In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. It was a huge economic stimulus bill that, among many other things, included an expanded child tax credit which provided monthly payments for low-income families with dependent children.
The expansion of the child tax credit was a huge success, with the child poverty rate falling 46 percent and lifting nearly 4 million children out of poverty.
But at the end of the year, the expansion expired. Congress failed to renew it. Millions of children fell back into poverty.
The passing of the debt ceiling bill last week has made me think about the many failures of the Democratic Party during Biden’s term. The story of the child tax credit has been replayed over and over. Promises of progress have repeatedly been compromised away or allowed to fail.
The Democrats had no reason to compromise with Republicans over the debt ceiling. Many alternatives were suggested in the media and endorsed by some Democrats. Biden could have invoked the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress, getting around the debt ceiling or minted a trillion-dollar platinum coin.
Instead, he struck a deal with Kevin McCarthy in which the Democrats gave only concessions to the opposition, minority party. The debt ceiling bill will claw back $28 billion in unspent Covid relief funds, eliminate $1.4 billion in IRS funding, restart federal student loan payments and add additional work requirements for those who need SNAP benefits — policies that will hurt those in poverty most of all.
Not to mention that the state of America is much worse than it was three years ago. Under Biden we’ve experienced rampant inflation, the end of Roe v. Wade, increased attacks against LGBTQ people and on and on.
All of this to say: Biden should not be president in 2024. It’s not too late for him to drop out of the race, and he should do it immediately. The American people deserve far better than the embarrassment of another Biden-Harris ticket.
I’m sure some liberals will say the failures I attribute to the Biden Administration were the fault of others. They’ll blame the Republicans, rogue Democrats, the filibuster. To all of this I say — fine. So, the problems aren’t his fault. But is his failure to solve them the fault of someone else as well?
Think back to early 2021 when the unelected Senate parliamentarian killed the $15 minimum wage that was set to be in the Democrat’s budget reconciliation package. Democrats like Ilhan Omar suggested the parliamentarian be fired — why should the parliamentarian, some unelected nobody get to make such a decision? And besides, it had been done before — the Republicans did it in 2001 to get what they wanted after the parliamentarian said they couldn’t.
But the Biden Administration refused to do it, just like they’ve refused to add more Supreme Court Justices to the Court to restore abortion rights and defend student loan forgiveness. The filibuster was blamed on the failure to pass the voting rights bill in 2022, but Biden has mostly shied away from calling to end the procedure.
And yes, the Republican Party is full of ghouls who prey upon minorities and the poor. So, why compromise with them? They don’t have the Senate or the White House, and their majority in the House is slim. Why give them anything they want? The people didn’t vote for them, or their reactionary agenda. The liberals who defend Biden by blaming Republicans need to take a closer look at who they’re defending. Every step of the way Biden has placated to conservatives.
On issues of climate change, Biden has been a failure — he promised no new drilling but gave us the Willow Project instead. The tepid gun reform law he signed in 2022 has done nothing to stop the almost daily bloodshed in this country.
On foreign policy he’s been incredibly reactionary. Whether it’s hawkishness with China, continuing to pour money and weapons into Ukraine instead of trying to diplomatically end the war or depriving the people of Afghanistan billions of dollars of much needed money, the Biden administration’s foreign policy has been unconscionable.
And need I say it? Biden is too old to be president. Questions about his cognitive ability are valid, and concerns that he may not survive another term equally so.
But as I’ve laid out, it’s Biden’s institutionalism that makes him most unfit for another four years. His refusal to whip party members who don’t fall in line, his commitment to the filibuster, the parliamentarian, the Supreme Court — all of these have stood in the way of progressive policies the majority of Americans support.
If these institutions stand in the way of progress, what good are the institutions? The undemocratic Senate with its undemocratic filibuster, the unelected parliamentarian and the unelected Supreme Court — all these things must be swept away. These institutions are poisons that strangle social justice. Biden will never provide the cure, so he needs to get out of the way.
Jared Quigg (he/him) is a senior studying journalism and political science.