Biden faces a divided Congress, 1st veto as bipartisanship wanes
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will meet with congressional Democrats in back-to-back private sessions beginning Wednesday as her party confronts the limits of their power in a newly divided Washington whose once-broad agenda has now effectively stalled.
Biden’s first meeting with House Democrats at their Baltimore retreat comes as energetic Republicans are about to force his presidency’s initial veto — over a measure to limit the way private financial advisors advertise “awakened” investment opportunities. This confrontation is a sign of bipartisanship giving way to a new era in the world Oversight, Investigations and Conflicts.
Without proposing many new initiatives, Biden is determined not to see the party backsliding into bickering and disappointment. Instead, Democrats seem poised to focus on a Hippocratic Oath-style strategy of doing no harm — and playing up what they have achieved so far while Republicans are portrayed as being led by extremists to whom they are beholden the Trump-era Make America Great Again agenda.
It’s a risky path as both parties seek to set the political narrative ahead of the 2024 election. Biden is expected to announce this spring whether he will seek one second semester while Donald Trump is already campaigning in a growing field for the Republican nomination.
Democratic House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries of New York told reporters in the Capitol earlier this week that the president “has a phenomenal track record and a vision for continuing to build an economy that emphasizes the priorities and well-being of everyday Americans.” Jeffries said Democrats are “strongly united” behind Biden and his agenda.
The challenges ahead are great.
Congress must agree Raising the debt limit to $31 trillion this summer to avoid a financially devastating federal default. Economic uncertainty at home and abroad Grinding war in Ukraine test America’s resolve. There are no easy answers to persistent concerns about the fentanyl crisis, climate change, gun violence and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Biden was successful in winning over Republicans last year when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. He was able to sign bills on infrastructure investment, protection of same-sex marriages, and other issues.
While divided government can often be a time of bipartisan agreements, Biden’s agenda is at a legislative standstill in this new session of Congress, with the GOP in charge of the House.
Policy proposals from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are slim, overwhelmed by the oversight and investigations that Republicans are undertaking to probe almost every aspect of Biden, his family and his administration.
On Wednesday, McCarthy, R-Calif., planned to bring together parents who support a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which requires schools to keep them informed about what kids are being taught and how money is being spent.
“It just feels like House Republicans have no interest in governing,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told The Associated Press. “I don’t know what Joe Biden can do to try and put out the garbage fire seems to be the Republican majority right now.”
McCarthy has taken some bipartisan moves to unseat the Democrats to support Republican-led policies, including voting this week to roll back a new Labor Department rule affecting the way wealth managers manage climate change and “environmental, social and governance factors take investment into account.
Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., announced he is joining Republicans in backing the “ESG” measure, saying the rule is the latest example of “the administration prioritizing a liberal political agenda.” ‘ versus protecting the retirement accounts of retirement investments. He said the rule could penalize the fossil fuel industry important to his state.
The White House has announced that Biden will veto the law.
The Labor Department rule ended a Trump-era ban on managers of those plans considering factors like climate change or pending court cases when making investment decisions. Because lawsuits and climate change have financial implications, government officials argue that their predecessors advocated a possible catastrophe.
“You would have to pretend it wasn’t there, just like the captain of the Titanic would have to ignore the iceberg if he saw it,” said Celeste Drake, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council.
A second bill by Republicans that could be vetoed could reach Biden next week. It targets the District of Columbia’s ability to govern itself by overturning a major revision of the penal code The City Council made the decision last year. The House passed the law; The Senate is expected to follow.
Biden, meanwhile, is set to release his new budget proposal next week, a multi-trillion-dollar blueprint that will serve as an opening salvo in negotiations with McCarthy as they try to reach an agreement that could avert a debt-ceiling crisis this summer.
The president will reiterate his pledge to release his budget and urge Republicans to do the same in his talks with House Democrats on Wednesday and Senate Democrats on Thursday, according to a White House official.
With McCarthy’s spending plan on the table, Biden has been eager to portray Republicans as willing to cut Medicare, Social Security and other popular programs as part of the GOP’s longstanding effort to cut federal spending and balance the budget.
Biden will use his remarks to Democrats to warn that Republicans will “trigger a catastrophic default” if they insist on cutting health care or other programs, said the official, who was not authorized to make the private speech public to discuss, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Not all Democrats will be in attendance to hear Biden.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the most progressive Democrats in the House, told the AP that her absence was not a protest and that she had attended previous retreats.
“It’s really important that the President continues to stand behind every single piece of progress that we’ve made and to talk about getting the job done,” Omar said.
Several Democrats said they remain optimistic that Biden can do what he’s best known for — being a bipartisan bridge builder.
“The government is divided, there’s no doubt about that,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., who represents the Scranton Borough, the president’s hometown. “But also remember that President Biden loves to brag about his skills as he pulls through bills backed by bipartisan legislation.” __
Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Seung Min Kim, Farnoush Amiri, and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
https://news.yahoo.com/biden-faces-split-congress-1st-201939685.html Biden faces a divided Congress, 1st veto as bipartisanship wanes