Next stop for Biden's agenda: The campaign trail

Bridget Bowman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

“I think these programs offer a real messaging opportunity — specific accomplishments that voters can understand and they largely approve of,” Pomeroy said. “So it’s very different than a health care bill that was very complicated, had been defined by the opponents, and people were worried that it would hurt their families’ coverage.”

Lessons learned

There’s also a different president. Pomeroy said that in 2010, Democrats did not get much help selling the health insurance overhaul on the campaign trail from the Obama administration — which included Biden as vice president.

“We had no air cover,” Pomeroy said.

Democrats said a lack of presidential engagement was a key lesson from 2010, which Biden has taken to heart.

“Joe Biden was there in 2010,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who lead the Democratic National Committee during those midterms. “I bet he got an earful from people in Congress [who were] like, ‘Hey, we need you out there selling more.’”


“We’ve got to get the message right,” Kaine later added. “But we’re not going to be lacking in a White House that’s really invested in touting accomplishments. And that makes it easier for the 2022 candidates to talk about them a lot.”

Democrats are also optimistic that voters will see and feel the benefits from infrastructure investments and the spending package, including an expanded child tax credit, more quickly than they did from the insurance law.

Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said the two packages on this year’s agenda could see “more immediate results.”

“I was all for the ACA,” Durbin said, “but it really took a while for people to start to feel the good things about it.”


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