Biden and Senate Democrats plot 2024 strategy at caucus lunch | U.S. & World

Senate Democrats huddled with President Joe Biden on Capitol Hill for the first time since the midterm elections to strategize on how to sell the accomplishments of the last two years while confronting the reality of divided government.

The meeting comes after Biden gave a speech at House Democrats‘ retreat in Baltimore on Wednesday, ahead of the anticipated release of the White House’s budget proposal next week.


“We had a great meeting. We talked about implementing the accomplishments of the president in the last two years. We believe we can get a lot of good bipartisan stuff done in these two years,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said as he exited the meeting, standing with the president outside the Senate chamber. “We are building unity, optimism, and optimism about ’24.”

The meeting comes as the 2024 presidential election looms in the backdrop. Former President Donald Trump announced his reelection campaign in November. Biden is widely expected to launch his own run for a second term in the coming months but sidestepped a question on when he’ll announce it: “When I announce it,” he told reporters with a laugh.

A major topic of the luncheon was the 2024 Senate map. Democrats have a difficult road to maintain their slim 51-49 majority, with 23 seats to defend versus 11 for Republicans. Democrats must protect Democratic seats in Republican terrain like Ohio and West Virginia and in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada.

“We’re certainly talking about 2024, and he’s giving great advice,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “He was certainly very congratulatory to Jon Tester and Bob Casey and others that are running.”

Biden urged Democrats to tout previous legislative victories such as passing a massive infrastructure bill, gun reform legislation, funding to boost domestic computer chip manufacturing, and a sweeping climate and healthcare law.

“The president was going over with us, with pride, what we’ve been able to get done and how we are utilizing that in our states,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said.

While Democrats gained an extra seat for their party in the November elections, they lost the House of Representatives, dooming hopes of advancing a sweeping agenda this session of Congress. However, Schumer believes there are some areas lawmakers can find bipartisanship, specifically pointing to a bill from Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who are partnering on a new rail safety measure responding to the chemical spill that has devastated the town of East Palestine.

“He said he’d support Sherrod Brown’s, along with J.D. Vance’s, bill on railroad protection,” Schumer said.


The White House’s budget release next week will likely bring stalled talks over the debt ceiling between the president and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) back into focus. For weeks, Schumer and Democrats have called on House Republicans to reveal what spending cuts they’re looking for in exchange for raising the nation’s borrowing limit.

The standoff came up at the caucus lunch, Schumer told reporters, highlighting some of the same messaging.

“He talked about the budget, no hostage taking, just show us their budget, keeping Medicare and Medicaid, and he talked about getting online protections for kids,” he said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) praised how the White House is dealing with negotiations on the debt limit. The United States could face a default sometime this summer or early fall if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt ceiling, according to projections from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“They are very upfront about it. We are not playing games with it; the Republicans are playing games with it,” Hirono said. “The president said we will negotiate on the budget. Let’s have a debate about it. I think that is a really adult and responsible way to proceed. We will see if the speaker takes him up on it.”

Biden’s meeting with Democrats comes as Senate Republicans have been successful in advancing some of their own policy priorities. With the support of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT), they were able to pass a resolution to undo a Biden administration rule that allowed retirement plans to consider environmental, social, and corporate governance in their investment decisions. The president has said he would veto the measure.

Separately, Republicans are moving closer to blocking changes to the District of Columbia’s criminal code that would reduce penalties on a variety of criminal offenses, including carjackings, as well as a resolution on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers’s “waters of the U.S.” regulation.

Despite opposing the measure, Biden told Senate Democrats during their meeting that he wouldn’t veto the measure designed to undo changes to the Washington, D.C., crime law if the bill passes and is sent to his desk. Senators inside the meeting said the topic was only mentioned in passing.

“I wouldn’t have mentioned it, except for you’re raising questions now. It wasn’t a major topic. He just mentioned it,” Blumenthal said.


Biden’s decision comes against the backdrop of his expected 2024 presidential run. Republicans targeted crime as a major issue in the 2022 midterm elections and have signaled they will make the topic a theme ahead of the 2024 presidential cycle.

“Congress should not be forced to make this decision, but if we’re forced to make it, we have to view it on the merits — and that’s what the president is doing,” Blumenthal added.

Original Location: Biden and Senate Democrats plot 2024 strategy at caucus lunch


Washington Examiner Videos


Source link

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *