Vaccine obligation canceled, electoral reform blocked: Biden lives on a Black Thursday


JDark Thursday for Joe Biden, who saw the Supreme Court block the vaccine obligation he intended to impose on companies, while a vast electoral reform he supports threatens to wreck the US Congress.

It is a visibly nervous American president who reported Thursday to the press of an extremely rare meeting on Capitol Hill with Democratic senators, supposed to unite them around a new law protecting African-Americans’ access to the vote.

“I hope we get there but I’m not sure,” he admitted of this crucial project of his presidency, and this promise made to African-American voters, who mostly have it. supported.

Moments later, the US Supreme Court dealt Joe Biden another blow, ruling illegal his decision to impose the anti-Covid vaccine in companies with more than 100 employees.

The measure, dear to Joe Biden, was denounced as an abuse of power by elected Republican officials. In a country where only 62% of the population is fully vaccinated, the question reveals deep political divides.

The high court, on the other hand, validated the vaccination obligation for employees of health structures that benefit from federal funds.

Too big promises?

This succession of bad news erodes a little more the political credit of a president who is already very unpopular and who has perhaps made too big promises, with a parliamentary majority too thin.

Joe Biden thus promised to protect access to the ballot boxes for minorities and the transparency of voting operations, in the face of a multitude of reforms undertaken by conservative states, in particular in the south of the country.

NGOs assure that these measures adopted by Republicans particularly discriminate against African Americans, who overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden in the last election.

To block it, the Democratic president wants to harmonize voting practices and give the federal state a right of scrutiny over local initiatives.

However, it only took one Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema, to reduce to nothing or almost all hope of passing this great reform, presented as the heir to the great fights for civil rights of the 1960s.

The elected, a centrist Democrat, is not against the legislation itself. But she opposes the parliamentary procedure imagined to break the barrier of the Republican opposition.

In theory, passing the reform through the Senate would require an increased majority of 60 votes, by virtue of a custom supposed to encourage moderation and dialogue across partisan lines. And which gives enormous blocking power to the opposition.

For lack of being able to convince Republican senators, fiercely opposed to the project, the Democrats have only one solution to save their electoral reform: to break this parliamentary practice and to pass in force to the simple majority.

“Spiral of Hell”

Kyrsten Sinema does not want a passage in force which would only fuel “an infernal spiral of the division”, she estimated in a very solemn address to the rostrum of the Senate.

Without his voice, in a Senate where the Democratic camp has 50 votes plus that of Vice-President Kamala Harris, and Republicans 50, the reform is doomed.

This Black Thursday cruelly reminds Joe Biden that he has very little leeway.

He must deal with a Congress that he does not really control, conservative states in open rebellion on multiple subjects (abortion, voting rights, health strategy …), and a Supreme Court now very conservative, after the appointments made. by Donald Trump.

Already in December, he had had to bury a very ambitious social reform because of a single Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, another centrist.

In a few months, Joe Biden risks losing any majority in Congress in a midterm legislative election. He would then, in fact, be paralyzed until the next presidential election.

13/01/2022 21:24:20 – 
        Washington (AFP) – 
        © 2022 AFP

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