President Joe Biden has come under fire from fellow Democrats on multiple issues, ranging from his handling of the situation at the border to his failure to push his legislative agenda through Congress.
On Sunday, Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe expressed frustration that Democrats in Washington, D.C., have thus far been unable to push a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill through Congress.
“Why haven’t we passed this infrastructure bill? It passed the U.S. Senate with 69 votes two months ago. I have been very straight on television,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We’re tired of the chitty-chat in Washington. Get into a room and get it figured out,” McAuliffe added.
He went on to say: “I’m traveling all over Virginia — they’re worried about minimum wage, they want child care, they want elderly care, they want to see paid sick leave, family medical leave. … They’re paid to get up in Washington, get this done, and the frustration is why isn’t it done by now? 69 votes in the Senate two months ago. Get it done. Do your job.”
The issue for Biden and his allies is that the fate of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill has become intertwined with that of a $3.5 trillion measure, which he also supports, that allocates massive amounts of funding for social and environmental programs.
Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have made it clear they won’t support the $3.5 trillion legislation, meaning Democrats do not have enough votes to pass the bill in the Senate. However, many progressives in the House have effectively said they will not vote for $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill unless the $3.5 trillion legislation is approved in the Senate first.
Biden and his administration have pushed hard for both bills to clear Congress, but to no avail.
McAuliffe, for his part, acknowledged last week that Biden is “unpopular” in Virginia, according to Axios. And it seems clear that nationwide, even Democratic voters think Biden could be doing better.
“In a focus group last week, Pennsylvania Democrats one after another articulated the issue vexing top White House aides, party operatives in Virginia and voters in Georgia: Why isn’t President Joe Biden’s diminished job rating rebounding?” Politico reported Monday.
“All nine participants from Tuesday’s session gave Biden C- grades or lower. And their answers circled back to a similar point: The pandemic and the many ways it continues to hinder normal life is souring their views of Biden.”
Sarah Longwell, a moderate Republican strategist and Biden supporter who led the focus group, said some Democratic voters feel as though Biden has not followed through on his campaign promises.
“There is a malaise,” she told Politico. “People don’t feel like their lives have been improved. They did sort of feel that promises aren’t being kept.”
Longwell also touched on the drama in Washington, noting that Biden and his fellow Democrats “are in a morass of fighting with each over bills that nobody knows what’s in,” and that “it just looks like a cluster.”
Some Democrats are also frustrated by Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the crisis at the southern border.
“In Georgia, Democrats said they remained confused and upset by Biden’s decision-making on Afghanistan, migrants at the border, and the intraparty feuding around his economic agenda,” Politico reported. “‘Disappointed’ was a word used by most of the Black and white voters who spoke to POLITICO in the metro Atlanta area when describing Biden’s time in office.”
According to 71-year-old Sylvia Bernstein of Atlanta, who voted for Biden, the president has “made horrible mistakes” when it comes to refugees and Afghanistan.
Even former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who endorsed Biden in 2020, criticized the president over his handling of the Haitian migrant crisis in an Op-Ed last month for El Paso Matters titled, “Biden administration failures worsen the Haitian migration crisis.”
“We should have seen them coming and ensured that the people of Del Rio, the women and men of the Border Patrol and especially the refugees themselves would not have to endure what has shocked the world over the last week,” O’Rourke wrote.
“And once the Haitians arrived, why was our government so slow to respond, leaving the people of Del Rio and the Border Patrol to their own devices? The disregard for border communities, and the over reliance on already stressed federal law enforcement, produced conditions that ultimately led to the unforgettable and unforgivable scene of mounted officers charging into the mass of unarmed immigrants,” he added.
Moreover, during a town hall meeting last week, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Susan Wild said she was “disappointed” with the results of the Biden administration’s work on the border crisis.
“I will be very honest with you and tell you I am a little bit disappointed. I know that the President assigned responsibility for the border crisis to the Vice President,” she said, according to Fox News. “I’m a little bit disappointed I haven’t seen much in the way of results.”
Meanwhile, some moderate Democrats feel as though Biden has embraced the far left.
“The way he is governing doesn’t reflect the skills I know he must have from his years as a legislator,” Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy told The New York Times, claiming it was “disappointing and frustrating” that he was not pushing harder for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
“Well, if it’s not a priority for him, then maybe it’s just not a priority period,” California Democratic Rep. Jim Costa added to Roll Call. “It’s a priority for me.”