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Biden arrives back in Washington to a political nightmare – CNN

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(CNN)President Joe Biden on Wednesday received an unwelcome wake-up call for his still-new presidency as the Democrat arrived back in Washington from a European excursion suddenly facing a transformed political landscape.

Republican Glenn Youngkin’s projected gubernatorial victory over Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, which Biden won by 10 points last year, and a too-close-to-call race in New Jersey made for dispiriting news for the President as he flew over the Atlantic.
Returning to the White House in the dark, Biden declined to answer questions about the race, which he’d incorrectly predicted Democrats would win eight hours earlier. The results had been called a half-hour before Biden touched down at Joint Base Andrews. Aboard Air Force One, people familiar with the matter said the mood was grim as a weary team returned to what has become a swirl of recrimination and second-guessing.
A subdued Biden told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the results of the election must be accepted, and said that he was proud of the race McAuliffe ran — arguing that the former governor had received the most votes a Democratic gubernatorial nominee had ever received in the commonwealth.
But, Biden said, there’s not much that could have been done given historical trends and enthusiasm among Republican voters.
“I think it should have passed before Election Day,” Biden said of his legislative agenda, “but I’m not sure that I would have been able to change the number of very conservative folks who turned out in red districts who were (former President Donald) Trump voters. But, maybe. Maybe.”
He added, “People want us to get things done, and that’s why I’m continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill.”
Questions remain over how the shifting dynamic will play out in the coming days, weeks and months.
Biden has for months been locked in a repeating cycle of pressure-packed weeks for his legislative agenda as his party has failed to pass his sweeping domestic agenda, comprised of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan and a $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion bill. Those priorities remain unfinished — and a potential government shutdown and default on the nation’s debt looms in early December.
It all adds up to a potential turning point in Biden’s presidency before he has reached a full year in the job. The White House already feels a new sense of urgency to both pass the agenda and provide direction for a party in panic, and an official tells CNN it is possible Biden will directly address the American people on Wednesday.
“Hopefully lights a fire under our team on the bill to act,” a senior administration official told CNN, but added, “I think it’s a mistake to overreact here.”
The official also said, “But clearly voters are frustrated by the pace of action and we need to pick up that pace.”

Lack of progress on Biden’s agenda in the spotlight

After months of infighting over Biden’s multitrillion-dollar legislative agenda, which laid bare the divisions in the Democratic Party, it has not taken long for finger-pointing and panic to set in among Biden’s allies. A source close to the White House argued the results showed that voters are frustrated with the lack of action in Washington.
“Voters were clear that they were unhappy with inaction and nitpicking,” the source said. “And Democrats widely agree that there is greater impetus to go ahead, faster, with bills that will be economic game-changers for middle-class families and ensure the economy delivers for hardworking people in their daily lives, not just those at the top.”
“If voters are frustrated with inaction, the obvious response is to be more decisive and pass bills based on an agenda for the middle class that received a record-breaking 81 million votes last year,” the source added. “And there’s a strong consensus about that across the party. Doing less is plainly the opposite of what people want.”
On Wednesday morning, a source close to House progressives pushed back on criticism from moderate Democrats that McAuliffe lost because they held up Biden’s agenda.
“That doesn’t even begin to pass the sniff test. Voters did not base their choice between McAuliffe and Youngkin off of infrastructure negotiations in DC. A state did not just swing by more than 10 points in a single year because of some bill moving through Congress,” the source said.
Still, over the final weeks of the campaign, McAuliffe and his allies repeatedly raised warnings that Biden’s inability to pass a sweeping social safety net expansion was hindering his race.
Some of Biden’s advisers have chafed at the notion the President’s stalled domestic agenda was to blame, pointing instead to a lingering pandemic and its economic aftereffects. Some Democrats close to Biden have also privately lamented at McAuliffe’s stumbles, including sparking outrage with a comment on education that came to define the closing weeks of the race.

