Problems mount for Biden – Manila Bulletin
WASHINGTON, United States – A provocative rejection of his massive social spending bill by a single U.S. senator – a fellow Democrat – and an increase in Covid cases put Joe Biden at risk less than a year after entering function.
Returning to the White House from a weekend away at his family home in Delaware, the 79-year-old president, wearing a black face mask, walked straight from his helicopter to the Oval Office without a word or a glance at a melee of journalists waiting.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin dealt a potentially fatal blow this weekend to Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” plan designed to equip the United States to face the challenges of the 21st century such as climate change and Chinese competition.
The president did not publicly respond to Manchin’s blow, limiting himself to a single tweet.
“Right now there’s a kid whose family can’t afford his insulin because it costs $ 1,000 a month,” Biden tweeted Monday. “The Build Back Better Act would cap their monthly insulin costs at $ 35. I am more committed than ever to doing it for them.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has sought to rally his demoralized troops, pledging to bring the bill – the centerpiece of Biden’s national agenda – to the Senate.
“We will be voting on a revised version of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House – and we will continue to vote on it until we do something,” Schumer said.
How they could do it without the West Virginia senator’s crucial vote in an equally divided Senate is unclear.
Manchin announced Sunday on Fox News, the favorite television station of former Republican President Donald Trump, that he was a “no” to the bill which proposes sweeping reforms in health care, immigration, government. climate and education.
Republican senators who supported the President’s infrastructure bill have also made it clear that they will not support Build Back Better, which they say pushes the United States down the path of “socialism.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a scathing statement denouncing Manchin’s “violation of his commitments to the president” and the “sudden and inexplicable reversal of his position.”
With his popularity ratings already mired in the 1940s, Biden’s political capital is at an all-time low within a year of the midterm elections which could well see Democrats losing control of both houses of Congress.
As a former senator who considers himself a master of the legislative game, Biden has personally invested himself in trying to get Manchin on board, much to the chagrin of some members of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
“It is really time we took off the children’s gloves and started using them to rule the working families in this country,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the wing’s leading figures. party left, on MSNBC.
– Omicron –
As helpless as Biden appeared to be in the face of a senator who represents a small state of just 1.7 million people, he appeared just as helpless in the face of the new wave of Covid cases in a country that has already seen more than 800,000 death due to illness.
Biden is due to give a speech on Covid on Tuesday and Psaki has said he does not plan to “lock down the country” in response to the increase in coronavirus cases.
“This is not a speech about the lockdown of the country,” Psaki told reporters.
“This is a discourse describing and being direct and clear with the American people about the benefits of immunization, the steps we are going to take to increase access and increase testing.”
Senior U.S. pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday of a bleak winter ahead as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus ignites a new wave of infections around the world.
“With Omicron,” Fauci told NBC News, “it’s going to be a few tough weeks or months as we get closer to winter.”
While just over 70% of the U.S. population has received at least one injection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an additional 50 million eligible people are still unprotected, Fauci said.
Hospitals are busy, testing centers see long lines, and sporting and entertainment events are canceled – devastating Biden, who was elected on a promise to beat the virus and protect Americans after the mixed messages from Donald Trump.
But controlling the virus has proven difficult in a country where vaccination and mask wear have become divisive political issues, and federal mandates end in protracted legal battles.
Biden has attempted to impose vaccination warrants on private companies and federal employees, but in recent weeks has resorted to little more than publicly pleading with people to get vaccinated.
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