One stunning afternoon: Setbacks imperil Biden’s reset

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It was an hour that President Joe Biden would undoubtedly want to forget.

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On Friday, the Pentagon acknowledged that a drone strike in Afghanistan killed 10 civilians, not terrorists, including seven children. A panel advising the Food and Drug Administration voted not to recommend COVID booster shots for all Americans over the age of 16, shattering the administration’s hopes. And France announced it was recalling its ambassador to the US in anger for being out of Biden’s secret nuclear submarine deal with the United Kingdom and Australia.

Within an hour, punitive headlines underscored the dangers from uncontrollable incidents for any president that could defy a word in office.


They come as Biden has seen public approval numbers go down as the COVID-19 crisis deepens and Americans blamed for the flawed US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The administration had hoped to introduce tougher vaccine guidelines, a new international coalition to thwart China, and a recommendation for what Biden has done best: drawing on his years on Capitol Hill and calling on fellow Democrats to both Knowledge of the legislative process to overcome – access to the spending bills that form the heart of their agenda.

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Those ambitions are more difficult now.

Biden has declared defeating the pandemic the central mission of his presidency, but the US now averages more than 145,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, up from a low of about 8,500 per day three months ago.

The president has shifted the blame for the resurgence of cases for more than 70 million Americans who haven’t received the vaccine and GOP lawmakers to blame his increasingly coercive efforts to push people to get a shot. has opposed. Assistants had hoped for full FDA approval for the booster, yet the advisory panel only recommended them for people over 65 or those with underlying health conditions or special conditions.

In recent days, Biden’s allies have quietly expressed relief that a chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal – like the war itself for nearly two decades – has been moved from the spotlight. That sentiment was shattered Friday afternoon when the Pentagon revealed the wrong target for the final US drone strike of the war.

Biden had long advocated leaving Afghanistan and even after a suicide bombing killed 13 US service members, told advisers the decision was the right one. The president is known for his certainty, a stubbornness that flared up when he dismissed suggestions that he regretted how the withdrawal went.

Allies have since noted that more than 120,000 people have been successfully evacuated, arguing that quieter US efforts are securing the continued departure of others under Taliban rule.

The end in Afghanistan was part of an effort to refocus foreign policy on China, an objective that intensified with the surprise announcement of a deal between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

But not only Beijing bowed, but Paris too, as France angrily accused the US of pulling France out of the alliance and thwarting its own submarine deal with Australia.

And then France withdrew its ambassador after its officials expressed dismay that, in their estimation, Biden had proved as unreliable a partner as his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Tensions with France came just as Biden had hoped to become the pivot of his ambitious domestic agenda.

But there are sharp ideological divisions among Democrats on Capitol Hill about the size and substance of the $3.5 trillion spending package, meant to be passed together with a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. And swinging with impending deadlines on debt limits and government funding will force all of Congress to defy White House legislation.

The West Wing is recreating a legislative strategy that worked to secure $1.9 trillion of COVID relief in March and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill through the Senate in August with half a dozen White House aides and outsiders. Pushed according to consultants, who were not authorized. for internal discussions. With Biden cajoling lawmakers, the infrastructure bill is set to be passed through the House with a $3.5 trillion spending bill that covers many of the president’s priorities — like climate change and child care — and will pass the Senate along party lines. .

A 50-50 draw with the Senate and the Democrats in the House could lose only a few seats, a few votes, and it could be a formidable task to unify Democratic moderates, such as West Virginia’s censors. Joe Manchin and Kirsten Arizona’s cinema, which wants a much lower spending bill, along with liberals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has firmly said it cannot shrink.

The White House has also begun replenishing the president’s program with programs aimed at highlighting the need to pass bills that include adding visits to the sites of natural disasters – fires in California and Idaho, Hurricanes in New York and New Jersey – Change funding for climate change legislation.

And this past Thursday, which had previously been tentatively planned as a down day for Biden, the White House scheduled him to give a speech from the East Room, during which he noted that the big How to Get Tax Enforcement to Pay Corporations and Wealthy Americans Without any new details will help lay out their plan.

But there are obstacles. Munchkin told Biden he couldn’t support $3.5 trillion and White House aides have begun to indicate they would settle for a smaller package, even if it angered progressives.

Still, Biden’s advisers believe that, even if…


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