Biden’s agenda and the 2022 congressional elections
The outcome of the 2022 midterm elections could determine whether the Biden administration’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 is achievable.
Since taking office, President Biden’s agenda has in many respects been narrowed by an evenly divided Senate that has required total unity among the chamber’s Democrats to pass any sort of meaningful legislation.
The midterm elections could give the president additional breathing room for his agenda. Or it could make it extremely difficult for him to advance any of his priorities in Congress over the final two years of his term.
Ultimately, the success of Biden’s proposed $10 billion investment in a national PrEP program and the continued growth of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative will be shaped by what happens at the polls this November.
While Congress has traditionally supported funding the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS Program on a bipartisan basis, the degree of support for those programs and many others that benefit people living with HIV could change significantly or even disappear depending on the political makeup of the next Congress.
Historically, the President’s party loses ground in Congress during the midterm elections, but it’s not clear if that will be the case this year. While Biden’s approval ratings suggest that Republicans could win one or both houses of Congress, the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the political fallout from the conservative Supreme Court’s overturning of abortion rights could change the trajectory of the election.
The congressional agenda for the next Congress is dependent on the outcome of the closest Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire.
State-by-state elections and implications for policy
Our path to ending the HIV epidemic is also increasingly determined by gubernatorial elections this November.
Nine states (Wisconsin, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee) holding gubernatorial elections this year have not expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. Notably, many of the states with the highest HIV incidence are among these states who have yet to expand health coverage to folks who are most vulnerable to HIV.
It is no surprise that all of these states have also either outright banned abortion or have instituted severely categorical bans that restrict the reproductive freedom of millions of pregnant people as well.
The future of both health access generally and reproductive health specifically goes right through this year’s state level elections and both of these issues will be covered in our 2022 elections series.
2022 Election Center
AIDS United is launching an election blog series to cover major issues raised during the 2022 midterm elections. Between now and election day, we will cover eight policy areas with an HIV lens including: health care access, reproductive health, harm reduction, aging policy and issues impacting youth. There will be an occasional state profile of specific, key races that are featuring issues that impact our work to end the HIV epidemic.
The entire House of Representatives and thirty-four Senate seats are up for election on Nov. 8.