Joe Biden’s presidency beset by Covid-19 and Joe Manchin

Headwinds on the White House. Paralyzed by the veto of a single senator to his gigantic environmental and social reforms, powerless in the face of the outbreak of Covid-19, Joe Biden on Monday saw his presidency attacked from all sides. Returning to the White House after a weekend with his family, the Democratic President, wearing a thick black mask, walked towards the Oval Office without addressing a word or a glance to the reporters who were waiting for him as he descended. helicopter.

His public agenda provides that he will speak only on Tuesday, at the beginning of the afternoon, about the wave of the Omicron variant which is sweeping the United States, with its share of cancellations of shows and sporting events, of interminable lines in front of screening centers, and schools that close at least temporarily. J oe Biden “will not announce the containment” of the country, his spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Monday, but will take “measures” to encourage vaccination and improve screening.

The Democratic president, elected largely on the promise of ending a pandemic that has so far killed more than 800,000 people in the United States, seems powerless in the face of this new wave. At the federal level, it does not have many levers. And the few restrictive measures he has taken, including vaccination in large companies, come up against legal proceedings, in addition to fueling the speeches of the Republican opposition on an attack on individual freedoms.

Joe vs. Joe

This impression of a president already paralyzed, not even a year after his inauguration, is further reinforced by his powerlessness in the face of the senator from a rural state of 1.7 million inhabitants. Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia, said Sunday that he would not give his voice, decisive, to the plan “Build Back Better” of Joe Biden. It is about 1.750 billion dollars of expenditure intended to make America triumph in the face of climate change and competition from China.

It is an almost fatal blow for this legislative project which promised to transform in depth the economic and social cogs of the United States, while allowing the first world power to keep its climate objectives. “The fight for Build Back Better is too big to give up, we’ll find a way forward next year,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday, without giving further details.

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She hinted, however, that the 79-year-old president could use his regulatory power for lack of major legislation. But what can be left of the most important project of the Biden presidency without the voice of Joe Manchin? The elected representative repeated Monday that he would not vote in favor of these “very, very ambitious reforms” aimed at lowering the cost of childcare or medicines, at supporting the purchasing power of households or at encouraging the purchase of electric cars.

Fear of inflation

This centrist fears an inflationary effect and judges that aid should be more targeted. He rejects in particular an additional tax credit per child, a measure dear to Joe Biden. Without him, no more Democratic majority in the Senate. And impossible to count, as Joe Biden did recently to vote for gigantic infrastructure spending, on votes from the Republican opposition, raised against what it considers to be a “socialist” turn, one of the worst political foils in the United States.

The White House expressed its frustration on Sunday in a statement of unprecedented virulence from Jen Psaki, lambasting “a sudden and inexplicable turnaround” and a “violation” of Joe Manchin’s commitments.

This further erodes the political credit of Joe Biden, whose confidence rating is already very low, one year away from the mid-term legislative elections which could turn into disaster for the Democrats.

The president, a former senator who prides himself on having mastered the parliamentary game like no other, had indeed personally invested in Joe Manchin – to the chagrin of the progressives in his party, who now feel cheated. The elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent him a warning message: “The Democrats are furious with Joe Manchin. The time to take off the gloves has come. “

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