‘Pretty rough’: Predictions for Biden’s year ahead

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President Joe Biden participates in a briefing on winter storms across the United States in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP

‘Pretty rough’: Predictions for Biden’s year ahead

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President Joe Biden‘s life is about to become more difficult when Democrats relinquish control of the House next year.

But regardless of the possible political pitfalls, Biden still has the opportunity to notch some wins in case he announces a reelection campaign.

BIDEN HOSTS ZELENSKY BEFORE DEMOCRATS HAND OVER HOUSE CONTROL TO REPUBLICANS

Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley predicted “things will be pretty rough for Biden” next year, with the Republican-controlled House. House GOP lawmakers are preparing to examine Biden’s 2021 Afghanistan war withdrawal, son Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas‘s handling of the southern border, Attorney General Merrick Garland‘s management of the Justice Department, and Dr. Anthony Fauci‘s work during the pandemic.

“No more spending, and lots of painful and expensive investigations,” Shirley told the Washington Examiner. “Having to watch his son testify,” the Republican consulting firm Shirley and McVicker Public Affairs chairman and CEO added of Hunter Biden.

Democratic strategists, such as Sandy Maisel, are skeptical Joe Biden will make inroads regarding his legislative agenda, including the reported priority of immigration reform, given a divided Congress and the looming 2024 election. But Republican strategist Cesar Conda contended the president could still enact policy change through executive action.

“Joe Biden will stick with his liberal base in 2023,” Sen. Marco Rubio‘s (R-FL) former chief of staff and Navigators Global’s founding partner said.

Maisel, a Colby College visiting politics instructor and one-time candidate, also pointed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s (D-NY) ability to confirm “a string” of Biden’s federal judicial nominees.

“However, because much of what was in the two recovery packages is just now being implemented, I think he will seek and be given credit over the next two years for much of what he actually did over the last two,” he said. “All of this, of course, is health dependent. No new pandemic, no new wars, and all of the other things we did not predict.”

In addition to the last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Democratic advocacy organization Center for American Progress senior adviser Colin Seeberger agreed that the practicalities of the 2021 $550 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, on top of this year’s $280 billion Chips and Science Act, and the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act are bound to bolster Biden. Echoing Hankin, Seeberger argued the legislation will at least contribute to a contrast with “extreme” Republicans, for instance, those threatening to facilitate a debt limit default over social welfare concerns.

“Those are going to be a big focus of the administration going into 2023, as well as staying laser-focused on cutting costs for consumers,” he said of the measures. “There will be provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, like having the cost of insulin capped at $35 for seniors, that is going to go into effect next year, and creating out-of-pocket maximums for prescription drug spending in the Medicare program.”

Jessica Floyd, president of Democratic opposition research super PAC American Bridge, is confident Biden will be able to collaborate with House Republicans, despite insisting “no matter what GOP leader in the House emerges, they will be wrestling with an extreme caucus that will be focused on conspiracy theories and not the economic issues that matter most to Americans.”

U.S. support of Ukraine is one problem Congress is poised to encounter next year, with Biden’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion comprising “the biggest challenge the president has in 2023,” according to Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg.

“In terms of messaging, I think you’re going to see a lot of emphasis on shoring up democracy here in the United States and abroad,” he said. “And also for Democrats going on offense on economic issues and not being in a defensive crouch.”

For Rosenberg, the founder of think tanks the New Democrat Network and New Policy Institute, Biden’s relationship with potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the Supreme Court remained an open question. The Supreme Court, for example, is expected to consider the constitutionality of Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness framework in February.

But Democratic strategist Stefan Hankin’s No. 1 query is whether Biden, 80, will contest the 2024 election, which depends on whether he receives his family’s blessing these holidays.

“If he announces that he’s not going to run, then I think there’s a better chance of things getting done because now it’s not handing the future candidate a victory. It’s just getting things done,” he said of Biden. “If he is the candidate, I think there’s going to be a reluctance to give him any wins that they don’t have to give him in order to try to boost their chances in the election.”

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Simultaneously, if Republicans select Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as their 2024 presidential nominee, Hankin would prefer another Democratic standard-bearer.

“If it’s, like, a DeSantis, it’s just basically a younger, white male or a younger, non-male, who is running against Biden. I think the optics don’t work as well,” he said. “If it’s two people who have been president, who are roughly the same age, I think that’s a very good matchup for Biden.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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