International and domestic crises offer Biden a week of testing | Politics
President Joe Biden speaks Tuesday to world leaders who are more or less angry with a pact on US-Australian nuclear submarines, upset by the killing of Afghan civilians by a US drone or mad about rules that will soon be coming. change prohibiting many foreigners from traveling to the United States because of pandemic concerns.
It’s even less of a puzzle than what the president faces at home in Washington, where time is running out on a list of national issues that could lead to a decisive victory for Biden or fiscal disaster for the nation.
Biden will deliver his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, when, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, he will outline his vision for how the global community can prevent war and fight against climate change.
“I think it will be a very welcome change from [former President Donald] Trump, “said Matthew Schmidt, a professor at New Haven University specializing in national security and national politics. After Trump – who was mocked by world leaders in one of his speeches at the UN -” people will be happy to have a sane and rational American leader rises to the odious, ”Schmidt says.
Political cartoons about Joe Biden
But Biden’s visit has a few built-in bumps. French President Emanuel Macron is still furious at a deal struck by the United States, without involving the French, to sell nuclear submarines to Australia. This not only robs France of billions of dollars in arms sales, but appears to cut France off from its efforts to keep China in check – although France is almost certain to be included in the strategy, Schmidt says. The White House is working to organize a call between Biden and Macron to ease feelings with America’s longest-serving ally.
The revelation by The New York Times – confirmed by an excused Pentagon – that one of the drone strikes in Afghanistan during the evacuation killed civilians instead of suspected terrorists also gives the president a black eye as ‘he stands in front of the world stage. Foreign officials were also unhappy with the U.S. ban on visitors from many countries, including those that allowed Americans to enter if they were vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19. That policy will change on November 1, when the United States lets in vaccinated foreign nationals, the White House said on Monday.
And when Biden returns to the nation’s capital, he faces a series of overlapping domestic political issues.
The House is set to consider a key priority for Biden, a bipartisan infrastructure fundraising bill totaling nearly $ 1 trillion. But that could be brought down by a fight within the party, with progressives saying they won’t vote for the package until another, more radical and costly budget bill is passed.
Moderate Democrats, meanwhile, balk at the budget bill’s $ 3.5 trillion price tag and threaten to deprive Biden of the critical votes he needs to pass the package, which includes “human infrastructure” elements. such as childcare support, tuition fees, health care and immigration.
This bill – which can be passed in the Senate without being obstructed – encountered another problem on Sunday night, when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the language illegally putting immigrants in the country on the path to citizenship violated Senate rules about what can be part of a budget. plan.
Meanwhile, the deadline for passing a 2022 supply bill – or simply for continuing current spending – looms September 30. It is followed soon after by the debt ceiling, the point at which the United States government can no longer borrow money to pay off its debt. invoices. Failure to raise or suspend the debt ceiling – which Republicans say they won’t – could cause “economic catastrophe,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal .
“In a few days, millions of Americans could be strapped for cash,” Yellen wrote. “We could see indefinite delays in critical payments. Nearly 50 million seniors could stop receiving Social Security checks for some time. Troops could go unpaid. Millions of families dependent on the tax credit children’s monthly could see delays. America, in short, would fail to meet its obligations. “
Democrats are scrambling to keep competing crises under control. In the Senate, Democrats will find another way to illegally protect immigrants to the country in the budget bill, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez told reporters on a conference call Monday.
“This is not an end, and I certainly intend to continue working until we get a ‘yes'” from the parliamentarian, a staff lawyer tasked with determining if the items are correct. attached to the finance bill, Menendez said. “We’re not going to take no for an answer.”
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders said Monday they would tie the debt ceiling provision to the spending bill needed to keep government open. As recently as last month, this spending bill was not appealing to Republicans, but the current version includes help for hurricane-affected states represented by Republican members of Congress.
In a joint statement, Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California noted that the debt was also incurred by Republicans – including Trump. , which secured a $ 2 trillion tax cut law as well as a coronavirus relief bill.
“The American people expect our fellow Republicans to take responsibility and pay off the debts they proudly helped incur in the December 2020 program (…) that helped families and small businesses Americans to recover from the COVID crisis, “said Schumer and Pelosi. in the Monday press release. “Further, as the administration warned last week, a forced reckless default by Republicans could plunge the country into a recession.”
The result of the mutual gaze and political spirit on the Hill could give the besieged Biden a huge boost in achieving his promised political agenda. Or it could collapse, taking the country’s economy and Biden’s approval rating with it.
“Its purpose is not to be in the news” at the UN, says Schmidt. “His goal is to get there, (tend to) relationships, and to go home and work on domestic issues.”
There will be a lot of waiting for Biden when he returns.