NewsNational Politics


Next 2 weeks will prove critical for Biden's agenda

President Joe Biden
Posted at 3:27 AM, Oct 18, 2021

President Joe Biden is entering a crucial two weeks for his ambitious agenda.

He's racing to conclude contentious congressional negotiations ahead of both domestic deadlines and a chance to showcase his administration's accomplishments on the world stage when he travels to Europe at the beginning of November for a UN conference on climate change.

Biden and his fellow Democrats are struggling to bridge intraparty divides by month's end to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger social services package.

That goal has been jeopardized by fractures among Democrats, leaving the fate of sweeping climate change promises in peril.

Though many of the provisions proposed in the two bills are popular among Democrats, moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are concerned about the $3.5 trillion combined price tag for the bills.

On Friday, Biden appeared to be willing to negotiate the size of the packages, noting that "we won't get $3.5 trillion, but we'll come back, and we'll get the rest."

There's also rising anxiety among Democrats in the leadup to a bellwether Virginia gubernatorial contest and looming Senate fights over the federal debt limit and government funding.

While Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a slight lead in polls over Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia election, the party fears that a loss could indicate that the country intends to take a new direction during the 2022 midterms.

Congress will also need to take time next month to vote to raise the debt ceiling after lawmakers only agreed to a short-term fix last month.