The 117th Congress, President Biden and the failure of progressives


David O’Brien, Editor

The seven Democratic Senators and the one Independent Senator who voted no on amending the coronavirus relief plan to include a $15 minimum wage.

After the inauguration of President Biden and the swearing in of the 117th Congress, progressives were optimistic about the new year and hoped to pass numerous components of their agenda. This optimism has quickly shown to be misplaced as the president and numerous Democrats (and one independent who caucuses with Democrats) have returned to the typical moderate Democratic agenda that most American citizens witnessed under President Obama.

Despite President Biden’s ideologically moderate reputation and his conservative-democrat career in the senate, he campaigned on numerous progressive promises such as clean energy and increasing the minimum wage. He also supported withdrawing American troops and attempting to switch from gunboat diplomacy to more “civilized” methods of dealing with foreign powers, however, he has already betrayed some of these promises. 

Last month, President Biden withdrew support from the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen. Biden claimed that America will put diplomacy first when dealing with the Middle East during his administration, however, he has quickly backpedalled  on this by dropping numerous bombs in Syria, seemingly out of nowhere. President Biden claimed the reasoning behind this attack was to protect American troops within Syria who were fighting Iranian troops in a proxy fight. The American troops in Syria are providing support for rebels against the Syrian government. Despite the American government’s claim to no longer destabilize the Middle East, backing rebels in a civil war seems like a method of doing so. 

Whether or not one supports military intervention in Syria, this attack was done illegally even in American presidency terms, since the Biden administration failed to get authorization under law of Authorization of Military Force of 2001, the law used by the president to receive authorization for all attacks focused on terrorism based threats. Biden has quickly betrayed the progressive anti-war agenda he once set out for during the campaign trail, in the name of a country that the United States is not even allies with.

The progressive Democrats’ anti-war policy was not the only aspect of their agenda to take a serious blow over the past few weeks. Democrats surrendered their plan to abolish the filibuster during the transition of the 116th congress to the 117th congress because of Republican threats to slow the transition process if the filibuster was not guaranteed to stay intact. Progressives also failed to keep the fifteen dollar minimum wage increase in the COVID-19 relief bill because of eight senate Democrats who voted against the addendum, many of whom did so because of the Senate Parliamentarian, an undemocratic position based on appointment by the Senate Majority leader, recommended it be removed since she did not believe it would hold under senate budget rules. Progressives have already failed to achieve two of the major goals in the legislature and it seems Biden has already turned his back on a progressive foreign policy and has focused on continuing traditional American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s