Politics Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions
Sudan's military 'dominant' despite power-sharing deal
More than two years after Sudan's power-sharing deal was inked, analysts say the role of civilian leaders is receding while the army remains dominant. The military has been heavily involved in foreign policy decisions since the power-sharing deal. Last year, Sudan announced plans to normalise ties with Israel as the US agreed to remove Khartoum from Washington's state sponsors of terror blacklist.The Sudanese decision upended policy in place since the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, said Omar al-Digeir, a leader in the FFC civilian alliance.
President Biden on Wednesday launched a full-court press, hosting a series of White House meetings with lawmakers in a bid to unite warring factions of his own party behind his sweeping, multitrillion-dollar economic agenda.
Progressive and moderate Democrats have been feuding for weeks over the size, scope and timing of Biden's $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, designed to expand the social safety net and combat climate change. With a key deadline set for Monday, Biden is stepping up his involvement in the negotiations and trying to get his troops marching in the same direction.
FEC says Twitter acted legally in blocking Hunter Biden laptop stories, pointing to claim of intel warnings about hacking
The Federal Elections Commission said on Wednesday its members unanimously rejected complaints from the Republican National Committee and others that Twitter’s decision to block the sharing of links to articles from the New York Post related to Hunter Biden's laptop constituted an illegal contribution to now-President Joe Biden’s candidacy. © Provided by Washington Examiner In announcing the decision, the FEC pointed to Twitter’s assertion that part of the reason it stopped the spread of the New York Post articles in October was over concerns that foreign actors obtained the salacious materials through hacking.
Biden first huddled in the Oval Office with the top two Democrats on Capitol Hill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), for just over an hour. The president then hosted nearly a dozen top House and Senate moderates, including Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for over an hour and a half.
Biden's final meeting, which stretched into the evening, featured 10 key progressives, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).
"What the president is doing today ... is trying to reestablish that both sides - moderates and progressives - are dealing in good faith," said House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), a progressive who will have a key role in shaping the final reconciliation package. "We're both doing our best to get this stuff done. If that's the case, then I think there's a way to negotiate [how] to handle next week."
Biden looks to recapture his political momentum with a full-court press on his domestic agenda
A politically weakened President Joe Biden is looking to spark a turnaround with a renewed focus on his domestic agenda after a month marred by a spike in Covid-19 cases and a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Washington, DC. Officials tell CNN the President is now determined to recalibrate around his massive economic proposals: a $3.5 trillion budget bill and $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. He hopes to recapture momentum lost over a calamitous August.
Next week is critical for Biden and his party. Pelosi has promised moderates in writing that she'll hold a vote on the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure package by Monday.
But progressives, led by Jayapal, are vowing to defeat the measure unless it advances alongside the larger $3.5 trillion package, which calls for provisions like expanded child tax credits, universal prekindergarten and free community college.
Key Democrats said there's virtually no chance the bigger package will be ready by Monday, setting up the possibility of an embarrassing, albeit temporary, defeat on the House floor. But as she returned to the Capitol from the White House, Pelosi told reporters this was no time for panicking.
"We are on schedule," Pelosi said before ducking into a strategy meeting between House Democrats and White House communications director Kate Bedingfield. "We're calm and everybody's good and the work's almost done."
UCF QB Dillon Gabriel suffered broken clavicle in loss to Louisville
UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel suffered a broken left clavicle in Friday's 42-35 loss to Louisville and there is no timetable for his return, he announced Saturday via Twitter. © Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports pic.twitter.com/upqGCHdgX0— Dillon Gabriel (@_dillongabriel_) September 18, 2021 Gabriel suffered the injury on the final play of Friday's game. He picked up a loose ball and was hit hard to the turf before being carted off the field.The junior threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. He has nine touchdowns and 814 yards passing this season.
When asked if Wednesday's meetings mark a make-or-break moment, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she would never describe it as that but called it "an important moment."
