Is Joe Biden Finished Channeling FDR? Dems Are Already Caving to GOP

The clock is ticking.

There are four weeks left in the congressional calendar, which means when federal lawmakers return to Washington in September, it will be time to be gearing up for November elections.

While it’s not a presidential election year, 34 U.S. Senate seats will be on ballots.

House members elected or re-elected last year are already campaigning.

That means the window to pass President Joe Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” is closing.

What’s more disappointing is the fact that the old center-right, too-willing-to-get-a-bit-too-cozy-with-republicans Joe Biden is beginning to re-emerge.

Despite taking advantage of a narrow Democratic majority, the Biden administration last month, in a good-faith effort to “reach across the aisle,” decreased the original spending proposal for the package from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion.

That was still too high for republicans.

So ahead of President Biden’s meeting with West Va. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whom Minority Leader Mitch “The Grim Reaper” McConnell tapped to be the republican point person, House Democrats offered to reduce the amount even further–to $547 billion.

Before negotiations have even started, before the horse trading and arm twisting even commenced, Democrats are caving to republicans.

But that’s not all.

President Biden, who came into office promising to raise taxes on Americans making more than $400,000 a year, is considering dropping his demand to roll back Donald Trump’s 2017 “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the $1.5 trillion-dollar permanent tax cut to corporations and the wealthy, in exchange for a minimum 15% corporate tax rate for all companies.

Director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development, Jeffrey Sachs, speaking to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! last week, explained:

“Corporations have had an unbelievable run of unjust and unaffordable tax cuts. That’s true for decades. The corporate taxes right now collect a little bit more than 1% of GDP in a booming period of corporate profits. In other words, we’ve given away the store. The Republicans, especially, gave away the store in 2017.

“President Biden said, ‘OK, we’ll restore half of what was given away.’ It’s still leaving the companies effectively with a tax cut from 35% to 28% under Biden’s plan. And then, yesterday, apparently, he said to the Republicans, ‘Well, maybe we’ll leave it at 21%.'”

He added:

“Biden’s plan, while it was only partial, at least pointed in the right direction. Why did he put that on the table? He didn’t even have a deal. What kind of negotiating is that? And, of course, this is because we are a plutocracy. We are a corporate-driven society. Our infrastructure is crumbling. And the companies say, ‘Yeah, build the infrastructure, but don’t charge us for any of it.’ In the meantime, the CEOs are laughing at us, because their compensation is now more than 300 times average workers’.

“So, please, President Biden, we put you in office to help fix this country, not to continue with the Trump plan, for God’s sake. It’s simple. It’s not even complicated. What is this negotiation about? To preserve the Trump tax cut? That’s why we had the 2020 election.”

While there are multiple factors to consider, two of whom are “DINO (Democrat in Name Only)” Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, it’s important to reiterate that Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.

The last time this happened was those 74 days during the Obama administration during which the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was passed.

If Joe Biden abandons the FDR mojo that characterized his first few months in office, we must be prepared to pay the price in next year’s mid-term elections.

And that is one risk we cannot afford.

In the historic “American Jobs Plan,” President Biden vowed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, confront climate change, and curb wealth inequality within eight years.

Delineating his plan at a carpenters’ training center outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. in April, Biden spoke of “historic and galvanizing” investments in 20,000 miles of roads and highways, and refurbishing the 10 most economically vital bridges.

The environmental aspects of Biden’s plan include cutting greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the transportation sector; addressing racial and economic disparities that lead to higher pollution in communities of color; distributing electric car charging stations across the country; and creating tens of thousands of well-paying union jobs transitioning the country away from fossil fuels.

Biden also promised to invest $100 billion each in strengthening electrical grids and expanding affordable high-speed broadband, and $300 billion to build and retrofit homes.

An extremely crucial facet of the audacious plan includes updates to water systems, including replacing lead pipes, which will guarantee access to clean drinking water.

He said:

“This is not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.”

Is that true anymore?

Call your senators and House member–especially if they’re Democrats–at 202-224-3121 and demand we stand up for the progressive policies most Americans support, not kowtowing to an intransigent opposition–again.

Image credit: Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.