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From looming midterms to redistricting, Biden's agenda faces obstacles

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 24, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Helping veterans with toxic lung conditions, creating more computer chips to cut through supply chain issues and passing long-sought climate change and voting legislation all remain part of President Joe Biden's agenda this week.

However, it's not the issues that may be the president's biggest obstacle going forward: It may be time and the hotly-contested midterm election later this year.


The president attempted to hit the reset button last week during his press conference at the White House.

"A job not yet finished," Biden said.

Modest election changes are possible. New COVID-19 relief spending is also still on the table. Funding for the environment and pre-K education programs also remain negotiable.

Biden hinted at enacting some of his agenda through executive orders if Congress doesn't act.


Biden may only be done with his first year in office, but there is a growing sense in Washington that he doesn't have all the time in the world to get his ambitions accomplished.

It's an election year, and polls suggest Democrats may lose control of at least one chamber of Congress.

"I don't believe the polls," Biden said last Wednesday.

While the president may not believe the polling, he can't dismiss that at least 28 Democrats in the House are retiring.

While some are doing so to run for a different office, it is a number that's higher than usual and a sign Democrats may have some tough political fights this year.


It's not just retirements by well-known members of Congress impacting the president. Democrats are facing difficult redistricting fights too.

What is redistricting? It is the once-in-a-decade process of redrawing congressional maps following the U.S. Census to account for population changes. The process could mean millions across the country will be voting for new representatives this year.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing his party to draw maps that favor the GOP more than what had already been proposed.

In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a redistricting map that heavily favors Republicans. However, the state legislature overruled him.

In Tennessee, Republicans are advancing plans to make it easier to win near Nashville. The same is true in Kansas, where the GOP hopes to fair better in races near Kansas City.

All of that puts pressure on Biden to get something done soon. However, getting something done in a divided Washington isn't easy.