With the public optimism of a party leader, Schumer told me he thinks Democrats will keep and even expand their majority. “We’re going to do a lot more. We’re not finished,” Schumer said. “But I think the [Inflation Reduction Act] showed the possibilities of what we can do if we stay together, if we stay focused, if we all work together as a team.”
Come November, voters will have to decide if they want to keep Democrats—and by extension Schumer—in power. But with the House likely to be claimed by Republicans, this two-year period was perhaps Democrats’ last, best chance for the foreseeable future to accomplish their goals. And prior to the Inflation Reduction Act’s successful passage, Democrats suffered through a long run in which many of their priorities, including several attempts at shoring up voting rights and the preservation of the expanded child tax credit, ended up falling by the wayside.
With that looming loss of their House majority in mind, the legacy of Senate Democrats for the remainder of the decade may be cemented by these two years. Going forward, the country faces rising prices, threats to democracy, increased polarization, the existential danger of climate change, and a mental health crisis among the younger generations set to inherit this burning world. Given what they had to work with—a fully unexpected Senate majority that offered them an opportunity to pass anything at all—Congress arguably did a surprising amount of work this term. But now Democrats will get the answer to the hardest question of all: Did they do enough, not only to convince voters to support them, but to address the myriad ongoing crises faced by Americans today and tomorrow?
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