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A Victory of Biden, and a Bet on America’s Future

“My instinct is that these don’t add up to transformative matters on the scale of Social Security, Securities Exchange Act, Federal Housing Administration, Civil Rights Act of ’64,” said David M. Kennedy, a historian at Stanford University and the author of “Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.”



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“They’re just not in that league,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy noted that Mr. Roosevelt had a wide majority in Congress, while Mr. Biden’s party is barely in control — and with deep disagreements internally.

“Today’s Democratic Party is far more fractionated with all kinds of divisions,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It’s proving very, very difficult to get that body of Democrats in both chambers to legislate coherently.”

“The package is much smaller, more modest and that was to be expected,” he added.

Mr. Biden’s achievements — even shrunken in the eyes of some — may also prove to be his legislative high-water mark. After the final votes were tallied, Mr. Biden made a video call to his longtime adviser, Steve Ricchetti, to congratulate a couple dozen staffers in the Roosevelt Room.

The president, who is vacationing in South Carolina, told them they had changed the world and made a difference for American families, according to an administration official.

But even as the White House celebrated the legislation on Friday, the final deal was largely inked by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and two centrist Democrats who were holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. In an emailed statement, Mr. Manchin’s office on Friday pointedly took credit for the legislative win, heralding the House passage of “Manchin’s Inflation Reduction Act.”

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