How Democrat dysfunction is stalling Joe Biden’s presidency

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The reason for Mr Biden’s failure lies partially in his inability to corral his own dysfunctional party, but also in the longstanding inertia of Congress itself.

It is fair to say most Americans don’t much like their legislative body.

Congress’s latest Gallup approval rating is 20 per cent.

That’s up from a low of nine per cent in the Obama years. It has not topped 40 per cent approval since 2005.

In that time, rather than being the legislative engine that transforms America, it has too often proved the graveyard of grand ideas.

Because of the Senate procedure known as the filibuster, most bills, apart from those linked to federal revenue or spending, need a supermajority of 60 votes to pass the 100-seat upper chamber, which is a political mountain to climb.

According to the Constitution, the Senate sets its own rules, and it would only take a simple majority to do away with the filibuster.

However, Republicans and Democrats are locked in positions of mutually assured destruction.

The party in the ascendancy could get rid of the filibuster and then pass its entire agenda by simple majority.

But the next time control of Congress changes hands at an election, the other party would be able to quickly undo all that and pass their own wish list.

Hence, eliminating the filibuster is known as the “nuclear option”.

However, increasingly, many frustrated Democrats want to push the button.

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