A McConnell-lead Senate May Undermine Biden presidency

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters.

Christopher Molina, Staff Writer

Per the electoral and popular vote, on Jan. 20 of next year, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States. Many who support Biden’s win expect he will bring progressive initiatives and end the toxic partisanship that is prevalent in American politics.

Of course, that is if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) does not interfere. Republicans retaining the Senate could mean that the promised policies and initiatives made throughout the Biden campaign could be far more difficult to achieve.

Following Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election over incumbent President Donald Trump. Many Democratic voters were hoping for Biden to take the white house, for the Democratic Party to hold a majority in the House of Representatives and more importantly, the Senate.

Despite the presidential victory and retaining hold in the House (although by a smaller margin), Democrats could not complete the challenge of taking back the Senate. A Republican Senate will give way to a less effective Biden presidency.

Some Democrats are optimistic since Joe Biden narrowly beat Trump in Georgia by 14,000 votes. Biden is the first Democrat to win the state since 1992. Much of the credit is going to Democratic politician Stacy Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for Georgia’s governor position in 2018. She was credited for the considerable boost in Democratic votes in the state by registering 800,000 new voters.

The 2020 Senate election resulted in Democrats losing one Senate seat and gaining two, giving them 48 seats. If the Democrats obtained 50 seats, it would have put them even with Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

The Georgia Senate Runoff Election will be held on Jan. 5th and will be the deciding factor for which party controls the Senate, depending on who will return to the Senate and who will lose their seats. Since the candidates could not get over 50% of the vote in the 2020 election, two Republican Senators, David Purdue and Kelly Leofler will compete against their Democratic challengers Jon Ossof and Raphael Warneck.

Similar issues also presented themselves during the last two years of Obama‚Äôs presidency. In 2014, Mitch McConnell became the Majority Leader after Obama achieved most of his primary legislative goals, such as passing the Affordable Care Act. However, under a McConnell controlled Senate, the majority of Obama’s legislation from that point forward was blocked. This was made clear when Obama attempted to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court but was stopped by McConnell. Leaving the position vacant for the Trump administration to fill.

The current political climate raises doubts that Biden can be effective as a president. It has been predicted that there will be no expansion of health coverage, no bills to combat climate change, no move toward universal child care, no $15 minimum wage, no new Voting Rights Act and less spending to improve infrastructure.

McConnell’s history of undermining a sitting Democratic president does not bode well for progressive policy change any time soon.