“Virginia is just the first step,” GOP leader says

The Virginia governor’s race in particular was seen as a referendum on the first year of Biden’s presidency, even though the President said he didn’t view it that way, and Tuesday’s loss could lead to second-guessing on the Democrats’ strategy on Biden’s economic agenda. More moderate Democrats could join Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in raising concerns about Biden’s massive economic and climate spending bill, which would further draw out the process and complicate the path forward.
Biden, who campaigned for McAuliffe in Virginia, had expressed confidence on Tuesday that McAuliffe would win.
“We’re gonna win. I think we’re gonna win in Virginia,” Biden said during a news conference in Glasgow, while also acknowledging it would be a tight race.
However, the President said had the race wouldn’t be a reflection on his agenda.
“I don’t believe, and I’ve not seen any evidence, that whether or not I am doing well or poorly, whether or not I’ve got my agenda passed or not, is gonna have any real impact on winning or losing,” Biden said during the news conference. “Even if we had passed my agenda, I wouldn’t claim we won because Biden’s agenda passed.”
A Biden adviser acknowledged to CNN that McAuliffe’s loss is a warning sign for Democrats’ chances in the midterms next year but warned against drawing sweeping conclusions from a single election. The loss makes clear that Democrats can’t simply run against Trump to win elections, the adviser said.
“It’s incumbent on Democrats to be loud and clear about what we’re for and not just running against Donald Trump,” the adviser said. “It’s also clear that voters are unhappy about inaction and this drives home the point that Democrats in Congress should move quickly on our agenda.”
Discontent over the coronavirus pandemic and the economic problems associated with it are currently Democrats’ biggest issues. If the state of the pandemic improves it would lead to economic growth, more jobs and inflation getting under control. That could brighten the overall mood among Democrats, restore Biden’s poll numbers a bit and give the party a little space to sell what they’ve passed and go on offense against Republicans.
“People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things from Covid to school to jobs to a whole range of things,” Biden said on Wednesday, arguing that the passage of his agenda items would “see a lot of those things ameliorated.”
“I think we should produce for the American people,” the President said. “People need a little breathing room. They’re overwhelmed and what happened was, I think we just have to produce results for them to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room.”
He asserted that elements of his agenda “are overwhelmingly popular,” but “we have to speak to (voters) and explain them.”
“I think that people are at a point, and it’s understandable, where there’s a whole lot of confusion,” Biden added.
For now, GOP leaders are reveling in the results and forecasting them to be a signal of what to expect in 2022 — and beyond.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told his members in a letter overnight: “Virginia voters sent an undeniable message that extends beyond the Commonwealth to every corner of the country. In times of anxiety, Americans are focused on the success and stability of their families and communities. Americans want a change in leadership, and Virginia is just the first step.”

Hill Democrats call for action

Biden’s allies in Congress are now hoping that the grim election night will spur quicker action on the President’s agenda as he appears in deep need of a win.
Moderate Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey said on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday: “People want action. They want results, they deserve results… This is a wake-up call for all of us.”
Gottheimer called on his party to “take action” and pass the bipartisan package and economic agenda.
Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico echoed his colleagues’ frustrations with their party’s messaging, saying they need to “inspire” the American public.
“It’s not enough to tell the American people why they should vote against someone else. You need to show them why they should vote for you and inspire them and encourage them to come out to vote,” he told CNN. “And I think that we need to do better across America.”
Luján emphasized that action on key Democratic agenda items could sway voters and that passing Biden’s economic agenda and voting rights legislation would “show the American people what we stand for and who we are.”
“These are the very commitments that we made to voters back … when they entrusted us with the majority in the House, ultimately the presidency and majority in the US Senate, and we have to deliver upon them,” he said.
But Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii defended Democrats’ efforts, and attacked Republicans for their inaction.
“I don’t know what Terry should have done different, but my goal has always been to communicate to the American public who is actually screwing them over and it’s not the Democrats,” Hirono told CNN.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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Politics Podcast: Most Americans Don’t Blame God For All The Bad Stuff That Keeps Happening – FiveThirtyEight

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FiveThirtyEight

 

On today’s Politics Podcast, the crew gets into God, COVID-19, and the midterms. So, the usual. They discuss a new poll about whom Americans blame for misfortune — is it a higher power, or the unending, uncontrollable, unyielding chaos of the universe? Then they pivot to what causes so much of our misfortune these days: COVID-19. Namely, the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, how concerned Americans are and should be, and what it might mean for politics in the coming months.

And then finally it’s time for the horse race stuff: Who’s running in 2022, who’s not, and what that tells us about how politicians are sizing up their chances in the midterms and beyond. As part of that discussion, they discuss how running on a lark might be different for women than it is for men, and mention FiveThirtyEight’s “When Women Run” project, which features an interview with Stacey Abrams.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

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Brazil Politics: Impasse Over Bill That Eases Fiscal Rule – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The lower house and the senate reached an impasse over the so-called precatorio bill, which eases austerity laws and makes room in the budget for President Jair Bolsonaro’s new social program. 

The constitutional amendment was approved by both houses of congress in two rounds of voting, and the senate made changes to the text, forcing it to return to the lower house. But senators didn’t receive well a proposal made by house Speaker Arthur Lira, who would like to speed up the process by enacting only the consensual part of proposal — leaving changes to be voted on a separate bill at a later date. 

Another idea would be to take the full text of the bill, including changes introduced by the senate, directly to a vote on the floor of the lower house, skipping its committees. The issue will be debated on Monday during a meeting of senate leaders. 

