“The White House has a problem with Democrats on immigration,” reports Punchbowl in its morning newsletter. Democrats might argue more accurately that it’s the other way around. Joe Biden’s incoherence on immigration and border policy has Democrats running away from the White House, almost literally:
On Monday, Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, became the latest Democrat to break with the Biden administration over its decision to end the use of Title 42 authority to deny asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border by next month.
Peters joins a growing list of Senate Democrats – we’re up to nine now – who have publicly expressed opposition to the administration’s position on Title 42, at least until a more concrete plan to deal with an expected migrant surge at the border.
“Unless we have a well-thought-out plan, I think it is something that should be revisited and perhaps delayed. I’m going to defer judgment on that until I give the administration the opportunity to fully articulate what that plan is. But I share … concerns of some of my colleagues,” Peters told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday, according to Jordain Carney of the Hill.
It’s one thing to lose Joe Manchin. Losing border-state Senate Democrats like Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema might be part of a political calculation, too. When you start losing normally reliable votes at the other end of the country like Peters, that’s a sign that your policy has gone off the rails.
And it’s not just current Senate Democrats either, but the prospective recruits that are balking at Biden’s attempts to lift Title 42. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania proclaims himself “one hundred percent” behind Biden’s agenda, except …
The Pennsylvania lieutenant governor and front-runner for the state’s Democratic Senate nomination is distancing himself from President Joe Biden’s plans to end pandemic-era border restrictions, known as Title 42.
“We should not end Title 42 until we have a detailed plan in place,” Fetterman told POLITICO this weekend. “And look, we don’t only need a long-term and detailed plan here for ending Title 42, but we still need to fix our broken immigration system as a whole.”
Fetterman is certainly not on an island. Five more Democratic Senate candidates told POLITICO they disagree with the way the Biden administration is phasing out Title 42, the latest sign that Biden’s policy position is a big loser among purple-state Democrats facing tough elections.
And an increasing number of Democrats say the whole thing needs to be paused. Cheri Beasley, the presumptive Democratic Senate nominee in North Carolina, “believes that it is not the right time to lift this policy, especially without a plan in place to deal with a potential influx in migrants,” said spokeswoman Dory MacMillan.
Over at ABC News, Rick Klein noted the “mixed signals” that Democrats are sending on the border as well as on energy policy:
President Joe Biden’s administration starts Earth Week offering new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands for the first time in the Biden presidency. It’s the latest move to address soaring gas prices but also the latest to enrage environmental advocates — armed this time with a Biden campaign pledge to the contrary.
The Biden administration is also just weeks away from lifting the Title 42 order that allowed federal authorities to quickly expel most migrants coming to the U.S. since the early days of the pandemic. That’s in line with the president’s longstanding vow to follow the science when it comes to emergency COVID-19 measures, and with Democrats’ aversion to almost everything former President Donald Trump did during the pandemic.
But an array of Democrats facing tough races this fall fear it’s nowhere near in line with the politics of the moment. Incumbent Democrats in states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire are raising concerns that Title 42 is being lifted too quickly.
One refrain in particular might sting if the expected surge at the border materializes.
“I have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration,” said Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Texas.
“This administration does not have a plan,” Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., warned last week. “It’s going to be a crisis on top of a crisis.”
News flash: this administration never has a plan. It is the most reactive and least strategic administration in modern American history. Biden didn’t have a coherent plan for supply chains, the economy, withdrawal from Afghanistan, the pandemic, inflation — nothing. His presidency has consisted entirely of Biden’s political impulses, followed by gimmicky attempts to mitigate the damage done by indulging in them.
That is why Biden’s presidency has been a crisis on top of a crisis since his inauguration. And it’s why the incoherence won’t end until Biden is out of office. On any issue.