Politics class: Biden’s landmark spending bill faces next battle in Senate
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest FT Schools news every morning.
This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.
AQA Component 18.104.22.168: The legislative branch of government: Congress
Edexcel Component 3A: 2.1: Congress: legislative function
Background: what you need to know
The article discusses the problems facing the Biden administration in passing its ambitious ‘Build Back Better Bill’ to extend welfare provision and combat climate change. The bill has passed the House of Representatives but now faces an uphill battle to get through the Senate. The amount to be spent has already been reduced due to opposition from two centre-right Democratic Party senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. In a Senate where the party balance is 50/50, they exercise disproportionate influence.
The bill is at the mercy of internal Democrat tensions between moderates and progressives, as well as facing steadfast Republican opposition. The article illustrates the complexity of the US legislative process, where lengthy wheeling and dealing is essential to pass measures of this kind. It notes that if negotiations lead to a compromise in the Senate, the bill would then have to return to the House for approval.
Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2
‘Congress is ineffective in performing its legislative function.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3a
Evaluate the view that Congress is ineffective in carrying out its legislative function.
You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. (30)
TIP: The article highlights the impact of the USA’s highly polarised politics on the legislative process. However, it also notes that a bill to spend a smaller amount on infrastructure has recently been passed with bipartisan support: Biden signs $1.2tn bipartisan infrastructure bill into law
Reference to both bills should enable you to introduce some balance into your answer.
Graham Goodlad, St John’s College
Get alerts on FT Schools when a new story is published