First Congress reveals Biden’s intergenerational ambitions

Running for the White House, Joe Biden told voters that his presidency would be a bridge to the next generation. His first two years in office have shown that this is an ambitious venture.

As he nears the halfway point of his first term, Biden points to climate change, domestic manufacturing and COVID-19 pandemic — and all of this was done on Capitol Hill with a narrow majority and a rather vague view of the public.


what you need to know

  • Nearly halfway through his first term, President Biden pointed to challenges in climate change, domestic manufacturing and COVID-19 pandemic – all done with a narrow majority in Congress
  • Biden ignores history midterm electionspersuading voters to stick with his vision for long-term earnings despite immediate concerns about inflation and the economy
  • Still, Biden has fallen short of some popular 2020 campaign promises, notably what his aides call “human infrastructure” such as free community college, expanded paid family leave and early child care
  • The road ahead will be tougher: Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives on January 3, the threat of a recession looms amid stubbornly high inflation, and maintaining support for Ukraine will be more difficult as the conflict nears the one-year mark; the future Two years will also be complicated by overlapping presidential politics in 2024

Biden’s legislative accomplishments extend to nearly every aspect of American life — though in some cases it may take years for their effects to be felt — as he organizes a global coalition to support Ukraine’s defense and democracies against China’s growing The impact will be felt for decades.he defies history midterm electionspersuading voters to stick with his vision of long-term earnings despite immediate concerns about inflation and the economy.

As it turns out, he sees more in the job than restoring democratic norms and passing the baton, as the 80-year-old president looks forward to announcing in early spring that he will run again despite his record age.

The road ahead will be tougher: Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3, the threat of recession looms amid stubbornly high inflation, and sustained support for Ukraine will be harder as the conflict nears the one-year mark.

The next two years will also be complicated by the overlap of presidential politics in 2024.Regardless of Biden’s accomplishments, his job approval ratings still underwater Voters have doubted his leadership. Biden brushed off questions about his ability to hold out with a dismissive “look at me.”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo echoed the assertion of aides to the president, from chief of staff Ron Klain down the ranks, that Biden is “often underestimated.”

“I don’t think he ever considered himself a caretaker,” she said. “He came in with an incredibly ambitious agenda, and a core belief that he had to preside over the debate on America and the American worker, American infrastructure, American manufacturing, and in the decades before him, presidents Neither was done or could not be done.”

In the 2020 campaign, Biden presented himself as a seasoned man ready to step in to stabilize a country weary from a pandemic, but he also heeded calls for new leadership.

“Look, I see myself as a bridge more than anything else,” Biden said in March 2020, when he was campaigning in Michigan with young Democrats, including current Vice President Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Michigan Governor Cory Booker. Gretchen Whitmer. “You see a whole generation of leaders standing behind me. They are the future of this country.”

A week later, he hit back at the agenda of his main rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying “people are looking for results, not revolution.”

Those statements have often been pushed back against Biden by Democratic critics from two schools of thought: Moderates want him to curb the ambitions of his agenda as he embarks on an often bumpy legislative path, while progressives are urging him to step down in 2024.

“Nobody picked him for Roosevelt,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., pointedly told The New York Times last year when Biden’s agenda appeared to be at an impasse and House Republican leader Kevin K. Kevin McCarthy seized on the line to criticize Biden’s agenda.

Meanwhile, with some prominent Democrats publicly refusing to support Biden’s re-election when confronted with questions, the progressive group RootsAction is running ads in New Hampshire — recently overtaken by Democrats as the first state on the primary calendar — Call on Biden to make way for younger blood in 2024.

Biden aides and allies argue that these critics are missing the point — that Biden was never just trying to keep the seats warm for whiplash to follow suit, nor does he believe he’s done the job. His recent success has quelled many skeptics — though some in his party still harbor private misgivings.

“He couldn’t have thought more differently about this,” said Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director and longtime Biden aide. “He’s leading with his experience, and the next generation will be with him.”

Bedingfield pointed to Biden’s relatively young cabinet, as well as Democratic candidates across the country who won elections in the 2022 midterm elections by running on a presidential agenda.

“He’s really doing something for the next generation, and people are responding to that,” said Democratic political consultant Jesse Ferguson. “

For die-hard young voters who may have once leaned toward a younger generation of Democrats, the president is providing evidence of “doing good for a new generation,” said Biden pollster John Anzalone.

“You saw that in the 2022 voting cycle, you’re going to see that in 2024,” he added.

However, while young voters lean Democratic in the 2022 midterm elections, they fading enthusiasm Starting 2020, distaste for Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency drove them to the polls more often. That’s a potential warning sign for Biden, especially if the GOP nominates a new face.

Biden entered the White House about two years ago with pent-up expectations, but the odds of realizing them by a narrow margin in Congress are slim.Once out, he made sure Pass $1.9 Trillion U.S. Rescue PackageBut then he quickly ran into roadblocks with a series of larger proposals, first dubbed the American Families Plan and later the Build Back Better package.

On-and-off, tortuous talks with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia curtailed those proposals and dragged down Biden and his White House for months, even on $1 trillion in bipartisan infrastructure. The same is true after the law is passed.

Amid the legislative quagmire and the aftermath of the darkest moment of Biden’s presidency — the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last summer — Biden’s approval ratings have plummeted.

It wasn’t until mid-2022, with the midterm elections looming, that Biden was able to break through the impasse and pass a bipartisan response to gun violence and restart domestic high-tech manufacturing, as well as the Democrats’ only investments in fighting climate change and lowering drug costs.

“He has great ambitions for this presidency, particularly the need for generational investments in this country that, in many cases, haven’t actually been done for years — to the country,” said a senior Biden adviser. An investment in itself.” Steve Richty. He said Biden set out to “restore awareness of the presidency and the capacity of the presidency.”

Still, Biden has fallen short of some popular 2020 campaign promises, notably the “human infrastructure” touted by his aides, such as free community college — a priority for first lady Jill Biden — Expansion of paid family leave and early child care. His pledge in the fall to forgive much of the state’s publicly held student debt has been frozen pending Supreme Court debate in February.

Aides say Biden’s next two years are bound to be limited. With Democrats losing unified control of Congress, his priorities will shift to implementing the new measures and reminding Americans of their impact as he approaches re-election. Biden will continue to find areas of bipartisanship, but little is expected about his top priorities, such as banning assault weapons and enacting nationwide abortion rights, they said.

Instead, he will look to highlight and build on popular programs such as Medicare’s $35-a-month cap on insulin costs that will go into effect in January, while cabinet agencies work to award and track hundreds of billions of dollars new spending of funds.

“The next two years are about solutions that impact people’s daily lives, starting with the January 1 insulin cap,” Ferguson said.