- In his first joint remarks before Congress Wednesday, President Biden reflected on his initial 100 days in office and pressed the legislature to move forward with a large expansion of government spending.
- Biden argued that his two cornerstone proposals, the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and the $1.8 American Families Plan, are necessary to support the American people and allow the U.S. to compete with foreign nations.
- Democrats largely applauded his remarks and reiterated their support for Biden’s plans, but Republicans accused the president of betraying his promise to seek compromise by promoting “radical” policies that will further divide America.
Biden Outlines Cornerstone Policies
President Joe Biden gave his first joint speech before Congress Wednesday night, delivering remarks on the eve of completing his first 100 days in office.
The president relayed the 65-minute long speech while flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made history by marking the first-ever time that two women have sat behind the president during a congressional address.
Biden opened by reflecting on his first 100 days in office during a pandemic, noting how far the country has come in regards to vaccinations, and striking an optimistic tone.
“Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he said. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”
However, the president also argued that progress needed to be followed up with a dramatic expansion of government services, and he called on Congress to embrace his vision.
“America is moving. Moving forward. And we can’t stop now,” he said. “We’re in a great inflection point in history. We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better.”
As for how Biden will achieve that goal, he spent much of his speech detailing his two big plans. The first is the $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal he unveiled last month, which includes $621 billion for transportation projects like bridges, roads, mass transit, and electric vehicle development, among other things.
The second is the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which was rolled out hours before the address and largely aims to expand safety-net programs, as well as access to education.
In total, Biden outlined nearly $6 trillion in proposed spending, though $4 trillion is on top of what Congress has already approved under the last stimulus package.
Plea for Bipartisan Support
While acknowledging his plans may seem like a tall order to his Republican colleagues, Biden framed his policy aims as necessary to compete with other countries and argued that the U.S. should provide these policies because it is falling behind globally.
The president encouraged Republicans to share their ideas and said he was open to compromise, but he indicated he would take action without them if necessary.
“The rest of the world isn’t waiting for us,” he said. “I just want to be clear. From my perspective, doing nothing is not an option.”
Biden specifically singled out China and its president, Xi Jinping, as key challengers to American competition and global democratic values.
“He’s deadly earnest about becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world,” Biden said of Xi. “He and other autocrats think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies — it takes too long to get consensus. To win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children.”
The president also closed his speech by circling back to the need for American democracy to compete with authoritarian governments. While he did not directly mention former President Donald Trump, he did tie the Jan 6. insurrection to rising authoritarianism in other parts of the world, and he emphasized the need for the U.S. to set an example to counter that trend through its agenda at home.
“In closing, as we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol, desecrating our democracy, remain vivid in all our minds,” he said. “The insurrection was an existential crisis –- a test of whether our democracy could survive. And it did.”
“Autocrats will not win the future. We will,” Biden continued. “America will. And the future belongs to America.”
While Democrats largely praised Biden’s agenda and reiterated their support for his plans, Republicans condemned the president for proposing what they said were “radical” plans and failing to united people.
That narrative was also echoed in the formal rebuttal to Biden’s address, which was given by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican senator, who accused the president of giving up on his promise to seek compromise in favor of a partisan agenda.
Scott claimed that many of the actions Biden touted had been achieved under GOP control, and that Trump and Republicans are to thank for the pandemic finally turning a corner.
“Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the Trump administration, our country is flooded with safe and effective vaccines,” he stated. “Thanks to our bipartisan work last year, job openings are rebounding.”
The senator also called Biden’s infrastructure plan “a liberal wish list of big-government waste,” and made similar remarks about the families plan before accusing Biden of “abandoning principles he held for decades.”
“Nowhere do we need common ground more desperately than in our discussions of race,” he added. He went on to detail all the racism he has faced but added, “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination.”
Scott appeared to then imply that the expansion of voting rights Biden and Democrats are pushing in response to state election bills are a form of discrimination, while also fervently defending the widely criticized Georgia voting bill.
“This is not about civil rights or our racial past. It’s about rigging elections in the future,” he said, before concluding, “Our best future will not come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you, the American people.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)
Trump Mocks Florida Gov. “Ron DeSanctimonious” Ahead of Possible 2024 Bid
The former president may announce a bid to take back the White House on Nov. 14, according to his inner circle.