"We're in a pivotal period of our negotiations and discussions," Psaki said. "We always knew and have always known that as we get close to points where there are votes called or where there are key moments that Congress has on the calendar that there needs to be deeper engagement by the president, that's what you're seeing happen today."
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), after the meeting with moderates, said everyone in the room agreed on the need to pass the infrastructure package and the reconciliation package, and that "we can get there."
"It was the ultimate problem solving session, but we still have work to do. We've got a hectic few days ahead," he said.
The White House has indicated Biden will have more meetings with members in the next few days.
It has also defended the decision to meet with Democratic moderates, progressives and leadership separately on Wednesday, a format Psaki said is the "most constructive" as opposed to bringing everyone to the same table.
James Skalski seals win for Clemson with stop on fourth-and-goal
The Yellow Jackets were down 14-6 and had a fourth-and-goal from the two with 19 seconds left. They tried to run a shovel pass, but Skalski sniffed it out and made the game-saving stop. STUFFED on 4th down! Clemson's defense seals the win with a huge stop! @ClemsonFB | #ACCFootball : https://t.co/8EyscEzx2b pic.twitter.com/o42PzypqjU — ACC Football (@ACCFootball) September 19, 2021 That was a nice read and tackle by Skalski, who is a team captain. Of course, with Skalski now in his sixth year at Clemson, he’s probably seen that play from Georgia Tech at times over the years.
"Now it's a point where we need to figure out what the path forward is. The president is going to play a role in hopefully uniting people around the next steps," she said.
Biden's stepped-up engagement with lawmakers can be portrayed as a last-ditch effort to avoid his legislative priorities being killed by his own party. Meanwhile, the White House has touted it as Biden getting his hands dirty in the negotiating process and flexing his muscles as a president who can bring people together.
Psaki said the president is "rolling up his sleeves, he's walking them to the Oval Office, he'll have some COVID safe snacks, whatever may happen."
Biden offered the lawmakers individually wrapped chocolate-chip cookies that featured the presidential seal, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), said after the meeting with moderates. "My kids are a fan," she said.
Eleven progressive senators urged the House on Wednesday to pass both packages "along a dual track," noting that was the original agreement. The group, which included Sens. Sanders and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), said the House should wait to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill is sent to Biden's desk.
When asked if the president wants to see a vote on both packages on Monday, Psaki punted and said he trusts Pelosi and Schumer's leadership.
What Joe Biden Needs to Tell Warring Democrats
It’s time for Democrats in Congress stop posturing, drop their demands, and heed Biden’s call for party unity – or they’ll face a grim future.There is also potentially on tap a government shutdown (in just nine days!) and a national-debt default (about a month from now), but salvaging his presidential legacy has to be job No. 1 for Biden right now.
The White House, in previewing Wednesday's meetings, played up the president's role as a uniter for his party, which is fractured over a path forward on his economic agenda.
"He's looking forward to hearing from people and looking forward to playing a role in bringing people together over achieving our shared goal of lowering costs for people and making the tax system more fair," Psaki said.
While Biden's approval numbers have fallen to a new low of 43 percent, his Democratic allies said his 50-year career in Washington has prepared him for this moment. The Delaware Democrat served for more than three decades in the Senate, rising to chairman of both the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. And as vice president, he struck a historic deal with his old Senate colleague, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), to avoid a series of tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."
In 2020, Biden unified the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic Party to win the White House and full control of Congress.
This "is why the American people elected him: He sees them. He's put together an agenda that includes them in this economy. He's making it more fair. And he has that ability of knowing how to work with Congress," Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), who joined the progressives' meeting with Biden, told The Hill on Wednesday.
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Perhaps most troubling for President Biden: His support among independent voters – who helped carry him to victory over Donald Trump – has cratered.Biden's job approval dipped below 50% in several polls for the first time last month, and this week brought new lows: Gallup found Biden's approval rating has fallen to 43%, a 6-percentage point drop since August and the lowest of his presidency. A new Pew Research Center survey released Thursday has Biden's approval rating at 44%.