Biden Says Virginia Election Defeat Shows Urgency of His Agenda
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said his party’s election defeat in Virginia showed the urgency for Democrats to pass his economic agenda through Congress -- and that “maybe” the results would have been different if he had already signed the legislation.
“People want us to get things done,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from Covid to school to jobs to a whole range of things. The cost of a gallon of gasoline.”
“We should produce for the American people,” he said.
Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race despite Biden carrying the state by 10 points a year earlier. Youngkin is the first Republican to win statewide election since 2009.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, meanwhile, is trying to fend off a stronger than expected challenge from Republican Jack Ciattarelli. And a ballot measure in Minneapolis to shutter, rebrand and relaunch the police department failed, a blow to some progressives’ calls to “defund the police.”
All told, the rebuke led to hand-wringing among Democrats, with many lawmakers saying they should redouble efforts to pass his agenda, including a Senate-passed public works bill and a larger package of tax increases and social welfare programs, known as “Build Back Bettter.”
If Democrats want to win in 2022 midterm elections, “the only path forward is to deliver these two bills to President Biden’s desk,” Senator Chris Coons told MSNBC -- a comment that Biden’s chief of staff tweeted and thanked Coons for.
But Joe Manchin, a crucial moderate vote, said the takeaway from Tuesday’s votes was to pump the brakes. “I would just say that we better be very careful and be very, very transparent so so people know what’s in them,” he said. “Don’t even set a timeline until we thoroughly, thoroughly vet this bill.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aiming to bring both bills for a vote this week, though the fate of that effort remained up in the air on Wednesday. House progressives continue to warn that they won’t support passage of the infrastructure bill without further detail on the other package.
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