For Republican lawmakers, the immigration issue is a weak point for the US president, and they use the growing arrival of undocumented immigrants to discredit the administration and the opposing political force. There are other problems as well, and the November elections are decisive.
Mid-term congressional elections in the United States today dictate the direction of policy decisions in both Congress and the White House with seven months to go before the polls.
Manoeuvring to attract voters is evident in both parties as control of both houses of Congress is at stake.
One example of the disputes is the $10 billion budget bill to tackle Covid-19, which faces obstacles in the Senate a day after a bipartisan agreement to pass it was announced.
The Republicans intend to condition the acceptance of this package on an amendment to maintain the restrictions on immigration provided for in Title 42, an order put in place by former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) to expel undocumented immigrants during the pandemic.
Without the approval of additional funds for Covid-19, the bill would languish until after Congress’ Easter recess and even then there is no guarantee that it will be accepted, while the government insists on the need for the money to purchase vaccines, treatments, and tests.
Another development that reflects the intense activity in search of popular support is Biden’s decision to extend the moratorium on student loan payments until August, a move that would help millions of debtors and Democrats alike.
Also the visit to the White House of former president Barack Obama (2009-2017) for an event the day before on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was interpreted as an electioneering move.
However, in the last year, Democrats have been unable to pass some of their priorities, such as climate change measures and legislation to guarantee voting rights for all citizens, due to divisions within the party.
But could the ruler take decisions in his party’s interest from the executive to overcome republican obstructionism in the legislature?
According to Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she will be able to do so if the president begins to govern with the tools at his disposal, otherwise there are problems.
In March, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent Biden a list of 55 executive actions they recommended implementing as soon as possible, including cancelling student debt (so far only payment has been postponed until August), reducing drug prices, among others.
Given their narrow majority in the Senate and the stalemate they have faced there, executive action may be the only route the Democrats now have for certain policy changes.
However, it is unclear whether this will be enough to halt in the medium term the fall in the ruler’s popularity after recent polls showed his approval rating at around 40 per cent, below his expectations. (PL)