Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: Seeking Middle Ground to Biden’s Plan and Deb Haaland


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

Fellow readers, I have some news (literally). Interested in changes in Biden’s plan since he was elected? Want to learn about a Native American woman whose government position has made history? Let’s jump right in!


Seeking Middle Ground to Biden’s Plan: For many, October is all about Halloween, the changing colors of the leaves, and pounds of candy that leave your mouth exhausted. For Democrats alike, NPR’s Scott Detrow explains how this month has been riddled with conversations and negotiations discussing the means in trimming President Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill, one that primarily focuses on progression and major issues within the country. Kelsey Snell, writer for NPR, elaborates how Democrats in Congress are stuck between a rock and a hard place: cutting a trillion or more dollars off the plan without failing to live-up to policies they promised voters. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that WikiHow has a “how-to” article about that.

The plan addresses major economic challenges that Democrats want to improve including “education, child care, climate change, and poverty.” However, the bill cannot logistically be passed unless it pleases centrists like Senator Joe Muchin, who has stated he will only support it if it drops to $1.5 trillion. That is a massive leap and raises difficulty in ensuring that progressives are content with what is included in the bill, something lawmakers and staff have been relentlessly working on. Cutting the price means cutting priorities, but how do you decide what to and not to keep? Representative Pramila Jayapal, the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair, stated in a teleconference, “We are not going to pit child care against climate change. We’re not going to pit housing against paid leave. We’re not going to pit seniors against young people.” Morally, choosing between who to help is not an option, so what do you do? A few methods that have been looked at include narrowing eligibility for programs and expanding moves to tax the wealthy and corporations to offset costs, both of which have led to more disagreements and unsuccessful problem-solving (Snell).

A crucial component of Biden’s overarching goal as President has been to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, promising to lower levels by 2030. Of course, this requires a lot of money. NPR’s Eric McDanile reports that on Friday the 15th, Mauchin stated his disapproval for the climate measures laid out in Biden’s famous trillion-dollar plan and Clean Electricity Performance Program, pulling the President farther from his goal as he needs support from all 50 Democratic senators. The program would financially aid the transition to renewable energy by providing necessary utilities, reducing greenhouse gas pollution connected to electricity generation, according to Experts (McDaniel).

The discourse between Democrats and inability to come to agreement on climate change has grown from a domestic to international dilemma. John Kerry, Biden’ s climate representative, stated that the U.S.’s difficulty to pass climate policies have negatively affected the effort for addressing climate change across the world. If the U.S. doesn’t start inflicting change, what kind of message is that sending to other countries? Simple: climate change isn’t an important, time-sensitive issue. The message Biden is trying to convey is the polar opposite and the longer it takes to enforce these initiatives, the farther the skewed message will spread (McDaniel).

The pressure doesn’t just stop there. In two weeks, world leaders will gather in Scotland for a United Nation conference on climate change and current predictions about securing pledges are not good. Kerry elaborates that pledges needed to limit global warming have a high probability of falling short, and let’s not forget that climate change itself is on a clock. Based upon the commitments we see today around the world, global emissions are likely to rise about %16 from 2010 to 2030, causing warming to occur faster and human beings to reap the effects even sooner (McDaniel). 

What the Democrats decide to do with Biden’s plan in the upcoming weeks or months will ultimately influence the lives of all Americans in positive and negative ways. Although it is unclear what the next move will be, we can predict the outcomes of all different decisions they could make and determine what is most likely to take priority.


Immerse into the Diverse: Straight from the White House, the US cabinet is described as the President’s right-hand team, giving advice on subjects relating to each person’s executive department such as Agriculture or Commerce. Today, we will be highlighting our current Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, a member of the federally recognized Pueblo of Laguna tribe, 35th generation New Mexican, and first Native American cabinet secretary. 

Her story is nothing short of inspirational, as the official government website for her department explains her journey from growing up in a military family to becoming a single mother to Congresswoman to Secratary. She was raised by a 30-year combat marine for a father and a Navy Veteran with 25 years as a federal employee for a mother, resulting in Haaland attending 13 public schools as a young woman and graduated from Highland High School in Albuquerque. Fatsforward and she is a single mother occasionally relying on food stamps, a pay-check by pay-check lifestyle, and volunteering at her child’s pre-school to have the money for early childhood education (“Secretary Deb Haaland”). 

Although a struggle, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and her J.D. from UNM Law School. She ran a small business producing Pueblo Salsa, was a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and was the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, successfully pushing them to create policies with environmentally friendly business practices (“Secretary Deb Haaland”). The Natural Resources Defense Council further lays out her successes, explaining that she became a chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Native American Caucus and then a chairwoman of the entire Democratic Party of New Mexico (Turrentine). 

In 2018, she became one of the first two Native American women to be in the House of Representatives (Turrentine), focusing on “environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered ingeinous women, and family-friendly policies” (“Secretary Deb Haaland’). On March 15, 2021, she became the first Indigenious person to serve as a Cabinet Secretary, leading a department with a long history, like America as a whole, of attacks against Native American lands, culture, and families (Turrentine).

NPR details the symbolic and historic value of her position as the Interior department has been used to oppress Indigenous peoples in America and is responsible for relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes (Nathan). Post her nomination to become the Secretary, she stated, “It’s profound to think about the history of this country’s policies to exterminate Native Americans and the resilience of our ancestors that gave me a place here today” (Turrentine). The significance of someone who is Native American earning this position is incredible and represents people of America who have been shut out across history. 

Connecting back to her qualifications and values, the department also manages the public lands, endangered species, and natural resources in the country which she has proven credible for. Haaland herself describes her initiatives the best: “The department has a role in harnessing the clean energy potential of our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities The president’s agenda demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production” (Nathan). 

Not only is Secretary Deb Haaland a historically monumental woman but she is overwhelmingly qualified and ensured to influence the necessary changes in America. Our history books teach us the conflicting relationship between the U.S. government and Indigenous peoples, but we are living through mass shifts in this country that will forever influence the treatment and livelihood of Native American tribes.

Works Cited 

Detrow, Scott. “Cutting Climate Programs May Be Harder than Other Things as Biden Trims His

Bill.” NPR, 7 Oct. 2021,



McDaniel, Eric. “Joe Manchin’s Objections to a Clean Energy Program Threaten Biden’s

Climate Promises.” NPR, 16 Oct. 2021,



Nathan, Rott. “Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary.” NPR, 15

Mar. 2021,



“Secretary Deb Haaland.” U.S. Department of the Interior, 14 July 2021,


Snell, Kelsey. “Democrats Seek a Middle Ground on Biden’s Plans without Gutting Them.”

NPR, 15 Oct. 2021,



Tax Foundation. “Child Tax Credit (CTC).” Tax Foundation


The White House. “The Cabinet.” The White House, 9 June 2021,


Turrentine, Jeff. “Meet Deb Haaland.” NRDC, 15 Mar. 2021,