Congress Hits Rock Bottom
Author: Greg Valliere
February 6, 2024
CONGRESS IS ABOUT TO KILL a border reform bill that had overwhelming support just weeks ago. The big impact isn’t on immigration policy, which will remain dysfunctional; the big impact will be on Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other countries that were promised U.S. aid that isn’t coming.
IT’S A DEBACLE ON CAPITOL HILL, where budgets don’t pass and a government shutdown now looms. The most ominous impact of killing the border bill will be on the Ukraine war, where the great fear — a dwindling resolve by the U.S. — is now coming true. Vladimir Putin will get his wish: the U.S. is clearly becoming a less dependable ally.
IT’S TOO EARLY to proclaim that Ukraine faces defeat in this horrible war, which has killed or wounded approximately 500,000 troops. Sophisticated arms are still flowing into the country from other allies, and it’s difficult to imagine that Ukraine could lose the war. But Ukraine’s momentum has stalled and both sides are dug in to gruesome trench warfare.
IT’S POSSIBLE THAT THE NEXT BIG BUDGET BATTLE — attempting to pass a spending package by early March — will provide an opportunity to approve foreign aid, but conservatives in the House are not inclined to pass any bill in March. They’re perfectly content to keep the deadbeat government afloat by passing continuing resolutions every few weeks.
ALONG WITH THE SPECTACLE of legislative paralysis in Washington, there’s the constant reminder that President Biden is in decline. This weekend he appeared to mix up French President Emmanuel Macron with Francois Mitterrand, the former president of France who died in 1996.
THIS COMES AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED that Biden will not join the traditional pre-Super Bowl presidential interview. We talked with a Democratic strategist yesterday who said Biden’s aides were unwilling to take a risk that he would go off-script before the big game. Trump’s advisers have similar fears about their candidate.
IT THIS WAS 1948, a feisty president like Harry Truman would rant about a “do nothing” Congress. He demanded action, won passage of the Marshall Plan and won another term in the fall election. That’s a distant memory in this town, where Congress once again is a victim of its own timidity.
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