Joe Biden wants to be a trader. He may have just failed.

For years, President Joe Biden has tipped his hat to the view that he is uniquely qualified to run for the U.S. Senate and weather the biggest expansion of the social safety net in half a century.

But the apparent death of Agenda “Build Back Better”, announced undeclared by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Sunday, raised questions about one of Biden’s most fundamental beliefs: that the Senate is still capable of doing its job. me.

“You know sometimes you think you’re waking up from a dream, but are you really just waking up from a nightmare?” a longtime confidant of Biden said in a text message. “That’s it, but the dream is that the Senate can work, and the nightmare is reality.”

The president’s team has long hailed his experience in the Senate as a fundamental aspect of his personality, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki joking Monday that “he always thinks he is a senator,” no matter what office he holds.

Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years before being elected vice president, is considered a sophisticated political operator for decades who knows the members of the chamber better than anyone – sometimes even their own employees.

A longtime former staffer recalls Biden’s moment during his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when a senior adviser confidently predicted a Republican committee member’s actions regarding an upcoming nomination. next.

“Biden laughed to himself and said, ‘That senator wouldn’t do that,’” the former staffer said. When the adviser countered that he was confident in his understanding of Republican intentions, Biden laughed again and bet a year’s salary on them that they were wrong.

“And sure enough, Joe Biden was right,” the former employee said. “He’s been around all the other senators, he’s watched the fights on the floor, he knows the different dances, and he knows that even if an employee in another office for one thing, his reading is correct.”

Clearly, Biden’s reading is no longer always correct.

In the 13 years since Biden left the Senate, the boardroom has turned into a hyperpartisan rally where the rule of law is based on consensus — you know, what Biden has championed above an almost daily basis since he was elected nearly half a century ago – almost impossible.


President Joe Biden speaks to graduates of South Carolina State University during their commencement ceremony on December 17, 2021.


The White House was quick to push back on that controversy, pointing out passed $1.9 trillion in emergency funding to fight the pandemic and a major bipartisan infrastructure bill that actually garnered a lot of Republican support.

On Saturday night, hours before Manchin effectively performed “Build Back Better” in the Senate’s prison yard, The Daily Beast received a White House memo supporting the president’s ability to to receive “an enormous amount of money made for the American people in 2021,” despite “unprecedented crises and opposition from Republicans in Congress.”

But the memo, which aims to highlight the administration’s accomplishments—“nearly six million jobs this year, the most of any first-year president,” “reduced long-term unemployment strongest in the history of the United States” —giving only to highlight the degree of stability- to set foot in the White House was arrested when Manchin announced that he was “not” in the social spending package the next day.

The West Virginia senator put forward, in retrospect, many public instructions that he was not on board with the Democratic Party bill. The White House has refused to negotiate openly with fence-sitting Democrats like Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), instead favoring closed-door discussions at the staff level and between Biden. and the legislators themselves. But administration officials were appeased by private assurances from Manchin that he could be brought on board.

On Monday, however, Manchin indicated that those discussions weren’t handled as delicately as he needed to keep him playing, blaming his decision to put the kibosh on “Build Back” Better” was the result of a decorator breach from White House staff. , while he also asserted that he always knew he would not support the law.

“They know the real reason what happened. They won’t tell you and I won’t,” Manchin said on a radio show in West Virginia. “It’s the staff. It is run by the staff. I understand that. It wasn’t the president, it was his staff – they brought up some completely inexplicable things. They know what it is and that’s it. ”

That makes no sense to those who have worked under Biden, whose decades-old reputation for building a high-profile talent—and very loyal—The staff under his command.

“Legislation and policy making and communication is an art, not a science,” said another former employee, adding that they could not think of a single instance of an employee “scamming” without the senator’s permission. “He trusts his employees to speak with his voice, act with his voice.”

Manchin declined to elaborate on the “inexcusable” actions of the White House, but Mr may have been introduced to one declared milquetoast announced by the White House last week, in which Biden acknowledged that Manchin was part of the reason Build Back Better hasn’t been passed.

Now, he’s also likely to be baffled by a more fiery statement from Psaki on Sunday, after Manchin announced his objection on Fox News.

“Senator Manchin promised to continue the conversations in the coming days and work with us to reach that common ground,” Psaki said in the statement. “If his comments on FOX and the written statement indicate the end of that effort, they represent an abrupt and inexplicable reversal of his position, and violate his commitment to the president and senators’ colleagues in the House and Senate.”

Manchin, who Biden’s longtime confidant calls “a notorious snob,” seems to have pointed out in the radio interview that there may have been a bit of regionalism that ultimately pushed him. We’re over the edge.

“Guess? I’m from West Virginia,” Manchin said Monday. “I don’t come from where they come from, and they can’t just beat the half-dead and think they’ll submit. Stage = Stage.”

The White House has remained adamant in public that Biden will pursue the passage of “Building Back to Better” in some form in the new year, with Psaki stating multiple times during Monday’s press conference that he will “worked like hell to get it done.” Personally, however, the mood is more opportunistic for the package, with more emphasis on the passage of COVID-19 relief and the infrastructure package — as well as a confirmed marathon vote. received more than 40 ambassadors on Friday night — as proof that Biden still has plenty to do.

But Biden himself has yet to indicate that he is ready to withdraw. In one release statement on Monday night, the president said that in his most recent discussions with Manchin, the senator “reiterates his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan that I have announced in September.”

“I believe we will narrow our differences and push for the Build Back Better plan,” Biden continued, “even in the face of stiff Republican opposition.”

When asked earlier that day about Manchin when he returned to the White House from Delaware on Monday, according to the White House’s chief of staff, Biden, “intentionally walked toward the Oval Office, but did not engage. .” Joe Biden wants to be a trader. He may have just failed.


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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