President Biden is taking hits on multiple issues from within his own party, with Democrats bashing the president for recent policy choices including immigration, foreign policy and the environment.
The criticisms, largely originating from the left and progressive flanks, come as the president heads into a reelection year struggling to raise his approval rating and much enthusiasm among several key contingent of voters ahead of a possible 2024 rematch against former President Trump.
Here are the major topics where Democrats are breaking with Biden.
As you are all aware, Americans are avid collectors of Trump cards.
Biden could be facing backlash from his base over an emergency spending package that would provide aid to Israel and Ukraine but also include tough border security measures, the latter of which is a show of trying to get at least some Republicans on board.
The president risks blowback from Latino and progressive lawmakers for any White House proposals deemed too strict, in an effort to also appeal to moderate and independent voters.
Congressional Democrats have been divided throughout negotiations on the matter, with many fearing that the administration would agree to support new authority to expel migrants without asylum screenings and expand their detention and deportation.
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called it “unacceptable” for the White House to be working on an immigration deal without its members at the table.
Many have publicly balked at the possibility that the White House would give significant ground to Republicans by agreeing to expand executive power to expel migrants.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told colleagues on Thursday that he plans to schedule a vote on an emergency foreign aid package before the holidays, leading some Democratic senators to express concerns that he would advance a legislative vehicle for a package before they know the substance of the deal.
Even if a bill does pass the Senate this month, the House is not scheduled to come back until next year, leaving the matter in limbo for Biden.
Biden’s biggest political surprise this year was the war that broke out between Israel and Hamas, in which he has been met with blowback from the left flank and from young voters over his administration’s approach, which initially was to unequivocally support Israel.
The White House since then has made concerted efforts to amplify its concerns about the civilian death toll in Gaza and on actively working with regional leaders on delivering humanitarian aid to the enclave. But that’s done little to quell the bitter criticisms over Israel’s wartime tactics and the president’s pro-Israel stance.
As a result, protests have followed Biden across the U.S. by demonstrators calling for a cease-fire, something the administration, in agreeing with Israel, would only allow Hamas to regroup and rearm. Chants that have followed Biden include calling him “genocide Joe.”
Some Democratic lawmakers, especially in key swing states such as Michigan, have also called for a cease-fire, especially after the recent pause in fighting to release hostages. Roughly two dozen Democrats signed a letter last month to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on them to seek a cease-fire in Gaza, to no avail.
Biden and his administration, however, have started to show some divides with Israel over it’s war tactics. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin was sent there this week in an attempt to see a scaling down of operations in Gaza. Biden last week warned that Israel could lose international support because of the “indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”
Throughout his administration, Biden has been under fire from environmental activists for not declaring a climate emergency and for taking other controversial stances. The latest issue over his environmental policy though comes from his plans to increase natural gas exports.
The Biden administration is backing the gas industry’s plans to sell fuel at higher prices to other countries, believing that will lead to less production of climate-warming chemicals like carbon dioxide by displacing dirtier-burning coal.
Democrats argue that such policies are not addressing a major climate problem, which is that the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. has plans to increase oil and gas production. Democratic senators have asked the administration to stop investing in gas plants abroad and have also urged the administration to begin planning for the end of fossil fuels.
Biden infuriated some Democrats, especially young people, progressives and environmentalists, earlier this year when he approved of a massive oil drilling project in Alaska. The project, which was first approved by the Trump administration in 2020 and sent back to the Biden administration, will allow ConocoPhillips to drill 576 million barrels of oil in Alaska over 30 years.
The president has been willing to break with his party on the issue of crime and policing at times, even when it has led to consternation on Capitol Hill.
Biden drew the wrath of many Democratic lawmakers earlier this year when he declined to veto a GOP-led measure to undo parts of a District of Columbia crime bill that would have eliminated most mandatory sentences, lowered penalties for a number of violent offenses, including carjackings and robberies, and expanded the requirement for jury trials in most misdemeanor cases.
Democrats were openly upset with the White House, believing it did not make clear to them how Biden planned to handle the bill. As a result, many Democrats voted against the original legislation, believing Biden would veto it. Progressives also criticized Biden’s move for being in conflict with his stance supporting D.C. statehood and the Democratic Party’s typical support for D.C. home rule.
But Biden has been willing to push back against policies he believes are too weak on crime, and he has championed additional funding for police departments to allow them to hire more officers and spend more time in communities.
Biden in 2020 was quick to distance himself from the “defund the police” movement that gained momentum among some progressives in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. The movement was later seen to have backfired on some Democrats.