Opinion: Biden gets election year wins, but faces party doubts

President Joe Biden speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Washington, as he announces that a U.S. airstrike killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP)

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President Joe Biden speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Washington, as he announces that a U.S. airstrike killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP)

It has been a pretty good summer in Congress for President Joe Biden.

Even with very narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, Biden saw lawmakers churn out a series of bipartisan legislative victories, giving Democrats a lot more to talk about before the November midterm elections.

The wins include approval of a bipartisan gun violence measure, a bill to spur the domestic production of semiconductor chips, and a $280 billion package of extra help for veterans impacted by burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan

“Congress has delivered a decisive and bipartisan win for America’s veterans,” Biden said after Tuesday’s Senate vote of 86-11.

“Proud to be getting things done for Georgians!” tweeted U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is locked in a tough campaign against Republican Herschel Walker.

Instead of just being able to tout the bipartisan infrastructure law, Democrats like Warnock now have an array of successful legislative measures that they can rattle off on the campaign trail.

Of those four — gun violence, semiconductors, infrastructure, and veterans — only a single Georgia Republican broke ranks on one of those bills, as U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, voted for the burn pits legislation. That was it.

But instead of using those legislative wins to rally behind Biden with less than 100 days to the midterm elections, Congressional Democrats are sending a different kind of message.

Warnock is a good example of the tightrope that some Democrats feel they need to walk when it comes to Biden, whose job approval ratings have fallen into the 30′s in Georgia.

Asked by the AJC’s Shannon McCaffrey in late July whether he thought Biden was doing a good job, Warnock tap danced.

“I’m focused on the job that I’m doing standing up for the people of Georgia,” Warnock said.

The question was asked again. Warnock gave the same kind of answer.

He isn’t alone.

Buffeted by inflation, high food prices, and record gas prices — and maybe by Biden’s age — some Democrats are shying away from questions about Biden’s political future.

“I’m not getting into 2022 or 2024,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said when asked about Biden running again.

During a televised debate this week, two powerful Congressional Democrats from New York didn’t want to say much about Biden’s political future.

“I don’t believe he’s running for reelection,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said of Biden.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, two U.S. House Democrats refused to publicly back Biden for 2024, indicating they want new party leaders to emerge.

Biden has had a rather successful record in Congress. But this summer’s winning streak might have come too late — even for lawmakers in his own party.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com