by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Facing a divided Congress and the looming 2024 presidential race, President Joe Biden’s year ahead promises the potential for legislative gridlock. Under pressure from Democrats to move his priorities forward, Biden, who was elected promising to work across the aisle, might find he can get more done acting alone.
The White House has said Biden is eager to work with Republicans, a proposition Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates billed as mutually beneficial. Republicans who voted for bipartisan legislation held onto their seats in the midterms, Bates said in a pre-Christmas memo.
Of Biden, Bates wrote: “He goes into the new year with his hand outstretched.”On Wednesday, Biden is set to visit Kentucky, where he is meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to tout the outcome of bipartisan bills.
But there are fewer avenues for cooperation as the Republican-controlled House navigates its own leadership challenges, said Jim Manley, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief spokesperson. …
… “I get that Democrats pulled off a bunch of big wins last year despite such a narrow margin in the Senate, but it’s difficult to imagine that happening again given the chaos that has engulfed the House Republican caucus,” Manley said.
Instead, the Biden administration is poised to enact laws from a slate of bills in various stages of implementation, including from the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
But with issues Biden ran on in 2020 but hasn’t yet tackled, the president may find another approach necessary: ignoring the bipartisan bridge-building that his aides uphold as a sign of his accomplishments.
Biden has issued executive orders already, including for his student loan forgiveness plan, yet party activists want to see more debt relief, climate action, marijuana reforms, and support for organized labor.