In an exclusive 2021 wrap-up interview with the News-Press this week, Falls Church’s own U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. was optimistic about the direction President Joe Biden has the nation heading. Even with the current apparent impasse with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the essential features of the president’s “Build Back Better” initiative will prevail. ”Taking the long view, within 10 years, all the parts of it will be U.S. law,” Beyer said. The talks between Biden and Manchin remain ongoing, he noted, as “conversation is always better than burning bridges.” Quoting Beyer, “There’s a lot in the bill to benefit the coal miners that are such a critical component of Manchin’s support base, including shoring up pension plans and investing a lot in addressing the ongoing health effects of mining coal,”
In the first quarter of 2022, Beyer predicted, some major pieces of the Biden bill will get passed, though it is not known yet which ones. The extension of the child tax credit will “make the biggest poverty difference.” Climate change mitigation elements will be “existential” in their impact and funding pre-K programs will have an impact that will alter the future of the whole country.
Beyer hailed the “extraordinary” achievements Biden has already accomplished in his first year, including his the trillion dollar American Rescue Plan Act that put hefty checks into every American’s bank account and much more, than the infrastructure bill that will transform the national landscape. Six million new jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate in Virginia is down to 3.4 percent. “We did all this making it through the Delta variant and with the very slimmest of voting margins in Congress,” he noted.
The country is in a lot better shape than Biden’s personal approval ratings show, but even those are beginning to move up as the impact of his programs begin being felt. The prospect for continued progress, including with the Build Back Better elements can be identified by key issues, such as the capital gains tax, that Manchin has already indicated his support for.
“We all know that good things take time to get done in this country. It was true for civil rights, and even now we haven’t some of the most obvious things like ratify the test ban treaty. It is just in the nature of what we do in this democracy that good things don’t come fast.”
Beyer has held firm to the kind of optimism that frustrates those in the news business who would rather focus on potentials for conflict and failure, and thank goodness for that. The amount of bad press that Biden has endured in his first year, including from mainstream and non-Trumpian sources, has been shocking. Moguls in the boardrooms of corporate interests controlling the major networks, the same who boosted Trump originally, seem intent to see Biden fail. Beyer’s optimism is vital to correcting that.