Joe Biden returned from his time in the UK and Europe to deal with a growing list of domestic headaches as his heavy spending policies stalled and were also blamed for rising inflation.
Mr. Biden’s initial “US jobs plan” called for a record $ 2.3 trillion in infrastructure spending. The Republicans fought hard to stop this and it is now bogged down in Congress.
While Mr. Biden meets with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, a bipartisan group of 21 senators – 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats – reached a compromise that would almost halve the amount to $ 1.2 trillion over eight years.
The resulting stalemate explains why a Monmouth University poll this week made disturbing reading for Mr Biden after Air Force One returned to the United States.
His approval rating was 48%, down six points from April and below 50% for the first time in a Monmouth poll.
The number of Democrats who think the country is “going in the right direction” has risen from 83% in April to 59% today.
Mr. Biden’s agenda has stalled in other areas as well.
Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democratic senator, has blocked a sweeping voting rights bill championed by the president, and a police reform bill named after George Floyd has yet to materialize.
It’s unclear when Mr. Biden’s proposal for a $ 2 trillion U.S. family plan focused on education, child care and paid family leave will advance.
Mr Biden also faces growing controversy after tasking Vice President Kamala Harris with handling the Mexican border crisis nearly three months ago.
Border officials encountered more than 180,000 migrants crossing in May, the highest monthly number in two decades, and up 76% since February.
Dozens of Republican members of Congress have written to the president asking him to remove responsibility from Ms Harris as she still has not been at the border.
“Even you must be disheartened by his inaction,” they wrote to Mr. Biden.
Meanwhile, Ronny Jackson, the former White House doctor under Donald Trump, who is now a congressman representing Texas, called on Mr Biden to take a cognitive test.
He called Mr. Biden’s performance in Europe “embarrassing” and, in a letter to the president, said the American people “deserve full transparency about the mental capacities of their most elected leader.”
Warnings that delusional government spending is already overheating the economy will make it even more difficult for Mr Biden to meet his primary legislative goal of massive infrastructure investment.
In his absence, gasoline prices have soared above $ 3 a gallon across much of the United States, and consumer prices are up 5% from last year, the most strong increase since 2008.
“[Americans] have seen the higher prices of gasoline in particular, but also of groceries, and the cost of running their businesses, ”said Jim Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana. “Inflation is Democrats’ hidden tax on the middle class.
As Republicans and Democrats fight over Mr Biden’s spending plans, the president’s ambitions to lead the world on climate change policy are also under threat.
The Republicans’ compromise budget includes $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 65 billion for broadband Internet expansion, and $ 48 billion for improved public transportation. However, it would not cover Democrats’ ambitions in promoting clean energy.
With the support of the 50 Democrats and 11 Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the compromise would reach the threshold of 60 votes to pass to the Senate.
Democrats could use a budget process to pass their own infrastructure bill by simple majority.
The Senate is divided 50-50 and Ms. Harris has a casting vote.
However, West Virginia’s Manchin will not embark on a plan that has no Republican backing.
The approval rating in Congress, where Democrats control both houses, has fallen from 35% in April to just 21% now.