“Companies rushed to break ground on new factories in hopes of winning those federal incentives, driving industry spending on construction to record heights. And politically, Democratic advisers said, the building frenzy provides signs of progress that Biden can point to in nearly every state.
“By the end of the election, every voter in battleground states is going to hear this story about what he’s done to invest in America’s economic future,” said John Anzalone, the founder of Impact Research and a longtime Biden pollster. “That is just not a message that Trump has.”
Yet central to Biden’s story of a manufacturing comeback is the prospect of thousands of new jobs spurred by his new laws — and so far, those have been slow to materialize. While Biden often touts the nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs created during his presidency, the vast majority came prior to passage of the IRA and CHIPS, when Americans’ surging demand for goods during the pandemic drove a rapid industry recovery.
Since then, hiring has stalled as the economy evened out, with manufacturing-centric swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania actually losing factory jobs in 2023.
Those conditions have left Biden selling a manufacturing jobs boom that may not arrive in full force until well after November. Most companies that broke ground after Biden’s economic bills became law in August 2022 won’t have their new plants up and running until later this year — at the earliest. In high-profile setbacks for the White House, chipmakers TSMC and Intel have both signaled plans to delay production at their newest U.S. factories until 2025.”
“A spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kanaani, said at a news conference in Tehran, Iran, on Monday that the militias “do not take orders” from Iran and act independently. It is a convenient argument, one that preserves some sense of deniability for Iran.
But the speed at which Iran tried to distance itself from the strike, rather than embrace it, underscored that the downside of using proxies is the same as the upside: Iran will be blamed for everything the militias do, even acts the Iranians believe are too provocative.
“This is the inherent risk in Iran’s proxy-war strategy,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It has been brilliantly successful, but only if the retaliation focuses on proxies and not on Iran’s own territory. Now there is a real risk of things getting even more out of hand in the region.”
Biden is running out of middle-ground options. Sanctions have been exhausted; there is barely a sector of the Iranian economy that the United States and Europe are not already punishing, and China continues to buy up Iranian oil. He could approve “strike packages” against a variety of proxies, but that would embolden some of them, and give some of them the status they crave as legitimate U.S. enemies.
And, following Stavridis’ suggestion, it could look to cyberattacks, more stealthy, deniable ways to make a point. But the lesson of the past decade of cyberconflict with Iran — in both directions — is that it looks easier in the movies than in reality. Gaining access to critical networks is hard, and having lasting impact is even harder. The most famous American-Israeli cyberattack on Iran, aimed at its nuclear centrifuges 15 years ago, slowed the nuclear program for a year or two but did not put it out of business.
And that is Biden’s challenge now: In the middle of an election, with two wars underway, he needs to put Iran’s sponsorship of attacks on Americans out of business — without starting another war.”
“President Joe Biden said Sunday that the U.S. “shall respond” after three American troops were killed and dozens more were injured in an overnight drone strike in northeast Jordan near the Syrian border. Biden blamed Iran-backed militias for the first U.S. fatalities after months of strikes by such groups against American forces across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
Biden, who was traveling in South Carolina, asked for a moment of silence during an appearance at a Baptist church’s banquet hall.
“We had a tough day last night in the Middle East. We lost three brave souls in an attack on one of our bases,” he said. After the moment of silence, Biden added, “and we shall respond.”
With an increasing risk of military escalation in the region, U.S. officials were working to conclusively identify the precise group responsible for the attack, but they have assessed that one of several Iranian-backed groups was behind it.
Biden said in a written statement that the United States “will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner (of) our choosing.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said “we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests.””
“Biden does bear significant culpability for at least some of the delays that are now frustrating his White House and campaign teams. From the tightening of “Buy American” rules for federal procurement to mandates that limit the ability of nonunion construction shops to bid on these projects, the infrastructure bill Biden signed in November 2021 is loaded with provisions that were always going to slow its implementation and limit its effectiveness.
The outcome was predictable from the start. “Making waivers for Buy America provisions harder to obtain reveals the contradictory aims of Biden’s infrastructure policy,” Reason’s Christian Britschgi wrote in April 2022. “The president wants to make ‘historic’ investments in infrastructure, but he’s also deeply committed to regulations that ensure those investments will buy as little infrastructure as possible.””
“”Ordinarily, Washington lets states decide how best to spend transportation money,” The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2021. But the infrastructure bill gives the Biden administration a greater role in deciding which projects to fund. Those additional steps slowed everything down: “It will probably take at least a year for the Transportation Department to write the rules around the new grant programs, solicit and evaluate applications and send money to the winners,” Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told the Journal for that piece.”