Trump Concocts His Latest Nickname
From “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted” to “Sleepy Joe” and “Crazy Bernie,” former president Donald Trump’s nicknames for his political opponents have been known for their punchy style, but Republicans found it hard to swallow his latest mouthful for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“We’re winning big, big, big in the Republican Party for the nomination like nobody’s ever seen before,” he said Saturday at a rally in Pennsylvania. “Trump at 71, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%.”
The former president drew rebuke from some allies and conservative commentators for driving a wedge through the GOP three days before the midterm elections.
“DeSantis is an extremely effective conservative governor who has had real policy wins and real cultural wins,” tweeted The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh. “Trump isn’t going to be able to take this one down with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve.”
“What an idiot,” wrote Rod Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative. “DeSantis is a far more effective leader of the Right than Trump was, if, that is, you expect a leader to get a lot done, rather than just talking about it and owning the libs.”
In April 2021, Trump said he would “certainly” consider making DeSantis his running mate for a potential 2024 presidential bid. But as DeSantis established himself as a credible rival to Trump, their relationship grew colder.
Last September, sources told The Washington Post that Trump had called DeSantis “ungrateful” in conversations with advisors. The former president reportedly had not spoken with the governor in months.
The Party of Trump or DeSantis?
One day after his “DeSanctimonious” jab, Trump took to the stage in Florida to support Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R) reelection campaign but grabbed more attention when he seemed to endorse DeSantis for governor.
“The people of Florida are going to reelect the wonderful, the great friend of mine, Marco Rubio to the United States Senate, and you’re going to reelect Ron DeSantis as your governor of your state,” he said to the cheering crowd.
The brief moment of support was overshadowed, however, by the conspicuous absence of DeSantis himself.
Both men held competing, contemporaneous rallies in the same state hundreds of miles apart, and multiple sources told Politico that DeSantis was not invited to Trump’s event, nor did he ask to attend.
The governor has repeatedly refused to say whether he will make a run for the presidency in 2024, but national polling consistently puts Trump ahead of him among Republicans by a wide margin.
Some recent polls, however, have shown DeSantis to lead the former president in specific states like Florida and New Hampshire.
A survey last month found that 72% of GOP voters believe DeSantis should have a great or good deal of influence in the future direction of the party, while just 64% said the same about Trump.
Sources told Axios that Trump’s inner circle is discussing a Nov. 14 announcement for his presidential campaign, timing it to capitalize on the expected post-midterm euphoria as vote counts roll in.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Fox News) (Politico)
The Midterms Are Tomorrow, But We May Not Have Results for a While. Here’s What You Need to Know
The counting of mail-in ballots and possible legal challenges will almost certainly slow the final results.
Election Delays Expected
As Americans gear up for Election Day on Nov. 8, experts are warning that many races, including some of the most highly anticipated ones, may not have the final results in for days or even weeks.
These delays are completely normal and do not indicate that election fraud or issues with vote counting took place. However, like in 2020, former President Donald Trump and other election-denying Republicans could seize on the slow-coming returns to promote false claims to that effect.
There are a number of very legitimate reasons why it could take some time before the final results are solidified. Each state has different rules for carrying out the election process, like when polls close and when ballots can start being counted.
There are also varying rules for when mail-in ballots can be received and counted that can extend when those votes will be tallied. That lag could seriously skew early results in many places because there has been a major rise in the number of people voting by mail.
Red Mirage, Blue Mirage
One very important thing to note is that the early returns seen on election night may not be representative of the final outcomes.
In 2020, there was a lot of talk about a “red mirage,” which is when ballots cast on election day and favoring Republicans are reported first while mail-in ballots used more by Democrats are counted later, creating the appearance that Republicans have a much wider lead.
That phenomenon may very well take place in several key battlegrounds that not only could decide the House and the Senate but also have incredibly consequential state-wide elections of their own.
For example, in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, election officials cannot start counting mail-in and absentee ballots until Election Day.
Some experts have also speculated that a similar occurrence could occur in Georiga because the suburbs — which have shifted blue in recent years — report their results later than rural counties.
At the same time, there are also some states where the opposite might happen: a blue mirage that makes it seem like Democrats are doing better than they actually are.
