This is likely the make-or-break week for President Biden’s progressive domestic agenda, and he’s looking more and more like Jimmy Carter II with every passing day. The House is supposed to vote today on the $1 trillion “bi-partisan” infrastructure bill, but the “progressive” Democrats are still holding it hostage until they get their $5 trillion wish-list passed first. I’m not sure the complete bill is even written down fully yet, but I am sure Speaker Pelosi will say it doesn’t matter because we should pass the bill to find out what’s in it. The debt ceiling needs to be raised by Friday as well as a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December, and we are faced with the prospect of a government shutdown on Friday even though Democrats control both houses of Congress.
Biden resembles Carter in more than just rising inflation and foreign policy ineptitude. When Carter became president in 1977, Democrats had 62 Senators (in other words, a filibuster-proof Senate) and a large majority in the House. Anybody remember his legislative priorities? They were a huge energy bill, incremental health care reform, and tax and entitlement reform. Democrats on Capitol Hill wanted a lot more: they floated the openly-socialist Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill, which aimed for an unemployment rate of no more than 3%, and a federally-guaranteed job for anyone who wanted one. The bill that eventually passed was watered down into little more than a nuisance reporting requirement for the Federal Reserve, but even at that first-term Delaware Senator Joe Biden voted against it, saying that the bill was not “cognizant of the limited, finite ability government has to deal with people’s problems.”
House Speaker Tip O’Neill is reported to have groaned when the Carter White House (which he despised) handed him the NY phonebook-sized energy proposal, and it took two years to finally pass a much stripped-down version, even with the huge Democratic majorities in Congress. Carter’s tax reform plans (which meant tax increases of course) got nowhere, such that by 1978 he was signing tax cuts, including cuts that a guy named Biden also voted for. And his belated “hospital cost containment” plan (which meant price controls) got nowhere in Congress.
Biden looks poised to repeat this feat of legislative failure. Democrats persist in thinking that their razor-thin majorities in Congress are somehow the political equivalent of the huge majorities FDR had in 1937 or LBJ in 1965.
And if Democrats do manage to hold it together this week and pass even a $2.5 trillion spending bill and tax hikes, it is likely to be extremely unpopular. The latest Pew survey on Biden is bad news from top to bottom:
Biden Loses Ground With the Public on Issues, Personal Traits and Job Approval
With his administration facing multiple challenges at home and abroad, President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has fallen sharply in the past two months. Fewer than half of U.S. adults (44%) now approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 53% disapprove. This marks a reversal in Biden’s job ratings since July, when a 55% majority approved of his job performance and 43% disapproved.
This part is especially amusing:
Biden receives his least positive assessments for being mentally sharp. Currently, 43% say this describes Biden very or fairly well, an 11-point decline since March.
Footnote: Among the many things that hurt Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election was his mishandling of the Mariel Boatlift from Cuba, when Fidel Castro cynically allowed a jailbreak for genuine freedom-loving Cubans to leave for the U.S. but whose boats Castro made sure to salt with criminals let out of jails and large numbers of the mentally ill. This sub-cohort created big problems, including riots at Fort Smith, Arkansas, that helped cost first-term Governor Bill Clinton his re-election that fall. Kinda sounds like what we just saw with Haitians at the border, as well as unvetted Afghan refugees we’ve waived into the country.
An investigation is underway into an alleged attack of a female U.S. military service member by several male Afghan evacuees being housed at Fort Bliss.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed to Fox News it is investigating a referral from a Fort Bliss Afghan refugee housing complex in New Mexico alleging that a woman, whose name and age are unknown at this time, was assaulted on Sept. 19 by a “small group of male evacuees.” . . .
The alleged attack comes on the heels of two Afghan refugees housed at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy being indicted for federal crimes including sexual assault on a minor and domestic assault.