“So far, Republicans have found that Biden’s son, Hunter, made millions of dollars while his father was vice president. Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden’s, has previously testified to the House Oversight Committee that businesses were interested in working with Hunter in part due to his proximity to the Biden “brand.”
One key piece of evidence Republicans have cited from Archer’s testimony is that Biden participated in roughly 20 phone calls with Hunter’s business contacts. However, Archer stressed those encounters consisted of small talk like the weather and not issues of substance. Archer also testified that he hadn’t seen President Biden attempt to use his office to help Hunter advance his career.
Some “evidence,” such as claims Biden engaged in quid pro quo schemes, have been disproved. Others, like testimony from whistleblowers who claim the government gave Hunter Biden lenient treatment in its investigations into potential misconduct, have been largely discredited. As the New York Times explained, “there is no evidence that Mr. Biden ordered that his son get special treatment in any investigation.”
Overall, House Republicans’ investigations have not found any actual, concrete proof of wrongdoing by President Biden. As a result, their decision to keep on backing an inquiry is surprising, since it’s historically not been done until there’s significant evidence of misconduct. Republicans have argued that the inquiry will help them gather this information: It provides a legal framework that could enable these committees to gain more subpoena powers for documents, though the legal precedent for this is unclear, and though the inquiry is now formalized, any subpoenas are likely to be met with lawsuits.
Republicans who are backing the House vote on the inquiry argue it will give lawmakers even more legal grounds to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House. “That doesn’t mean we have high crimes or misdemeanors. We may not ever. But let’s get the facts, and we’ll go from there,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), a swing-district Republican, told the Hill.”
“Multiple Republicans — including Senate leaders like Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — have expressed concerns that the GOP is moving forward on an inquiry without providing clear evidence of the offenses it will center on. “I think before you begin an impeachment inquiry, you ought to have some evidence, some inclination that there’s been wrongdoing. And so far, there’s nothing of that nature that’s been provided,” said Romney in an NBC News interview. In that same interview, he noted that he would vote against an inquiry if he were a member of the House.”
“In survey after survey, large majorities of respondents say both that the economy is terrible and that Biden is doing a bad job managing it. For months, American economists and policy wonks have expressed puzzlement about these results, pointing to strong GDP growth, low unemployment, the lack of a recession in the US, and cooling inflation rates.
But after a two-year period featuring the highest inflation in decades, prices are still a whole lot higher than they were four years ago — and voters seem not to have forgiven that just yet. (This has been a global phenomenon, worse in Europe than in the US, that could be dragging down many incumbents.) And governments’ chief inflation-fighting tool, high interest rates, may also be painful to many people, making it harder to get credit. Stock markets have stagnated or fallen since early 2022 (after many years of continuous upward expansion in the US). Some Americans could also see their incomes taking a hit due to the expiration of generous pandemic aid.”
“What can Biden tell the electorate about Trump that they do not already know? That he’s a serial liar? That he stands indicted in a series of criminal cases? That he commits business fraud the way others inhale and exhale? That he has spent a lifetime stiffing employees, contractors, lawyers? That he paid off a porn actress? That he recklessly mishandled sensitive government documents? All of this is a matter of public record, let alone the pesky detail of his desperate efforts to retain power by essentially overthrowing his own government.
Again, if The New York Times polling is correct, a plurality of American voters have absorbed all this and prefer him to the president. They have, as the financial world says, “priced” Trump’s behavior into their choice and as of now, have not considered the behavior disqualifying.
In some sense, this has been true for eight years, certainly in the Republican Party. The fact that four of the previous five GOP presidential nominees refused to endorse him in 2016 did not make a difference — Trump received a bigger share of Republican votes than Romney did. The fact that so many of Trump’s own key appointees — secretary of Defense, secretary of State, attorney general, national security adviser — all regard him as a threat to our political system has made no difference to Trump’s commanding lead for the GOP nomination.
So when a separate New York Times poll shows that a criminal conviction would significantly damage Trump, take that with a grain or a handful of salt. For eight years, he has survived conduct that would have swept a politician into oblivion.
It is true that the public’s judgment may turn as the prospect of a second Trump administration draws closer; it may be that the stories of what Trump plans for a second term — retribution against his political opponents, the obliteration of the guardrails that restrained his worst impulses, the staffing of a government with toadies who when asked to jump, will ask, “How high, sir?” — will change enough minds to give Biden (assuming he’s on the ballot) a second term.
It’s also true, however, that the task this unpopular president faces is a whole lot tougher than what the last successful incumbent presidents faced. And if a troubled incumbent can’t define an opponent effectively? Well, just ask Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford or George H.W. Bush what happened.”
“In a win for wild lands and wildlife, President Joe Biden recently moved to protect more than 10 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope from oil development. The action permanently bans drilling across large swaths of this region.”