I'm reviewing Joe Biden's promises to get an estimate of how hard they would be to realize with a republican senate and Mitch Mcconell still as the majority leader.
My initial though, and from what I understand of US politics, is that it will be extremely difficult but, if I'm correct, budget may be used to bypass the Mcconnell "gate" to some degree.
From what I understand, Mcconnell can't really hold budget from votes and even if republicans turn the budget down forcing a shutdown, Republicans tend to end up "losing" shutdowns most of the time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pITlnrvhrY
I'm using this article as a listing of Joe Biden's promises : https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Here-s-what-Joe-Biden-wants-to-do-as-president-15709583.php
Ending the pandemic:
The easy part should be to increase testing.
The hard one would be to pass any relief package as they will be blocked by Mcconnell.
A mask mandate may be possible but might sow division and fuel right wing activist and conspiracy theorist.
It would probably be necessary to work directly with every state and ask them to follow science and mandate mask to avoid sowing more division.
On this file though Joe Biden will inivitably be able to claim victory as vaccine roll out.
Expanding health care:
Near impossible, but what's in place might just be properly funded with next budget.
Raising the minimum wage:
Difficult but may bypass Senate by working directly with states to raise their minimum wages and include provision in the next budget to help states and/or business to which this burden might be to much.
Stronger action on climate change:
Hard part - would be to add new regulation and law.
The more "doable" part would be to end fossil fuel subsidies and increase investment in green infrastructure and Green program in the next budget.
Free college — for some:
Can be done to some degree using the budget.
Higher taxes for the rich, corporations:
Doable - if his able to tied those in his next budget.
Since Trump tax cut included an increase for 2021 for those earning to below 40K and the pandemic will likely still be around it should be doable to force a vote on a new tax plan.
You have to take into account that a lot can be accomplished through administrative agencies. These agencies have already been granted some of Congress' power (which is controversial but legal as of now) and in a very real sense function as law making bodies.
An organization like the EPA can do a lot in terms of regulating greenhouse gasses and such. Trump's travel bans were implemented by administrative action/executive order and can be undone by the same. How DACA is interpreted and enforced is also a matter that could be done without the Senate. The IRS can also make revenue rulings that can close certain loopholes and such.
Winning the Senate would be great, but the executive branch has grown very powerful, and there's a lot that can get done without the legislative branch. Whether that's a good thing on balance is debatable (I personally think not), but it's the way things are for the time being. And of course, there's always 2022. It's incredibly unclear what happens to the republican party in the post-Trump future, so it's too early to predict what might happen, but the map is probably more favorable in 2022 than it was this year, and the democrats will be able to lose at most one seat.
I also wonder if Biden might be able to take a republican Senator off the table by offering them a cabinet position. I'm not suggesting they do that specifically to shift the Senate, but if a Senator is qualified, why not appoint someone like Romney? And if that Senator is in a swing state (obviously Romney would be replaced by another Republican in Utah) that could be an interesting scenario. Probably not going to happen, but it's possible.
Thanks, some of that I did not know.
I also thinks action on environment might be easier than anticipated by reserving a good share of promised investment for some red state. Which even with all politics sets aside, kinda make sense.
If republican keep control of the senate, I think the best avenue for democrats will be to keep bill extremely concise and targeted so that republicans would have limited way to paint them in a bad light and block or vote against them without themselves be painted in a bad light.
Hopefully, Biden's will have enough quick win end senate workaround to keep him busy and competent in the public opinion enough to kill the 'mentally hill' and 'do nothing' rhetoric Trumpist blindly believe as of now.
Comes 2022 midterm, the good news is that the Trumpist will be without a Trump. The difficult part will be to keep democrats voters as engaged as they were in this election.