Joe Biden is the whisperer of Congress.
Faced with the toughest types of Congressional opposition – obstructionist, nihilistic, extremist – the president achieved extraordinary results during his first two and a half years in office. He has created transformative legislation such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act, and the $280 billion Chips and Science Act.
These were not just complex, major pieces of legislation affecting the lives of millions of people, they were historic in their own way – creating record jobs, leading to the largest investment in our infrastructure in more than half a century The largest investment in combating climate change in our history, resetting America’s approach to competitiveness.
In fact, in just two and a half years of Biden’s leadership, as he noted in his State of the Union address this year, he has signed an astonishing 300 bipartisan pieces of legislation into law.
But it may be that the deal to preserve America’s financial standing in the world to avoid the debt disaster threatened by Republicans will go down as one of their greatest achievements. We are not there yet. There is opposition to the bill on both the right and the left. But this is probably more a feature than a bug. Biden faced a nearly impossible situation and may have taken it to its best possible conclusion.
The potential deal would have several key components. First, the debt ceiling will be raised and the economic disaster threatened by Trump, McCarthy and the GOP’s economic hostage-takers will be averted. Second, something like a broad freeze in spending at current levels would have to be agreed upon. And there will be some spending shortfalls that were committed that went unspent, such as money for COVID relief and perhaps money that had to go to the IRS.
There is no doubt that elements will be added or subtracted between the time the deal is made and the time it is done. But if it is broadly within the parameters described above, then it should be viewed as a major success for the President. Despite the very real advantage of the Republican-controlled House to create an economic catastrophe, Biden would have effectively averted catastrophe and, at the same time, would have made a roughly budget deal that would not have Republicans playing chicken with the world economy .
Some credit, of course, must go to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He didn’t use the crazy options he was threatening. However, since he threatened those options because he lied about the White House’s position on the debt and the origin of the deficit, his original ideas were in fact insane and resulted in almost all non-defense discretionary spending being addressed. Without having generated revenue in any sensible way, whatever credit goes to McCarthy must be very limited indeed.
The most extreme Republicans will scream that they didn’t get the harsh and often inhumane cuts they asked for. Some would argue that he should have followed through on his default threats. Eventually, Trump argued that it would be no big deal. GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the default would also boost GOP presidential candidates. But every sane account I’ve read about default has come to the same conclusion, it will be really bad for average Americans and the world.
Some said Biden should observe precisely that the Constitution prohibits default. This is true. 14th makes amendments. But what happens next could throw the world into chaos as everyone waited to see what the courts would finally decide. So the White House rejected that approach.
Should the president’s negotiators have pushed harder? Could he get more tax loopholes closed for the wealthy? Given the leverage of the House GOP, the answer is probably not. how do we know? Well, because for one thing, Biden has a track record as president of getting more out of Congress than people expect — a lot more. Surely, by now, he deserves the benefit of the doubt that he would have done it by now if he had the chance.
No doubt the hours and days ahead to see if Biden helps us fire on this crisis. But it looks like he might be. He has given us a chance. And they’ve done so in a way that makes similar crises less likely for at least the next two years — hopefully until we have a wiser Congress.
As we reflect on this and all that Biden has done, we should be grateful that he is probably the best president since Lyndon Johnson to get results with Congress, even when he is fiercely opposed. .
,The reason Biden has made so many achievements is that he is exceptionally good at measuring the level of his opposition and his support.,
But our appreciation must go further. Biden’s gifts as a leader and a negotiator, as founded in his decades of experience, have also shown that he was able to broker complex deals among our allies in efforts to stand up against Russian aggression in Ukraine. . He has looked Putin and Xi in the eye without blinking.
In short, Biden has proven to be very good at perhaps the most difficult and underestimated aspect of being president. He has an indomitable sense of what can be achieved, how far he can go toward his goals and what he sees as national priorities in the face of whatever opposition he faces.
Call it judgement. To put it in the words of an old Kenny Rogers song, knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold them. But Biden has accomplished so many things that he is exceptionally good at measuring the level of his opposition and his support.
It’s a quality that might drive absolutists in politics today (those who always invoke no compromise) but it’s the secret to political success and he’s better at it than any of his recent predecessors. Equally important, as the election approaches, there is no comparison between his abilities in this regard and his potential Republican opponents in 2024. Do you want Trump to have a face to face with Putin? You know how this will turn out. Ukraine would not even exist. Do you want Ron DeSantis to negotiate a budget with Congress when he can’t even handle Mickey Mouse?
No, Biden is better than the alternatives. But, history will surely note, he was actually exceptionally good at doing what is a very difficult job – making democracy work – even when many of his detractors despise it and this country’s values.
(Tags to translate) Republican Party (T) Joe Biden (T) Kevin McCarthy