by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online argues that President Biden’s first 40 days in office raise questions about his centrist sympathies and competence.
Six weeks into the Biden administration, the bad news is that Joe Biden and his team are way farther to the left than the candidate promised on the campaign trail in 2020. But this is somewhat offset by the fact that he and his team are much less competent than promised. …
… Biden’s impending signature legislative accomplishment — a massive COVID-relief package — is likely to come to fruition, but in a way that leaves few factions all that satisfied. Ten Senate Republicans came to Biden with a smaller bill that would have gotten significant bipartisan support, but the president and his team turned them down. It’s now doubtful that the bill that ultimately passes will get any Republican support in either chamber. The relief bill will need to be passed through reconciliation, requiring just 50 votes. But raising the minimum wage nationally to $15 per hour can’t be included in a budget bill passed through reconciliation, and the final version is likely to include other compromises as well. …
… Twelve years ago, the newly elected President Obama signed his stimulus into law on February 17, 2009. We haven’t even gotten to the conference committee for differing House and Senate versions of the COVID-relief bill yet, although Democrats seem confident they can get a bill to Biden’s desk by March 14, when certain jobless benefits expire.
But keep in mind, this relief bill was supposed to be the easy and bipartisan part of the Biden agenda. On paper, everybody in Congress wants to do something to help the economy, and almost everybody on Capitol Hill likes spending money. If it’s proving slow and difficult to pass even a watered-down version of Democrats’ original vision for this package, just imagine what, say, immigration reform will look like.