Is the President's Window Closing?

Ryan Heshmati

September 23, 2022

Fast Facts: 

President Biden, like every candidate, ran on a platform of many promises. A tight Senate, however, has derailed many of his plans. With the midterm elections nearing, and a Republican House victory widely anticipated, many assert the president, each day, continues getting closer to becoming an “out of time man.” The situation has become complex with weaker Republican candidates chosen in certain key races, the willingness of moderate senators like Manchin and Sinema to work with their more progressive peers, and recent advancements in the president’s agenda. 

As if a polarizing Supreme Court decision like Dobbs was not enough, Republican primary victors are not faring well on state-wide Senate polls. Dr. Mehmet Oz, for instance, is running for a Pennsylvania Senate seat and is viewed as disconnected from average citizens. Recently, the number of properties the doctor owns became controversial after being accused of downplaying his property holdings. Additionally, Dr. Oz’s place of residence has been a topic of discussion, with many questioning how much time he spends in the state. As a result, it is no surprise Dr. Oz is trailing Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman by four percent, according to a poll by Trafalgar Group.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have been preventing many liberal bills from passing, have become more interested in compromise. Through the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, compromise is seen, as it was the result of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin. If the two moderate senators are on board, some bills can avoid the filibuster and pass with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

Even if unable to garner the support of the legislative branch, the president's executive powers enable him to take many steps, as he recently did to forgive $10,000-$20,000 of student loan debt for those making below $125,000 per year. Executive actions have been popular with President Biden, as CNN notes he signed more than the three previous presidents before him in their first hundred days in office.

The midterm elections are important, but even if the Democrats lose either the House or Senate, the president will be able to work on specific policies. President Biden, through executive actions, will have another two years of decision-making, even without the legislative branch. PolitiFact notes that 55% of campaign promises have been kept or are currently being worked on by the Biden Administration. For many of them, the window is closing, so Democratic legislators should take action now if they want action taken at all.