Tighter Deficit

The economy ministry cut to 0.4% from from 0.99% of gross domestic product its estimate for next year’s primary budget deficit, considering the approval of the precatorio bill, according to newspapers.

Petrobras’s Prices

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the Brazilian state-owned oil giant, will announce a reduction in the price of fuel in the next few weeks, Poder360 reported, citing an interview with President Jair Bolsonaro. 

The report provided no details. The president’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

2022 Election

Room for a so-called third-way presidential candidate running as an alternative to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and President Jair Bolsonaro depends on the incumbent losing popularity and not making it to the runoff, Christopher Garman, director of the Eurasia Americas division, said in an interview with Valor Economico. 

He forecast that Bolsonaro’s popularity will recover in the coming months with an increase in the minimum wage, cash handouts and an expected deceleration of inflation. Garman doesn’t expect such moves to make Bolsonaro the front-runner ahead of Lula, but sees former judge Sergio Moro coming third in the race. Chances of a runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro is 80% and the leftist leader is more likely to win then, the newspaper quoted Garman as saying.

  • Guedes wants Bolsonaro to support the liberal agenda during the 2022 election campaign: Folha de S.Paulo
  • Moro says he believes in the leadership of his electoral project and puts the polarization Lula-Bolsonaro in check : Estado
  • Moro met wit Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite

Coronavirus

Brazil reported 4,844 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, according to data published by the Ministry of Health. The death toll reached 615,636, with 66 in the past 24 hours.

Newspapers’ Top Stories

  • O Estado de S. Paulo
    • Mayors fail to use 15 billion reais ($2.6 billion) of the budget for education
  • Folha de S.Paulo
    • GSI allows mining in preserved areas of the Amazon
  • O Globo
    • Use of revolving credit card lines hits record
  • Valor Economico
    • Even with weak GDP, BC is likely to maintain a high interest rate policy

Original Story:

Promulgação da PEC gera embate no Congresso: Radar Político

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Don’t exploit migrants for politics, pope says on Lesbos visit – Aljazeera.com

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Pope Francis has denounced Europe’s fear and indifference to migrants on his second visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Pope Francis has blasted Europe’s indifference to the plight of migrants as the “shipwreck of civilisation” during a visit to a refugee camp in the Greek island of Lesbos.

On Sunday, the leader of the Catholic Church arrived at the Mavrovouni camp, where nearly 2,200 asylum seekers currently reside. He is on the second day of a five-day-long visit to Greece and Cyprus dominated by the issue of migration.

“I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference that kills, the cynical disregard that nonchalantly condemns to death those on the fringes,” he said. “Please, let us stop this shipwreck of civilisation.”

Using latin terms, he called for the Mediterranean Sea to remain a bridge between cultures.

“Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum),” he said.

He also condemned the exploitation of migrants for political purposes, lamenting that Europe had entered “an era of walls and barbed wire”.

Pope Francis has criticised the indifference and self-interest shown by Europe towards migrants [Alessandra Tarantino/AP]

The pope last visited Lesbos in 2016, when more than one million people crossed from Turkey into Greece and the island became one of the busiest crossing points. On that occasion, Francis brought 12 Syrian Muslim refugees home with him aboard the papal plane.

No such transfers were announced this time around, but the visit to the camp nonetheless raised hopes among its residents, some of whom have given birth to children while waiting for their asylum claims to be processed.

Enice Kiaku, from Congo, gave birth to Guiliain two years ago. He was born on the Greek island but has no identity documents.

“The arrival of the pope here makes us feel blessed,” Kiaku told The Associated Press. “We have a lot of problems here as refugees, a lot of suffering.”

Francis was greeted upon arrival by a group of African women who sung for him. He patted the heads of children and babies as he toured the camp and posed for selfies.

Pope Francis greeted children in Mavrovouni camp on the Greek island on Lesbos. [Vatican Media/­Handout via Reuters]

He was accompanied by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas.

Greece has recently built a steel wall along a section of its border with Turkey and is intercepting boats transporting migrants from the Turkish side.

It denies allegations that it is carrying out summary deportations of migrants reaching Greek territory but human rights groups say numerous such pushbacks have occurred.

Francis also listened to the camp’s residents, among whom was Christian Tango Mukaya, a Congolese father of three, who thanked the pope for his show of solidarity and for his appeal to Europe.

The refugee said he lost track of his wife and their third child in their journey and was hoping his visibility with the pope might reunite them.

Mavrovouni is a temporary holding centre pending the construction on the island of a “closed controlled facility”.

These new closed camps, which are funded by the European Union, are already running on three other Greek islands, Samos, Leros and Kos.

Amnesty International has said that new EU-funded detention camps on Greek islands are in violation of Athens’ commitments to provide international protection to those in need.

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