Joe Biden’s far-reaching national agenda in the United States faces serious setbacks on a range of issues as the political quagmire of a much-contested Senate sees Democratic ambitions sharply reduced in the face of Republican obstruction.
On a number of key fronts such as promoting electoral reform and voting rights, efforts to reduce gun control and advance the civil rights of LGBTQ, Republicans – and a handful of Democrats conservatives – are forcing Biden and the wider Democratic Party on the back foot.
The Senate, which critics ridicule as an increasingly less representative body that gives undue influence to smaller and less diverse Republican states, is due to vote Tuesday on the People’s Law, the voting rights bill that will be certainly rejected with no support from Republicans.
Republicans are expected to slow down time – a controversial tactical rule known as filibuster – on the package that requires lawmakers to hit a 60-vote threshold.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman on Sunday rejected amendments proposed by conservative West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, whose rejection of the original bill nearly scuttled the Democrats’ bill. Portman described the bill as a “federal takeover of our electoral system.”
“The bottom line is that we should make it easier to vote in this country. We should also make it difficult to cheat, ”Portman said on Meet the NBC Press. “Once again, I appreciate [Manchin is] trying to find that common ground, and, who knows, maybe something can be done.
By forcing Republicans to filibuster and making their opposition clear and public to a law seen as defending the suffrage of communities of color. Democrats hope to embarrass the party. But – without destroying the filibuster, which Manchin also opposes – the bill is unlikely to pass.
Senate Democrats will also test calls for unity on LGBTQ civil rights, and another bill – The Equality Act – which is seeking Republican support. Schumer said last month that the upper house “is considering” a vote on the bill but has yet to schedule it. Once again, Manchin is the only one resisting the Democrats.
The proposed legislation would include sexual orientation and gender identity in the protected categories of the Civil Rights Act 1964, as well as the prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, religion and origin. national.
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, one of two openly gay senators in the House of 100, said she was pressuring fellow Republicans but had only made “incremental progress.”
Baldwin said she believes the Senate should “delay” a vote while “negotiations are productive” and progress is made. The Senate is divided 50-50 and only under Democratic control thanks to the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“There may be a point where there is a stalemate. I’m still trying to find 10 republicans [to help pass the bill]Said Baldwin.
Republican resistance to the legislation focuses on protecting the rights of religious institutions that condemn homosexuality and opposing transgender rights in sport. Yet this is happening against a backdrop of broad public, business and judicial support on the issue.
Manchin, an anti-abortion Democrat, said he was “not convinced that the equality law as drafted provides sufficient guidance to local officials who will be tasked with implementing it.” But he also said he would seek to “build broad bipartisan support and find a viable way forward for these essential protections.”
Democrats are also not currently likely to find broader opportunities for political unity on infrastructure spending where large-scale Democratic proposals run up against Republican counter-offers of a fraction of the size.
Former Republican presidential adviser Karl Rove said this week with George Stephanopoulos that President Biden faces two paths when it comes to infrastructure and both are strewn with obstacles. ” [It will be] a bipartisan deal small enough to garner Republican support, but not big enough to keep Democrats united, or a standalone, compelling plan progressives want, with a price tag of up to $ 6 billion, which is probably too big to spend Rove said.
Likewise, current gun control legislation may also be reluctant to gain enough support to pass.
As it stands, two bills passed by the House to extend background checks for gun buyers have all but failed in the Senate. But rather than pushing legislation that Republicans reject, Democrats could instead push for a vote on increasing the number of online sales and gun shows covered by FBI background checks – a significant setback compared to the initial proposals.
Sen. Chris Murphy, the Democrats’ go-to for Republican support for gun control, said he is still discussing with Republican leaders “some ideas that would involve expanding background checks without going up to the universal ”.
When asked if a gun show controls bill would be favored by Republicans, two senators involved in the discussions, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, offered an interpretation cold of this probability.
“We’ll see if this goes anywhere,” Graham told Politico.
Toomey, who is due to retire next year, said: “Honestly, it’s not clear at the moment. “