drew64_Jabin BotsfordThe Washington Post via Getty Images_biden speech Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Can Biden Govern?

Divided 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans, the US Senate faces either years of immobility or dramatic change. At the center of the debate over the Senate's future is the filibuster, which allows a minority of the Senate to block most legislation and can only be overridden by a super-majority of 60 votes.

WASHINGTON, DC – The most significant thing that President Joe Biden said in his first prime-time address, on Thursday, March 11, was that in recent years, “We lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really hard things for the American people.” It was now up to the slim, seemingly unassuming Biden, after decades of seeking the Oval Office, to show that America is governable.

Biden not only has to restore faith in federal programs, but rescue the country from the deadly virus that has killed more than a half-million Americans in a year. A few hours before his speech, Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, one of the most ambitious domestic-policy legislation ever passed.

The new law is a collection of programs to not only accelerate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on society and the economy, but also begin restoring equity to who gets helped by federal legislation, for a long time tilted toward the wealthy. The new law passed the evenly divided Senate by one vote, with Republicans unanimously opposed. The House passed it by a narrow margin with Republicans unanimously opposed. (The Democrats, having lost House seats in the 2020 elections, dominate the “lower chamber” by only eight votes.)

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