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The Biden administration celebrated the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson with a sunny ceremony on the White House lawn, but MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd was quick to provide a gloomy overcast.
“I have to tell you, that was quite the speech by the next justice,” Todd reacted to Jackson’s remarks on Friday. “It’s a major victory by the Democratic Party. But what if it’s the last of this calendar year?”
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Todd invited NBC News.com White House reporter Shannon Pettypiece to discuss the Biden administration’s lack of such joyous occasions.
“What struck us all a little bit here watching this event is, a reminder, this White House hasn’t had a celebratory moment like this in some time,” Todd said. “And some of it’s COVID, some of it is tough stories. They haven’t had some, you know, even the bipartisan infrastructure bill signing ceremony didn’t have this. And this obviously is a bigger moment for the country… so that adds to this celebratory atmosphere. But Shannon, have you seen anything like this since Biden took office?”
“This is certainly the happiest and the most enthusiastic we seem to have seen the president in a while,” Pettypiece responded before detailing how a Democratic strategist told her how the White House was hoping to “leverage” Jackson’s nomination with the base back in February, but it “had to compete” with major issues like the Russia-Ukraine crisis, rising gas prices and inflation.
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Todd then asked Pettypiece, “What does the White House hope is next on the domestic front, do they have a ‘next’ before November?” The reporter responded by pointing to Congress’s stalled efforts to pass another round of COVID-19 funding.
“Well, one could argue after over-promising and under-delivering at the start, maybe they’re better off not trying to promise anything and see if they can come up with something while we’re not watching,” Todd took a subtle dig at the Biden administration.
The “Meet the Press: Daily” host declared the 53-47 Senate confirmation vote for incoming Justice Jackson the “biggest victory” for Democrats in Congress since the passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but added that since Congress is heading on its spring break, “Democratic priorities are, at best, on pause… or at worse, dead.” He cited reports of stalled COVID relief and noted that Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., aren’t fully on-board with passing smaller pieces of Build Back Better.
“Look, you make some big promises when they took over a unified government, when their majorities pledging action on everything from climate change, universal pre-K, long-term child care tax credit, by every measure, they’ve underdelivered,” Todd told viewers. “At the moment, Democrats are heading into a midterm election with those campaign promises unfulfilled and asking voters to give them another two years running Congress.”
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During the panel discussion, Todd circled back to the concern for Democrats, “Is this the last big thing they pass? Is this the last big thing this Congress accomplishes before November?” He also hammered Democrats for failing to act on reducing prescription drug prices after campaigning on it every election cycle since 2016.
Last week, the MSNBC anchor warned that Democrats are facing a “shellacking” ahead of the November elections based on recent polls.