WASHINGTON (AP) – Until recently, the act of government seemed to come at the speed of presidential tweets. But now President Joe Biden is preparing for a long summer legislative work.
Congress has collapsed, the House of Representatives and the Senate are dragging their way through months, the legislature is trying to translate Biden’s big infrastructure ideas into bills that could actually come into force. Perhaps not since drafting the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago, Washington has tried so hard to repeal.
It will take a while.
“Passing laws isn’t a televised movie,” said Phil Schiliro, a former Obama White House director of legislative affairs and a veteran of Congressional struggles, including the Health Act.
Biden seems comfortable in this area and has launched an agenda in Congress that is ingrained in his top legislative priority – the $ 4 trillion “better build” investment that now counts as his plans for American jobs and American jobs Families are designed.
To land the bills on his desk, the president relies on old-school legislative processes that cannot keep up with today’s fast-paced political cycles and hopes for quick payouts. Democrats are concerned it’s taking too long and wasting valuable time negotiating with Republicans, but Biden seems to like the tedious art of making legislation.
On Monday, Biden is expected to kick off another week of engagement with members of both parties, and the White House is likely to hear of a bipartisan group of Senators at some point working on a $ 1 trillion cut-off plan as an alternative.
At the same time, the government is pushing the president’s own, broader proposals, which are being developed in the House and Senate budget committees of up to $ 6 trillion in a process that could allow Democrats to pass them themselves . The first votes are envisaged for the end of July.
“This is how negotiations work,” said White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates during the turbulent negotiations over the infrastructure last week.
“We continue to work closely with Democrats of all views – as well as Republicans – on the way forward. There are many ways to go about this and we are optimistic about our chances, “said Bates.
During his tenure, President Donald Trump had full Republican control of the House and Senate for the first two years of his term, but the limits of the legislation quickly became clear.
Trump ruled by tweet rather than through the more traditional legislative process, brimming with political ideas and official administrative positions that often contradicted his party in Congress.
The results of the Trump era have been mixed, with Republicans unable to enforce their top legislative priority of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. But they achieved considerable success when Trump signed the GOP tax cuts in late 2017.
Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is a leader in today’s bipartisan negotiations, said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that Trump had also proposed an infrastructure package. If Biden stuck to the bipartisan talks, he could not just keep a campaign promise but “keep his promise to do things on the other side and get things done,” Portman said.
“Everyone wants to create infrastructure,” he said.
Even as Biden seeks a bipartisan deal, skeptical Democrats are skeptical of a rerun of 2009 when Barack Obama was president, and they spent months negotiating the details of the Affordable Care Act with Republicans. Eventually, the Democrats passed what became known as Obamacare on their own.
Lawmakers also loved the speed at which Congress was able to approve COVID-19 aid – the massive CARES bill at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and recently Biden’s American Rescue Plan in February. You are keen to act swiftly on these next proposals.
Biden’s strategy this time around is a two-part approach. He is trying to reach a bipartisan deal on roads, bridges and broadband – the more traditional types of infrastructure – while pursuing the broader democratic set of priorities.
The budget committees are preparing roughly $ 6 trillion in spending on what the White House calls the human infrastructure of American life, with daycare, community colleges and elderly care in Biden’s plans, and adding other long-term ideas from the Democrats. Including the expansion of Medicare for seniors with visual, hearing and dental services and the lowering of the eligibility age to 60 years.
Regardless of whether Biden succeeds or fails in the repeated talks with Republicans, Democrats will move on with their own massive package, with the president at least showing he tried.
“There are two types of negotiation,” said Democrat Barney Frank, former Massachusetts congressman and committee chairman who played a central role in many of the Obama-era legislative battles. “One that will be successful and give you a good bill,” he said. and the other will be unsuccessful, but at least “remove any stigma of partisanship”.
Congress is aiming for a deadline by the end of summer to start the budget reconciliation process that would allow the bills to be passed by majority vote, particularly in the now-split 50-50 Senate, where 60 votes are normally required to move the legislation forward.
After that, the House of Representatives and the Senate would prepare the actual voting packages in the fall.
As the process drags on, it’s a reminder that it took Congress over a year to pass the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect in the spring of 2010.
“Tweets are so easy,” said Schiliro. “Legislation is different, so good legislation takes time to develop.”