The majority leadership of the Senate was celebrated from the Democratic bosom. What are the possible political plans? .
While there is a technical tie in the Senate, the reality is that this tiebreaker vote is important going forward. / Photo: Pixabay
LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla
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Leer en español: El débil control del senado que tendrá Biden
The United States already has a new president and the Democrats celebrate the reconquest of the Senate. By having a majority in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, we could be in the presence of a game-changer that would help drive different projects, without the need for systematic obstruction by Republicans.
The triumph of Raphael Warnock and the young Jon Ossoff in the Georgia senatorial elections was a blow to the wound of the defeated outgoing president Donald Trump. This will imply that the Democrats and independents in that chamber will have 50 of the 100 votes, in addition to the vote of the vice president-elect Kamala Harris, who will decide in the event of a tie.
While there is a technical tie in the Senate, the reality is that this tiebreaker vote is important going forward. Therefore, it is said that the Democrats now control both houses, something that did not happen since the first years of the Barack Obama presidency. However, to what extent can it represent a majority?
Joe Biden's Democratic Majority
To understand the meaning of this situation, we must go back to the past. At the time, Barack Obama was greatly benefited by the majority in the chambers. This is what happened when he launched a huge package of measures to save the US economy after the 2008/2009 crisis, generating a law that expanded and improved health coverage for millions of citizens.
With the current context of the coronavirus, it should not be surprising that a series of populist measures are announced to solve the economic situation. For example, the new administration promised checks of $ 2,000 to every American who has been harmed by the coronavirus, an initiative even supported by Trump, although blocked by the head of the until then-Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.
The problem is that Biden will not necessarily have all the power to do what he wants. On the contrary, some Democrats might think differently from the proposals by the party itself. Unlike the historically conservative Republicans, the Democrats have a much wider variety of positions, where progressive, but also conservative views are found. Biden would try to maintain a neutral position between both sides to avoid "friendly fire", but the truth is that this could even generate greater conflicts.
On the more left side of the Democrats we have one of the main figures who could criticize the new president: Bernie Sanders. At the time, he thought about it as a candidate for president but decided to support Joe Biden to have better electoral chances and defeat Trump. However, now that the goal has been met, the Vermont state senator could call for much more interventionist and left-wing measures than those that Biden intends to generate.
For example, in the debates Sanders was shown with a much more socialist position, antagonizing the multinationals and the big interventionists, seeking to increase taxes to pay for areas such as health, education, or work. Biden, much more balanced, could try to generate a "wink" to that left that Sanders represents, although not necessarily enough to satisfy him.
In that sense, Joe Biden will hope to be able to raise the minimum wage for Americans to $ 15 an hour across the country, although that amount could be low for what the Sanders sector expects. Also, the possibility of improving the health system, to generate a public option of health care, cheaper and supported by the government to compete with private companies, in addition to improving the debt of students for access to university.
The parliamentary majority is really low to believe that Biden will have free rein in decision-making. Precisely, the virtual tie in the Senate, despite Harris' control, will be the smallest majority in almost 50 years. For this reason, some dissident voices could represent “problems” for the Democrats, as in the case of Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, a historically Republican state and that would represent a problem for Biden's “progressive” agenda since he has a much more conservative vision about politics.
This person could support the Democratic priorities in terms of economy and foreign policy, although it would mean setbacks for the laws against the coal industry, climate change, or the limitation of the use of weapons, political moves much more associated with progressivism. In fact, this squad of moderates is joined by the much more centrist views of the Democrats, such as Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona and Jon Tester in Montana, who do not share the values of Biden's more left-wing agenda, as in the aforementioned topics.
In other words, the majority achieved by the Democrats represents a really big step towards getting the approval of different projects to transform the country. However, being a small difference, they will have to try to convince the Republicans of some modifications.