Posted by on January 13, 2022 4:08 pm
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Democrats’ agenda plunges into uncertainty following Biden visit

President Joe Biden speaks to the media after meeting privately with Senate Democrats, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Democrats’ agenda plunges into uncertainty following Biden visit

Susan Ferrechio January 13, 03:28 PMJanuary 13, 04:05 PM

President Joe Biden left a meeting with Senate Democrats on Thursday with a bleak outlook on the passage of two partisan election overhaul bills that party lawmakers believe are essential to preserving their majority in Congress.

“I hope we can get this done,” Biden told reporters gathered outside the meeting room. “The honest-to-God answer is I don’t know whether we can get this done.”

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Biden offered the pessimistic outlook just hours after fellow Democrat and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced her opposition to changing the filibuster, which is the only way Democrats could pass the election legislation over the unanimous objection of Republicans.

Biden got more bad news on Thursday afternoon in a Supreme Court ruling that blocked his administration’s workplace vaccine-or-test mandate. The conservative majority on the court ruled 6-3 to block the vaccine-or-test mandate for employees of big businesses, saying the secretary of the Labor Department “lacked authority to impose the mandate.”

Back on Capitol Hill and Democratic filibuster change efforts, Biden said he would continue “fighting to change” the Senate rules, which Democrats claim leads to unfair GOP obstruction of their agenda despite their own heavy use of the filibuster under Republican control.

‘SAVED THE SENATE’: GOP PRAISES SINEMA FOR UPHOLDING FILIBUSTER

Biden reiterated the argument made by Democrats that changing the long-standing filibuster is justified because their election overhaul legislation is needed to combat red-state voter integrity laws they believe will limit voter access.

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“It’s about election subversion,” Biden told reporters. “Not just whether or not people get to vote. Who counts the vote. That’s what makes it so different from anything we’ve ever done.”

Sinema is among a small group of senators hesitant about getting rid of the 60-vote threshold. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, is also opposed to the rule change.

With voting legislation destined to fail, Democrats are left with a gutted agenda.

Manchin and Sinema also oppose all or parts of Biden’s signature economic legislation, the Build Back Better plan, which is now stalled indefinitely.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, had announced the Senate would vote by early next week on the filibuster change and the voter overhaul bills. On Thursday, he declined to tell reporters whether those plans remain intact.

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Biden hoped to sway reluctant Democrats personally with diminished clout. His approval ratings have sunk to the low 30s in some polls, and the public has become frustrated with rising prices and empty store shelves.

Just as Biden left the Senate meeting room, the Supreme Court voted to stay a lower court ruling blocking his mandate that private companies require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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