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Jonathan Bernstein

Biden Mustn’t Squander the Lame-Duck Session

Electoral reform, raising the debt ceiling and getting nominees confirmed should top the president’s agenda before the new Congress is sworn in.

What’s next?

What’s next?

Photographer: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Joe Biden has had a very good week. The midterms turned out better for Democrats than anyone expected and went unusually well for an incumbent president’s party. Russia retreated further in Ukraine. And new data suggested that inflation was moderating, increasing the chances that the US can avoid a painful recession.

So much for the easy part. Biden now will have to maneuver shrewdly if he is to advance Democrats’ priorities and set the stage for the 2024 presidential campaign, whoever the Democratic nominee is. He could start by using the lame-duck session to push for a couple of critical pieces of legislation. But there is plenty more Biden should keep on his agenda despite a likely ( but not certain) Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Since the Force seemed to be with the White House this week, I’m invoking the wisdom of Star Wars to make my case for bold action.