https://ift.tt/1QGxKZK the eve of his first anniversary in office, U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a news conference at the White House Wednesday with two key parts of his agenda stalled in Congress and the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc at home and abroad.
President Biden’s first news conference of 2022 comes as his standing in voter opinion surveys has steadily fallen since the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan last September. His average approval ratings have been stuck just above 40%, with a poll released last week by Quinnipiac University giving him a dismal 33% approval rating.
The president’s low approval ratings have been aggravated by perception of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which is heading into its third year despite the administration’s intense vaccination campaign. Public health experts have criticized the administration for failing to anticipate the emergence of the delta and omicron variants of the coronavirus, as well as failing to increase COVID-19 testing capacity, including making rapid testing kits available for all Americans.
Although Biden managed to steer a massive $1 trillion package to shore up the nation’s crumbling infrastructure through Congress, his attempts to secure final passage of his $1.8 trillion “Build Back Better” social safety net and climate change package in the U.S. Senate has been opposed by a member of his own Democratic party, moderate Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who holds a critical vote in the evenly-divided Senate.
Reuters is reporting the White House is preparing a new stripped down version of Build Back Better that may cut some items such as the child tax credit and paid family leave in order to gain Manchin’s support.
Manchin and another moderate Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are also blocking Senate passage of two voting rights bills supported by Biden, because of their opposition to changing the long-standing Senate rule that requires 60 members of the 100-member body to vote to advance the bills to a final vote.
Wednesday’s news conference is just the 10th of Biden’s presidency, far less than his most recent predecessors going back to George H.W. Bush, according to data compiled by the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.
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