US President Joe Biden was forced to withdraw the candidacy of the woman who was intended to take over the preparation of the state budget in the White House, of Nira Taden, after the reactions, a move that translated as his first defeat in the Congress.
Nira Taden met with resistance from senators and key senators, demonstrating that the new Democratic head of state counts as a completely marginal majority in Congress.
For weeks, the White House has flirted with a small group of Republicans and senators, both Republicans and Democrats, who have been described as moderate and hold the power to approve, or kill, their most important plans.
“I have accepted the request of Nira Taden to withdraw her candidacy,” Biden announced yesterday.
Republican senators, as well as a fellow Democrat, openly opposed the appointment of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a powerful executive of the US presidency. each president.
Republicans said they were outraged by past comments, targeting them by name, while progressives close to independent Bernie Saunders saw her as too centrist.
But it was the most conservative of the Democratic senators, Joe Manchin, who would ultimately condemn Ms. Taden's candidacy, making it clear in late February that she was not going to vote for her appointment. She argued that her “openly political” views would have a “toxic effect” on the relationship between Congress and the White House.
One senator and three key senators
Democrats hold a slim majority in the US upper house: they have 50 seats, as many as Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to break the deadlock if there is a tie.
The nominations announced by the president need only 51 votes to be approved by the Senate. Theoretically, therefore, any dissent in the Democratic ranks could be covered by a Republican vote.
“Unfortunately, it now seems obvious that there is no way to secure ratification of the candidacy,” Nira Taden said in a letter to Joe Biden calling for her name to be withdrawn.
A senator for 35 years, the current occupant of the White House can be proud to know the upper house very well; he assures that he will seek to form where possible the consensus of the two parties in Congress.
So far, the nominations he has announced have been approved without exception, often by an overwhelming majority. At the same time, Democrats are pushing for ambitious bills in the House of Representatives, where they also have a – slightly more comfortable – majority.
The fall of Mrs. Taden announces new, even tougher battles in the Senate. It also marks how much power is now in the hands of four members of the House: Joe Mancin and Kirsten Cinema (Arizona) in the Democratic ranks, Lisa Murkauski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) in the split Republican camp.
Next hurdle, already within the week: the vote in the upper house on the stimulus package for the US economy in order to recover from the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The majority in the Senate, Chuck Sumer, assured yesterday that his party has a “sufficient” number of votes (in other words, 51) to pass the bill before the end of the week.
But he was able to make that statement only because the provision for the lower wage increase, which was included in its original version, was deleted from the text.
As Joe Mancin and Kirsten Cinema opposed the measure, threatening to overturn the bill in full for the economic support package which so far there is no indication that it will be voted in favor by any Republican.
Threatened “dead end”
Joe Mancin, 73, is characterized by his straightforward, sometimes awkward tone, Kirsten Cinema, 44, the first openly bisexual candidate for the Senate in 2018, with sometimes sophisticated choices in her hair and attire, her discretion in its media presence. This duo does not seem to have much in common, but it is united by the systematic adoption of conservative positions, which infuriates the progressive wing of the party.
Suffice it to recall the resistance of the duo to the reform of the Senate rules so that the laws pass with a simple, not strengthened majority of 60 votes.
If this reform is not passed, in order to prevent the parliamentary guerrilla warfare known as filibuster from becoming fashionable again, Democrats and Joe Biden will have to secure the support of at least ten Republicans to pass their next major bills. : on policing reforms, immigration policy changes, arms control…
A prospect virtually unthinkable, in a Congress so polarized.
Democrats “will be increasingly outraged to see the Senate clear all their priorities,” predicted Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia.
The next two years, until the midterm parliamentary elections, may be marked by a complete “deadlock” in Congress, he explained to Agence France-Presse. However, “I bet we will have more compromises than we expect,” he said.
“Because if nothing the Democrats want is approved by the Senate, then nothing the Republicans want will go through the House of Representatives or the Senate. “And the Republicans want some things to move forward.”