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Joe Biden’s presidential honeymoon has officially ended, with a series of problems — led by the ongoing surge of the Delta variant of the coronavirus — coalescing to make the last few days some of the worst ones he has spent as president.
Consider the current landscape Biden faces:
* The United States is now averaging more than 85,000 daily cases of Covid-19 — up from 23,000 just three weeks ago. While the White House touted Monday that it had reached its goal of 70% of the population with at least one vaccine shot, it came almost a month after Biden’s publicly stated goal of July 4 to meet that mark.
* The Biden administration is engaged in a circular firing squad over the CDC’s recommendation that even vaccinated individuals must wear masks indoors if they live in areas where spread of the virus is high.
* In the wake of the moratorium on evictions expiring on August 1 — meaning millions of Americans will be now need to pay both rent and back rent or face being kicked out of their residences — a blame game has broken out. House Democrats — led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have said they didn’t have enough time to fix the problem before Congress left for the August recess, and are calling on Biden to take action. The White House insists it doesn’t have the power to extend the moratorium. As CNN wrote over the weekend: “The back-and-forth exposed a rare divide between President Joe Biden and members of his party and led to veiled accusations of who was to blame.”
* The number of unaccompanied minors picked up at the US southern border likely hit an all-time high in July. “The sharp increases from June were striking because crossings usually slow during stifling — and sometimes fatal — summer heat,” wrote the the Associated Press.
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Even in what looks like a victory — the Senate’s bipartisan agreement on a “hard” infrastructure bill — problems are cropping up for Biden. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s positive test for Covid-19 — and the time he spent on Sen. Joe Manchin’s house boat over the weekend with a group of other senators — could delay passage of the measure in the Senate.
And even assuming the legislation passes the Senate, which it should, liberals in the House are already talking publicly and loudly about their dissatisfaction with some pieces of the Senate bill. “Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on child care, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin — especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment,'” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez at Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema following the latter’s announcement of her opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag for a second, “soft” infrastructure bill.