What to Know in Washington: Bidenomics Aims For Too Many Goals

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During his 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden pitched government as the solution to a cascade of historic crises of which the pandemic was merely the most urgent.

Now, with his eyes on a second term, he’s crisscrossing the country to promote a multitrillion-dollar effort to upgrade America’s crumbling infrastructure, supercharge the country’s energy transition, and build out its leading-edge industries. He wants to do it all while reversing the decades-long offshoring of manufacturing jobs, bolstering the sagging fortunes of the middle class, and tackling gender and racial inequality.

Is Bidenomics trying to tick off too many boxes at once?

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Take the administration’s $369 billion plan to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases. Dig into the details, and you’ll find national security and economic objectives alongside environmental ones. The tensions between those various goals are already becoming evident—not on Capitol Hill, where Republicans tried and failed earlier this summer to gut the climate, tax and health law, but within Biden’s own administration.

The administration is running out of time to institutionalize its big, bold vision of a green American economy that delivers for all. Elections are 16 months away, and should Biden lose the presidency or Democrats see their numbers in Congress further diminished, Republicans could quickly get to work dismantling many of Biden’s flagship initiatives.

Ezra Klein, in an April column in the New York Times, coined the term “everything-bagel liberalism” to describe the government impulse “to accomplish so much with a single project or policy that it ends up failing to accomplish anything at all.”

It’s not unusual for a president to ask agencies from across the government to tackle the same issue, though it’s been more “intentional” in the Biden administration, says K. Sabeel Rahman, a professor at Cornell Law School and former regulations adviser to Biden. Read the full story from Courtney Rozen.


  • The president participates in a bilateral meeting with Finland President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki, Finland. Next, Biden will join a photo with Nordic Leaders before participating in the US-Nordic Leaders’ Summit. The president holds a joint press conference with Niinisto before departing for Washington, D.C.


  • The House returns at noon to take up more amendments to the annual defense policy bill.
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to advance more Biden nominations.

Hakeem Jeffries Projects Calm as Tests Await in Post-Pelosi Era

Congress was careening toward the debt ceiling deadline and a key procedural vote was short on votes, when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) made a move. Standing on the House floor, the minority leader from New York silently held up a green card.

It signaled to scores of fellow Democrats to approach the dais and turn in their green voting cards, providing the “ayes” to push a compromise forward. The wait forced Republicans to put up votes for the deal, while also making clear that Democrats were the ones providing the majority of the muscle to avert a potentially disastrous default.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) hands the speaker’s gavel to Rep. Kevin McCarthy after the California Republican became speaker during a meeting of the 118th Congress on Jan. 7.

“Well played,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recounted in a recent interview. “I would have done the same thing.” Democrats, McCarthy added, “over-performed” their expected vote count after negotiations between himself and Biden.

The moment in late May was the culmination of the first major challenge Jeffries, 52, faced as successor to House Democrats’ longtime power center, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) And it was a rare chance to exert influence in a chamber where the majority typically runs roughshod.

Jeffries’ allies say the fight showed the steady demeanor and bridge-building approach of the newest, least experienced leader in Congress.

Six months into his tenure, interviews with more than a dozen House Democrats depict Jeffries not as a leader bending the caucus to his will, but as one seeking threads of consensus. In conversations across the party’s ideological, geographical and demographic spectrum, the word “listener” came up nearly every time.

“First and foremost, Leader Jeffries is a listener,” said Rep. Steve Horsford (D-Nev.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “He spends a lot of time listening to where the members are, what they’re feeling, what they’re hearing from their constituents and it’s why he has been so effective.”

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a close McCarthy ally who helped negotiate the debt deal, drew a biting contrast to Pelosi. “What I hear from rank-and-file Democrats is that he is a much more engaging leader and less of a dictator. And I think that many of them appreciate that.” Read more from Jonathan Tamari.

Spending Bills & The Economy

Drastic Cuts for Environment, Interior Loom in GOP Spending Bill

The EPA and Interior Department would see their budgets slashed by more than one-third in fiscal 2024, with a reduction for many programs the agencies administer, under a bill the House Appropriations panel has drafted.

Cuts to State Department, United Nations Advanced by House Panel

State Department funds would be cut and contributions would be barred for the UN regular budget and the World Health Organization under a bill the House Appropriations Committee advanced Wednesday.

Biden Fed Nominees Win Key Endorsement From Senate Banking Panel

The Senate Banking Committee voted to send three of Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees to the full Senate for consideration, including Philip Jefferson who was picked to be the next vice chair.

Warren Calls Biden Bank Regulators’ Merger Stance ‘Wrongheaded’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) blasted Biden administration officials who have signaled an openness to bank mergers following the recent collapses of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank.

  • Warren also called on the Federal Reserve to halt interest-rate increases as the inflation rate slid to a more than two-year low. Read more.

Politics, Probes and 2024

Regulate Deepfake Ads, Election Agency Told Again After Deadlock

The nonprofit Public Citizen has petitioned the FEC for the second time to consider new rules to regulate AI-generated “deepfakes” in political campaign ads.

Scott Raises $6.1 Million for 2024 Campaign, Trailing Rivals

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) raised $6.1 million in the first 40 days of his presidential campaign, a haul that puts him below other candidates in a crowded Republican field.

Christie Says He Will Qualify for GOP Debate to Take on Trump

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday night that he’d met the Republican Party’s criteria for the first presidential debate in August.

Republican Presidential Hopeful Leaves Board of OpenAI

OpenAI has lost another board member with the departure of former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who announced at the end of June that he was entering the field of 2024 presidential candidates.

Foreign Affairs

Biden Team Defends Him as Tough on China, Rebutting GOP Critics

Biden has done more to challenge China than any other recent administration, a State Department official said, as Republicans ramp up criticism that his team is pulling its punches in the contest with Beijing.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, will meet today to hold their second talks in a month. Read more.

Nominee to Lead Counterintel Cites Unprecedented Threats

The Biden administration’s pick to lead counterintelligence efforts said the US faces “unprecedented” threats from China, Russia, and other foreign actors as well as from for-profit hackers.

Kim Jong Un Oversaw Test of New Missile to ‘Overwhelm’ US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “personally guided” the launch of a new missile designed to strike the US and pledged more weapons tests were on the way if Washington didn’t back away from its “hostile policy,” state media reported.

What Else We’re Reading

Biden Administration Calls for Medicare to Cover HIV Drug, PrEP

The Biden administration is recommending that Medicare cover the oral and injectable HIV-fighting medications known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or “PrEP,” at no cost for persons at high risk for HIV infection.

FTC to Appeal Judge’s Go-Ahead for Microsoft-Activision Deal

The FTC filed a notice in court that it intends to appeal a ruling by a federal judge in California allowing Microsoft to move forward with its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Amid Crypto Crackdown, a Race to Launch New Bitcoin ETFs

It’s been a brutal stretch for crypto. But one corner of the market is suddenly garnering enthusiasm: Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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