where they were in 1994 and 2009. The GOP was able to (inaccurately) get Clinton with the “biggest tax hike in history”; they could characterize the Obama incentive and the Affordable Care Act as giveaways for “these people.” But if the polls are correct, the Republican efforts to get the Covid- Calling relief a “bailout for the blue state” or a “Pelosi payout” does not.

More importantly, if the impact of $ 1,400 payments, the vaccination aid, and the other elements of the plan are really being felt at home by voters who are seeing the difference in their bank accounts and health, then it is indeed conceivable the line “I. I’m with the government and I’m here to help. “Could be something other than the punch line of a joke.

It’s possible, of course, that all of the proposals that fell by the wayside – the $ 15 minimum wage, higher income limits for the conjunctural reviews, greater unemployment benefits – spark so much nagging among progressives that Biden struggles to find his own Side to keep the aisle in line. As you think about 2022, be careful how much you complain. With the smallest possible majority, Biden succeeded in getting something the potential political payout of which his two democratic predecessors would have envied.

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