Joe Biden: After a Relentless Summer, US President Joe Biden Seeks to Set the Agenda on Track | World news

WASHINGTON: The collapse of the Afghan government, a wave of Covid-19 cases caused by the delta variant, devastating weather events, a disappointing employment record. After that ?
After a torrent of crises, President Joe Biden hopes to turn the page of a relentless summer and refocus his presidency this fall around his core economic agenda.
But the recent cascade of unrest is a sobering reminder of the unpredictable weight of the office and further proof that presidents rarely have the luxury of focusing on one crisis at a time. Biden’s inflexible summer put his White House on an emergency footing and slumped his own poll numbers.
“The presidency is not a job for a monomaniac,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “You have to be multitasking 24 hours a day.”
This has never been truer than the summer of 2021, which began with the White House’s proclamation of the nation’s “independence” from the coronavirus and two-party politics defying the odds on a huge package. infrastructure. Then COVID-19 came back in force, the withdrawal from Afghanistan degenerated into chaos, and hiring slowed.
Biden is now hoping for a post-Labor Day reframing of the national conversation towards his two national goals of passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill and pushing through an expansion of the social safety net only for Democrats.
White House officials are eager to shift Biden’s public calendar to issues important to his agenda and which they believe are a priority for the American people.
“I think you can expect the president to communicate over the next few weeks on a series of issues that concern the American people,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“You can certainly expect to learn more about its Build Back Better program, about Covid and its commitment to bringing the virus under control, talking to parents and those with children who are returning to school.”
During the chaotic evacuation of Afghanistan, the White House played a central role in explaining the consequences of Biden’s decision to withdraw and the efforts to evacuate the Americans and their allies from the country. Now officials want to put the State Department and other agencies at the forefront of efforts to help stranded Americans and support evacuees, while Biden moves on to other topics.
This is in part a reflection of an unspoken belief inside the White House that for all the scenes of chaos in Afghanistan, the public supports its decision and it will be faded from memory by the mid-year elections. -mandate.
Instead, the White House is gearing up for a legislative sprint to spend more than $ 4 trillion in domestic funding that will be a big chunk of what Biden hopes will be his first-term legacy before the prospect of legislation. major do not seize up before 2022. races.
In remarks on Friday’s disappointing August jobs report, Biden attempted to reprise the role of public salesman for his domestic agenda and claim the warrior’s mantle for the middle class.
“For big companies that don’t want things to change, my message is, it’s time for working families – the people who built this country – to cut their taxes,” Biden said. He renewed his calls for rate increases for companies to pay for free community colleges, paid family time off and an expansion of the child tax credit.
“I’m going to face them,” Biden said of corporate interests.
While Biden may want to move on, assistants know the crises aren’t over with him.
Biden plans to speak this week about new efforts to contain the delta variant and protect children in schools from Covid-19. And his administration continues to be criticized for his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan before all US citizens and allies can exit.
“President Biden desperately wants to talk about something other than Afghanistan, but Americans hiding from the Taliban, ISIS and the Haqqani Network don’t give a damn about news cycles, long weekends and polls – they want to get out, ”the Republican said. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. He called on the Biden White House on Friday to provide a public account of the number of Americans and their allies still stranded in Afghanistan.
Biden will also soon be grappling with the fallout from the liquidation of two anchor points in the government’s Covid-19 protection package: the federal moratorium on evictions recently expired, and as of Monday, an estimated $ 8.9 million. people will lose all their unemployment benefits.
The president is also still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which hit the Gulf states and then flooded the northeast. After visiting Louisiana last week, he will get a glimpse of some of the damage in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.
Already he’s trying to turn the destruction caused by the hurricane into a new argument for the infrastructure spending he’s been pushing all along, telling local officials in Louisiana: “It looks to me like we can save a lot of money. and a lot of pain for our constituents – if when we rebuild, we rebuild it in a better way. ”
According to White House officials, even as other issues grabbed the headlines, Biden and his team had regular conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And the head of the House. Senatorial Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the President’s legislative agenda. His legislative team organized more than 130 calls and meetings with members of Congress, their chiefs of staff and their staff on the infrastructure bill and the spending program, and his administration organized more than 90 meetings with the staff. legislative process on the preparation of the reconciliation bill.
Responding to concerns raised by Vital Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., about the price tag on the roughly $ 3.5 trillion social spending program, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said told CNN on Sunday that he was convinced the Democrat was “very persuasive” about the legislation.
Cabinet officials have also been in contact with lawmakers, officials said, and traveled to 80 congressional districts to promote the agenda across the country while Biden was held in Washington.
Biden, Beschloss said, could have a leg up on some of his predecessors to overcome crises and keep his legislative agenda on track, given his 50 years of experience in national politics.


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Kevin E. Boling

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