President Donald Trump and conservative pundits warned for months during the 2020 campaign that behind then-candidate Joe Biden’s centrist, bipartisan façade lay a radical liberal agenda to transform the United States. Biden has proven them right in less than 100 days, earning praise from liberal observers who are drawing historical comparisons to the tenure of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, written along the outline of Biden’s proposal, dwarfs FDR’s New Deal in terms of total cost to the American taxpayer. Democrats rammed the measure through Congress without any Republican support, proving Biden was the partisan that critics had warned about.
The Democratic president’s proposed infrastructure measures—the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan—would bring the total price tag to an estimated $5.4 trillion, while ushering in a wave of welfare programs unseen since the introduction of Medicare and food stamps. The cost splits up to more than $43,000 per household and more than the combined wealth of all the billionaires in America. Democrats could enact both plans without any Republican support, by using, for the first time ever, the reconciliation process more than once in a budget year.
The fiscal scale and radical nature of the agenda, coupled with the razor-thin House and Senate majorities the Democrats are using to implement it, are exerting pressure on an American system of governance that has historically demanded a measure of bipartisanship in order to enact transformative change.
“A Senate evenly split between both parties and a bare Democratic House majority are hardly a mandate to ‘go it alone,’” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a Trump critic and one of the few Republicans seeking a bipartisan solution on infrastructure, wrote on Twitter.
Democrats argue that pushing the pandemic stimulus through without Republican support was necessary to help Americans struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic. They say that some provisions of the bill, including the expansion of Obamacare, were long overdue. Democrats predict that the child tax credit, which will amount to a monthly cash payment for most families beginning in July, could cut child poverty in half.