Washington Update - August 8, 2022

Billy Moore    Dc2

Congress and President Joe Biden are set to conclude a summer of bipartisan achievements this week with passage of a partisan healthcare-climate-tax bill. The bipartisan accomplishments include a veterans health bill, China competition legislation, and the first significant gun safety legislation in decades. Dozens of presidential nominees were confirmed, most with bipartisan support. The momentum has many in Congress dreaming of passing bipartisan legislation in September to codify same-sex marriage into federal law and to reform the Electoral Count Act.

Senate Democrats completed action on a partisan budget reconciliation bill – probably the most significant legislation of the session – this week to allow Medicare drug price negotiations and a corporate minimum tax to pay for Obamacare premium subsidies, energy, climate measures, and deficit reduction. The House plans to return to session Friday to clear the measure for President Biden’s signature.

Democrats hope the accomplishments and the Supreme Court decision on abortion will help generate enthusiasm among their voters who have indicated a lack of excitement for a party unable to get things done. 

The economy hit a significant threshold in July, restoring the 22 million jobs that were lost since March 2020 when the pandemic hit. The accomplishment is shared by President Biden and former President Donald Trump. Their collective government spending to keep the economy afloat contributed to the current increase in prices. Some inflation relief is taking shape as commodity prices fall (including gasoline) and large retailers sell off inventory.

Despite any improvements, voters are unlikely to pass up an opportunity to punish Democrats for the first two years of President Biden’s leadership. The achievements will help cut some Democratic losses and could preserve the equal division of the Senate, but inflation – especially at the gasoline pump and in the grocery store – will have the greatest impact on the November elections, hurting Democrats.