Such a scenario is possible in Arizona, where election officials can process mail-in ballots as soon as they receive them, and where a similar trend played out in 2020.
Other Possible Slow-Downs
Beyond all that, there are a number of other factors that could delay when results are finalized.
For example, in Georgia, candidates need to get at least 50% of the vote to win, and if none do, then the top two are sent to a run-off election on Dec. 6. That is a very real possibility for the state’s closely-watched Senate race because there is a libertarian on the ballot who could siphon enough votes from Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock to keep them both below the 50% threshold.
In other words: if control of the Senate comes down to Georgia again — as it did in 2020 and which is a very real possibility — voters may not know the outcome until a month after the election.
Meanwhile, experts also say that legal battles over mail-in ballots could further delay results, or even go to the Supreme Court. According to The New York Times, before Election Day, over 100 lawsuits had already been filed.
In Pennsylvania, for example, the State Supreme Court ruled last week in favor of a lawsuit from Republican groups requesting that mail-in ballots that did not have dates on outer envelopes be invalidated, causing thousands of ballots to be set aside. Multiple rights groups are now suing to get that decision reversed.
DHS Confirms Paul Pelosi Attacker is a Canadian National in the U.S. Illegally
The suspect espoused many political conspiracy theories promoted by the American far-right and told investigators he wished to harm House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send a message to other U.S. politicians.
Pelosi Attacker’s Immigration Issues
The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi and trying to kidnap House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) is a Canadian national currently residing in the United States illegally, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) late Wednesday.
Law enforcement officials say the suspect embraced far-right conspiracies about U.S. politicians and told investigators he wanted to break the House Speaker’s kneecaps as a lesson to other members of Congress.
Despite his lack of citizenship, the man also allegedly told police he was on a “suicide mission” and had a list of state and federal lawmakers he wanted to target.
In its statement to the media, DHS said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had lodged a “detainer” on the suspect, which is a notice the agency intends to take custody of an individual who could be deported and requests it be notified before that person is released. The detainer, however, likely will not impact the case against him, because deportations are civil proceedings that happen after criminal cases are resolved.
According to several reports, federal records indicate the suspect came to the U.S. legally via Mexico in March 2008. Canadians who travel to America for business or pleasure are usually able to stay in the country for six months without a visa. DHS told The Washington Post the Canadian citizen was admitted as a “temporary visitor” traveling for pleasure.
Before the confirmation from DHS, there was some mixed reporting on how long the suspected attacker has been in America. On Monday, an anonymous U.S. official told the Associated Press the man had legally entered in 2000 but stayed way after his visa expired.
One day later, The New York Times reported he was registered to vote in San Francisco County from 2002 to 2009, and even voted once in 2002.
Heightened Security Concerns
The new revelation comes as lawmakers are facing increased threats, prompting conversations about safety and security with a specific focus on the role of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP).
On Tuesday, multiple outlets reported that USCP security cameras trained on the Pelosi’s house actually captured the attack, but no one was watching. In a statement Wednesday, the agency said its command center has access to around 1,800 cameras and not all are watched constantly.
The Capitol Police also said that the Pelosi’s home is “actively” monitored “around the clock” when the Speaker is there, but not when she is in Washington.
As a result, many argued that there should be more security and surveillance for the second person in line for the presidency — especially given the threat of violence after the Jan. 6 insurrection and warnings from law enforcement ahead of the midterms.
That was echoed in a scathing letter yesterday sent to Capitol Police by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca.), who is one of the most senior Democrats in Congress and heads the Administration Committee.
In her letter, Lofgren noted that the agency “has previously reported to the committee that the speaker receives the most threats of any member of Congress,” and asked why that protection was not extended “to the spouses and/or other family members of the congressional leaders in the presidential line of succession.”
She questioned why the USCP had turned down an offer from the FBI for some of its officers to be part of terrorism task forces investigating threats against Congressmembers and why it had not made a formal agreement with San Francisco police for a car to be posted at the Pelosi’s home 24-hours a day as had been done in the months after Jan. 6.
Lofgren also inquired why the Capitol Police did not direct more threats against lawmakers for prosecution. She noted that members of Congress received at least 9,625 threats in 2021, but just 217 were referred.
Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders, suspected mass murderers, or those accused of committing violent crimes who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.