Joe Biden abandons pledge to govern for all America as one-term president rushes through laws
Joe Biden has been accused of abandoning his commitment to governing for all Americans as he rapidly pushes through policy in the face of an increasingly hostile Republican Party.
As the president approaches his first 100 days in office, he is pushing for bills on everything from climate change to tax hikes to police reform.
But his failure to reconcile with Republicans has even taken some in his own party by surprise.
One moderate Democrats close to Mr Biden said he had become too eager to please the Left wing of his own party at the expense of attempting to heal the divide in a post-Trump America.
“He has been pushed to the left, there’s no question about it,” a source close to the US president, who has known him for years, told The Sunday Telegraph.
“He’s the biggest ever vote getter in history but he’s being very deferential to the progressives. It’s like he’s asking permission from them. He’s not treating it like he won the biggest election in history. He should be leading the pack, he should be telling them what to do, and they should be accepting what he tells them.”
Mr Biden’s first 100 days have been popular with progressive Democrats, but angered Republicans.
Mr Trump predicted a crisis would ensue at the Mexico border, and that has come to pass with tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America, and Mr Biden’s administration scrambling for places to house them.
Republicans in Congress have also repeatedly blocked Mr Biden, including on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which has the approval of a considerable proportion of Republican voters.
Mr Biden is now seeking to pass sweeping police reforms through the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is unlikely to have not a single Republican supporter in Congress.
The bill for another project called the “American Family Plan” – to deliver paid family leave, childcare and free community college – could reach $1.5 trillion.
The former senator who prided himself on being able to work across the aisle to get things done, has fended off criticism.
“Everybody said I had no bipartisan support,” Mr Biden said recently in Pittsburgh referring to the covid relief package, which polls showed had the support of 70 per cent of the population. “The overwhelming bipartisan support were Republican.”
Nevertheless, critics say Mr Biden has been what Republicans accused him of in the election campaign – a moderate front for a very radical agenda.
Mr Biden plans to pay for this colossal spending splurge with tax hikes, including raising corporation tax from 21 per cent to 28 per cent, a move which has even unsettled moderate Democrats.
Investors will be hammered with a near doubling in capital gains tax, to as high as 43.4 per cent.
This week Mr Biden also announced radical new climate change goals – cutting US greenhouse gas emissions to 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 – which Republican opponents called “beyond destructive”.
In addition, he has established a commission to explore the possibility of expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.
Republicans have been outraged by the suggestion that the court could be “packed” with liberal judges.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, who has known Mr Biden for decades, believes the president has nowhere near lived up to his pledge to “reach across the aisle” in his first 100 days.
“For a president who ran as bipartisan, I haven’t seen that yet,” according to Mr McConnell. “I know him well, I like him. We’ve been friends for years. A moderate [president] he has not been.”
He called Mr Biden’s sprawling infrastructure plan a “patchwork of left-wing social engineering programmes.”
Mr Biden has also indicated he is open to the idea of eliminating the filibuster, a Senate process which means most legislation needs 60 out of 100 votes, and therefore some bipartisan support, to pass.
According to Mr McConnell that would lead to a “nuclear winter” in the Senate, with both sides adopting “scorched-earth” approaches.
However, progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives have been delighted by Mr Biden’s first 100 days.
They have compared his massive investment programmes to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a progressive Democrat from New York, said: “He’s already done a lot that I love.”
Mr Biden will mark his 100th day by going to Georgia, the southern state which helped him win the White House.
He was the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992. He will address a drive-in rally in Atlanta.