Five crises that could define Biden’s 2023

Biden
President Joe Biden walks to speak in the East Room of the White House ahead of the holidays, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP

Five crises that could define Biden’s 2023

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This year challenged President Joe Biden, from COVID-19 test, baby formula, and children’s medication shortages to record-setting gas prices and 40-year-high inflation.

But with Republicans promising to provide more thorough congressional oversight of Biden, his administration, and even his son Hunter once they reclaim the House in January, 2023 is poised to test the president even more.

‘A SUPER WEIRD YEAR’: BIDEN’S 2022 IN REVIEW

Here are five political obstacles Biden could face in the New Year:

A migrant surge at the southern border

Thousands of immigrants are already straining southern border community resources as they await a Supreme Court decision regarding Title 42. The court, which now includes Biden-appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, ordered in a 5-4 ruling this week that the federal public health directive remain in place until it can consider arguments in February from a number of mostly conservative-leaning states contending the authority is needed to avoid a surge in border crossings. A Supreme Court opinion is not expected until June.

Title 42 is a former President Donald Trump-era pandemic policy that Biden retained until he came under pressure to rescind it amid a separate court decision. The directive has been used to expedite the deportation of immigrants before they can apply for asylum based on concerns they could spread COVID-19. Department of Homeland Security data suggests it has been relied on more than 2 million times since March 2020. Simultaneously, Customs and Border Protection reported 233,000 illegal encounters last month, the worst November on record.

A recession

Biden and administration officials were first criticized for predicting inflation would be “transitory,” and now some have been scrutinized for downplaying the possibility of a recession. Biden was able to celebrate third and fourth financial quarter economic growth after the economy contracted during the first half of the year. But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conceded this month there could be tough times ahead as companies, such as Amazon and Goldman Sachs, announce layoffs.

“There are always risks of a recession,” she told CBS. “Economic growth is slowing substantially, and businesses see that.”

One Republican strategist described Biden’s No. 1 New Year’s resolution as “reversing the damage he and congressional Democrats have done to the economy,” which has been exacerbated by his deprioritization of domestic energy.

“Too much spending led to record inflation, and the Federal Reserve is now forced to maintain high interest rates to combat persistent inflation,” the strategist said. “People will lose their jobs as credit card debt rises, the costs of goods and services remain inflated, and homebuyers struggle to start building family wealth due to unaffordable mortgage rates.”

The Supreme Court blocking Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness proposal

The Supreme Court will also decide the fate of Biden’s proposal to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for eligible Pell Grant recipients. The framework, projected to cover 40 million borrowers, was cheered by liberal Democrats and perceived as an overture to younger voters disappointed with Biden’s presidency, but it now has to survive two cases undermining its legality. The court is anticipated to hear oral arguments in February and issue an opinion in June.

Labor, another key constituency of Biden’s, may present problems for the president after he encouraged Congress to pass a measure enforcing a deal he helped broker between railway operators and 12 unions, which was not agreed to by four of the unions. The arrangement, which comprises a 24% pay increase over five years and another paid day off, averted a strike that could have cost the economy $2 billion a day and snarled supply chains before the holidays.

A protracted war between Russia and Ukraine

With Russia and Ukraine conditioning renewed peace negotiations on terms unacceptable to the other party, Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to be a protracted conflict. Potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated before the 2022 midterm elections that U.S. backing, amounting to $100 billion so far, cannot continue as a “blank check,” setting up a standoff between Biden and Congress over the invasion.

Vandenberg Coalition Executive Director Carrie Filipetti, a former senior policy adviser to one-time U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley (R-SC) and ex-State Department deputy assistant secretary for Cuba and Venezuela, contended sending military aid to Ukraine is “one of the best ways” to “ensure a swift conclusion to the war without putting American lives directly in harm’s way.”

“Ukraine is doing precisely what we would hope it would do — fight for itself,” she said. “With the support of American military aid, Ukraine has been able to achieve victories previously thought all but impossible. Enabling a Russian victory by withholding American military aid to Ukraine now could force us deeper into a longer, more global war.”

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Rising socialism abroad

More broadly, Republican strategist Cesar Conda, former chief of staff to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and founding partner of consulting firm Navigators Global, asserted Biden’s “inattention to rising socialism in Latin America is going to be a major foreign policy challenge in the coming year,” in addition to China over Taiwan and Iran over its nuclear program.

“China is making inroads [in] our own hemisphere, which threatens our economic and national security,” he said. “In Honduras, for example, the new socialist government is threatening to expropriate U.S. private sector investments. The Biden administration doesn’t seem to understand that American investment and business activity in the Western hemisphere can provide a counterweight to rising socialism.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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