One of the platforms of the Biden Administration has had to do with criminal justice reform, including police reform. However, the Defund the Police movement seems to be losing ground as cities across the nation face higher crime rates. At the end of 2021, cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles were seeing homicide rates that reached numbers similar to the 1990s. In addition, a rash of smash-and-grab robberies in upscale neighborhoods had business owners recruiting police to do something in order to protect their livelihoods.
The last week has been tough for Joe Biden. In late December, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced on Fox News Sunday that he was a “hard no” vote for the Build Back Better spending bill which had been a major priority for the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats. However, when Congress went back into session this past week. Joe’s agenda apparently received another blow – once again from Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Earlier this week, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Georgia where they both spoke on the importance of passing voting rights bills. In particular, the two bills the Biden Administration was pushing included the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. However, within two days, both Manchin and Sinema said they would not support these bills as passing them could require a change to the filibuster rule in the Senate.
Biden has added another item to his agenda when it comes to reform, and that is police reform. In light of a series of unsuccessful attempts at getting legislation passed, Biden may utilize executive action to get this part of his agenda in place.
According to NBC News, the executive orders are still in the works, but, they are expected to be rolled out just in time for Black History Month (February). The Biden Administration appears to be hoping to get at least one of the Democratic Party’s top agendas in time for the presidential State of the Union address scheduled for March.
The House passed a sweeping reform bill, but, as has been the case in the last year, Senate Democrats can’t seem to come together to ensure that the measure is passed in their chamber of Congress. Biden said in response: “I still hope to sign . . . a police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd . . . this moment demands action and we cannot allow those who stand in the way of progress to prevent us from answering the call . . .my administration has taken steps with the Justice Department announcing new policies on chokeholds, no knock warrants, and body cameras.”
At the end of Biden’s tough week, he was also criticized for his latest speeches, which appear to take on an angry tone. Both Republicans and Democrats remarked about the divisiveness of Biden’s speeches this week, and some Democrats – including Manchin and Sinema – both spoke out against Biden’s push to change the filibuster rule. Plus, Biden’s approval rating fell to an abysmal 33 percent in the wake of surging inflation as well as COVID-19 confusion.