|The rest of the summer will be a tough slog for President Joe Biden, who faces a series of uphill battles — many of them outside of his direct control. Here are the main challenges facing Biden in the weeks ahead:|
Challenge #1: Infrastructure. The Senate returns to Washington today after a weeklong recess. The House will be back next week, and Democrats in both chambers — as well as the White House — will set off on their all-out sprint to pass not one, but two, sweeping infrastructure packages.
As a reminder, Democrats are working on infrastructure along "two tracks": one with bipartisan support (the $973 billion proposal put together by senators from both parties) and one to be passed along partisan lines (a package to accomplish Biden's other "human infrastructure" priorities, which will proceed through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process).
Neither legislative proposal has been finalized; both entail fragile negotiating processes, as Democrats have a lot of constituencies to please and few votes to spare. Nevertheless, lawmakers are hoping to get as far along as possible on both "tracks" before leaving for their August recess; according to Politico, the bipartisan bill could even receive a floor vote next week.
Members of Congress are hoping to preserve their cherished month-long August break, which will mean a jam-packed next few weeks. "Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote in a letter to his colleagues last week. "Senators should be prepared for the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously-scheduled August state work period."