Joe Biden is suddenly on a lucky streak

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On Tuesday evening the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to aid Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, ending a drawn-out, convoluted back-and-forth caused entirely by the Republican Party.

The bill passage is a victory for America’s image on the national stage, but it’s also an unequivocal win for the man who signed the bill on Wednesday: President Joe Biden. By getting the legislation through, the president is able to say that Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, passed a standalone Ukraine aid bill when many people thought the US would abandon its commitments.

Importantly, Biden managed to get aid to Ukraine with basically no strings attached. The House added just two provisions to get Republicans on board: a loan aspect to Ukraine and legislation to trigger either a sale or a ban on TikTok. Biden has already said he would sign the legislation, so he essentially got aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan for free.

In the end, then, the president did not have to concede anything on immigration or pass any draconian laws that would either require him to enact policies his base would dislike or give powers to a hypothetical future President Donald Trump.

For the longest time, polling has shown that immigration is Biden’s weakest spot by far. Republicans have relentlessly pummeled him by decrying images of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. But it was them who killed an immigration bill, almost exclusively at Trump’s behest, a few weeks ago. That allowed Biden to say that he was serious about negotiating on immigration, whereas Republicans clearly wanted to keep the problem around as a talking point.

“I think it actually was important to prove to Republicans that they didn't want to actually marry Ukraine and immigration,” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democrat in the border-Ukraine negotiations, told The Independent. “We gave them a great immigration proposal, and they were so mortified by the fact that they had to actually confront their unwillingness to do immigration that they then put the votes on the board for Ukraine.”

Indeed, Murphy said that while it led to six months of delay with no results on immigration, it gave Biden an important chit.

“We were in a very bad spot politically and with immigration reform prior to that deal being cut,” he said. “Now, Democrats have a tough immigration bill that they support, and Republicans have nothing.”

Elsewhere, and despite the fact that many Democrats have vocally criticized the Biden administration’s support for Israel in its war in Gaza, that opposition didn’t have many political consequences. Mike Johnson did a favor for Biden by splitting the bill into four: Left-wing Democrats could then air their grievances against Biden’s Israel policy by voting against that part of the bill while also unanimously voting to help Ukraine.

Attempts by progressives to amend the bill in the Senate so that Israel would not receive unfettered aid — a move that would have kicked the bill back to the House and likely sunk it — failed.

And it doesn’t look like Biden has paid much of a price. Indeed, earlier in the week, the president was joined at an Earth Day event by Senator Bernie Sanders — who authored the now-dead amendments — and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the most visible progressive critic of Biden’s policy on Israel. The fact that Biden so clearly has Sanders and AOC behind him is a big win.

Additionally, the continued raft of anti-abortion policy — from Arizona’s supreme court resurrecting the state’s Civil War-era abortion ban (which Arizona’s state house voted to overturn on Wednesday) to Florida’s court allowing a six-week ban to take effect as well as ballot initiatives to overturn such statutes — has given Biden a fighting chance in swing states.

Similarly, a recent Marist poll conducted on April 22nd showed that undecided voters are more likely to back Biden than Trump. In answer to the question “If you had to vote today, who are you learning towards?”, 43 per cent said Joe Biden and 38 per cent said Trump. Importantly, Biden’s numbers have held since voters were asked the same question three weeks ago, whereas Trump’s numbers have gone down.

That’s just another reason for the president to feel happy — and a little more secure — in the White House tonight.