Grand shutdown and reform debate in US

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Grand shutdown and reform debate in US

Sunday, 14 November 2021 | Manan Dwivedi

Grand shutdown and reform debate in US

The American Dream once again becomes the cynosure of all probing and lilting eyes where-in, the Presidential address of Biden brings to the fore the larger American concern about looking inwards from war zones and conflict hot beds all around the globe and stress upon the idea of an internal and domestic, ‘Build Back Better’

The United States of America is largely known for a stable and balanced socio-political and economic discourse and its larger fulcrum of praxis. The three trillion dollar infrastructure plan of President Joe Biden happens to be a post pandemic economic and structural-administrative plan which is aimed at firming up the development and growth in the American nation. It’s all about bipartisanship in the American nation where-in the rubric of consonance between the twin political parties of the order of the Republicans and the Democrats rules the roost.

However, the inter party conflict between the twin political outfits does not militate against the conjoined democratic ethos of the country. In the words of Alex De Tocqueville, the American political firmament is akin to the construction work’s rotary machine which mixes together the concrete and the mortar and spawns a paste. Thus, in a similar fashion, what Tocqueville has written in his tome “Democracy in America” happens to be a kind of all pervading altruism for the political system in the United States though the larger fracas during President Donald Trump’s regime serve as a pointer towards the American Democratic experiment.

Thus, the American Congress too is attempting to evade an American Government’s shutdown and bridge the political divide to ensure a smooth sailing of the nation’s political economy. America is not all about the January, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol Hill. This is a fact which needs to be underscored at the earliest in tandem with the workability and efficiency with the grandiloquent American dream and its resounding resilience.

President Biden has attempted to evade a partial Governmental shutdown by the passage of a Bill in the American Congress which amounts to Government funding. The Bill was passed with perforce till 3rd of December, 2021, and if that would not have transpired, then the Government spending would have to be shutdown in the immediate future. The Hindustan Times has reported in a piece that, “The measure, however, doesn’t include a provision sought by Democrats to suspend the nation’s debt limit, after Republicans in the Senate blocked a version of the bill that included the debt provision. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that if lawmakers fail to raise the debt limit by about October 18, the Government may not be able to pay its bills, posing a dire risk to the US economy.” The Republicans were against a debt ceiling which they vociferously strived for and it was this facet which acted as a chief bottleneck to the Democrat and President Biden’s strivings in the American Congress of late.

Reuters reports that Representative Dan Kildee, House Democrats’ chief deputy whip, contended, “If the vote were to or be delayed, there would be a significant breach of trust that would slow the momentum in moving forward in delivering the Biden agenda. With House progressives warning they will vote against the infrastructure bill until a deal is reached on the separate multi-trillion-dollar plan focused on social spending and climate, the vote was not guaranteed. The only way the vote happens is, if, we have the votes to pass the bill.”

Thus, the linkages which were drawn by the various Congressmen between the myriad and multifaceted nature of reforms in the US have led to the idiom of a complete and comprehensive overhaul. As a related fact, the intertwining of the Climate Change segment of the Biden’s reform agenda, along with endeavours at social engineering in the light of the race divide in the US, has been the pointed standpoints of the Grand Old Party to derail and bring into question

the actual comprehensive and widespread planning zeal of President Biden.

Akin to the TVP, Tennessee Valley Project, and the larger New Deal initiated by President Roosevelt in the mired days of the first economic depression, along with the Great Society heft of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the infrastructure palliative and remaking America endeavour happens to be the medicine which the Government doctor has ordered for the American decline. The talk and the proud but misplaced notion during the Asiatic space concerning the decline of  the United States in the larger context has to be countered and what better way do the Americans have but to rely upon the mighty shakedown programming initiated by President Biden. He had mentioned as a quintessential clarion call in his Presidential inaugural earlier that unity and bipartisanship constitute the sine qua non of the great American democracy. Though he contended during the speech that one of the most elusive elements in a liberal democracy happens to be diversity and subsequent engineered unity which may be further translated into the nom de plume of stodgy bipartisanship.

The American President’s words echo still in our surroundings and the larger environs as he contended victoriously after vanquishing Donald Trump at the Capitol Hill. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the common foes we face:

Anger, resentment, hatred.

Extremism, lawlessness, violence.

Disease, joblessness, hopelessness.

With unity we can do great things. Important things.

We can right wrongs.”

Thus, the American Dream once again becomes the cynosure of all probing and lilting eyes where-in, the Presidential address of Biden brings to the fore, the larger American concern about looking inwards from war zones and conflict hot beds all around the globe and stress upon the idea of an internal and domestic, “Build Back Better” in tandem with a true blue Democrat and the attendant reformist zeal to assuage the hoi polloi and the Citizen Cain’s who were rattled by the ways and means of former President Trump. Road, transit, internet, the virtuosity of the reformist zeal pervades the spirit of President Biden’s reform package which intends to make America escape the industrial smog and the crass and ugly edges of rotund automobiles and development.

Objectively speaking, the historic and stereotypical American bill postulates the building of transcontinental rail roads across the length and breadth of the nation along with strengthening the State Highway grids. Unemployment is also a key and administratively gnawing concern in a post-pandemic slowdown, so the Biden bill envisages the addition of 2 million jobs by the end of every year. Climate Change in the light of President  Biden’s Glasgow COP speech also finds a crucial place in the infrastructure bill which entails an investment of 39 billion dollars in structures ranging from bridges, highways, roads, larger transportation with the icing on the cake being an objective of buying zero emission and low emission transport, namely the buses.

The objective is to transform the US into the most resilient and innovative economy.  One can also get the feel good sentiment that President Biden’s plan is not merely accommodative or merely aims to flatten the frills and the creases, but it amounts to a generating a nation changing ameliorative to make the United States embolden its domesticity and prepare the nation for a long overhaul in the light of the global spin doctors talking ad-nauseum about the term, “The American Decline”.

(The writer teaches at International Relations and International Organisations, IIPA, New Delhi)

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