During last year’s presidential campaign, much was made of then-candidate Joe Biden’s four-decade legislative career in the United States Senate.
Yet, as Breitbart reporter Haris Alic pointed out, those hoping Biden would deliver quick legislative wins are likely in for a disappointment.
“Compromise is not a dirty word, it’s how our government is designed to work,” Alic quoted Biden as telling the National Education Association teachers’ union during a speech in July.
“I’ve done it my whole life,” the former Delaware senator continued, stressing, “I’ve been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress to pass big things, to deal with big issues.”
Sinema, Manchin could be an obstacle
Yet Alic observed that despite his rhetoric, “the president’s legislative agenda appears to have stalled” less than two weeks into his new administration.
“The problem,” Alic argued, “is partly a result of the president’s own actions, but also a result of institutional disarray among Democrats.”
While Democrats now control both chambers on Capitol Hill, Alic emphasized that this hold will be tenuous at best.
“The Senate Democrat conference not only includes strong progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the incoming chairman of the Budget Committee, but also moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),” he noted.
That will pose a problem, Alic predicted, because although the party’s more progressive wing may have stronger numbers, “the Senate’s rules and procedures strongly favor minority dissent over majority rule.”
This potential for internal conflict isn’t limited to the Senate, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over a narrow majority following a string of unexpected losses in November that eliminated some of her caucus’ less strident members.
“Earlier this month, Pelosi was narrowly re-elected as leader after encumbering opposition from moderate Democrats, many of whom opted to vote ‘present’ instead of supporting the speaker,” Alic recalled.
He added, “Pelosi’s divided conference and more broadly her reduced majority, which is only three seats at the moment because of vacancies, has created a shaky foundation upon which to govern.”