Winter challenges looming for Biden’s White House

President BidenJoe Biden Nicaragua Ortega Prepares to Win Election Amid International Criticism Representative Gosar Releases Anime Video Showing Him Hitting Biden, Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Energy & Environment – Presented By ExxonMobil – Activists Cry Over COP26 Draft MORE faces a challenging winter.

Supply chain bottlenecks caused by increased demand threaten to delay Christmas gifts.

Businesses face a labor shortage, which is likely to create inconvenience for Americans traveling during the Christmas season.

Rising gasoline prices will add to those headaches, and now administration officials are warning that heating homes will cost more this year, too.

And as it gets colder, internal meetings could lead to more coronavirus cases, which have started to stabilize after weeks in which they have subsided.

It all adds up to a difficult winter and potentially troublesome Christmas season for President Biden, who has already seen his approval numbers drop amid a challenging few months for his administration. Fears that Biden’s party could lose the House and Senate in next year’s midterm elections are also mounting after a disappointing performance in last week’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

“It’s pretty bleak,” said a Democratic strategist who spoke to The Hill. “I don’t think people realize where we are as a party right now.”

Biden closed last week with good news. A positive employment report got off to a good start on Friday, and the House finally passed a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill by the end of the day, which is a key part of the president’s agenda.

But the White House and Democrats have struggled to sell their achievements, raising concerns within the party.

“The White House needs to figure out how to effectively communicate what it is trying to do or people will lose faith,” said the pessimistic strategist.

Recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

A USA TODAY / Suffolk University poll conducted last week before the passage of the infrastructure bill found that only 38 percent of registered voters approve of Biden’s job as president and 46 percent believe he has served. worse as president than they expected.

In good news for Biden, the same poll found that more than 60 percent approve of the infrastructure bill.

White House Chief of Staff Ron KlainRon Klain White House: Moving Forward Despite Court Freeze The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By Facebook – Did Democrats Misunderstand Voters’ Call for 2020 Change? White House Chief of Staff: ‘It has been a tough and difficult year’ MORE He acknowledged when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday about Biden’s low poll numbers that it has been a “tough and difficult year” and that Americans have been frustrated with the pace of recovery from the pandemic. .

At the same time, he noted that job creation has recovered substantially under Biden compared to the Trump administration, and that coronavirus deaths have dropped dramatically.

“I understand that voters are tired, Americans are tired, how long does it take for the economy to move, for COVID to be under control,” Klain said. “But I think what the American people are going to see is that we have put in place the strategies, the actions to change that.”

Strategists say the White House needs to turn the corner to convince voters that it is taking action at the center of their lives.

“I certainly think that the lack of participation in kitchen table issues like gas prices and supply chain issues, including education, caused Democrats to lose some important elections and potentially suffer an erosion of government. support in the suburbs, “said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist and director of Hunter College’s public policy program.

He suggested that the infrastructure bill presents an opportunity.

“I think there is time to turn that around. Democrats should be able to link the benefits of the infrastructure bill with respect to jobs, broadband, to how this will affect the daily lives of voters, ”he said.

Biden suggested in a speech Saturday that the infrastructure bill would ultimately help ease supply chain bottlenecks by allowing companies to get products to market more quickly. He also said the public would begin to feel the impacts of the bill “within the next two to three months” as people are hired to work on the new projects it finances. However, it is unclear how long it will take for the infrastructure bill to have any impact on supply chains.

Secretary of Transportation Pete buttigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg Says Administration Will Keep Fighting For Family Leave 12:30 PM Report From The Hill: Democrats Awaiting CBO Score For Social Spending Bill Watch Live: White House Spokesperson Reports reporters MORE told reporters Monday that the bill would ultimately help ports operate more efficiently, but also emphasized that ending the coronavirus pandemic would be key to solving supply bottlenecks.

“The best way to end a pandemic-related shortage is to end a pandemic, and that is why the vaccine momentum is so important,” Buttigieg said.

In the short term, the Biden administration insists officials are also closely monitoring the impacts of inflation, such as rising oil and gas prices.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer granholmJennifer Granholm The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By Facebook – Did Democrats Misunderstand Voters’ Call for 2020 Change? Granholm Says Biden “ is looking ” to tap into strategic reserve as fuel prices climb Sunday shows: Biden officials look at social spending package after infrastructure approval MORE acknowledged Sunday on CNN that Americans will see higher heating bills next winter. He also said that Biden is considering leveraging the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address rising fuel prices, suggesting a decision could be made as soon as Tuesday after a new Department of Energy projection is released on gasoline prices.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and we will have various tools in our arsenal,” the White House Chief Undersecretary said. Karine Jean-PierreKarine Jean-Pierre Overnight Health Care – Presented by Rare Access Action Project – White House Unaffected by On The Money Mandate Ruling – White House Delves into Vaccine Mandate Republican Says Republican Party Should Block government funding on vaccine mandates MORE he told reporters on Monday, declining to elaborate on other steps that are being considered.

Last month, the White House announced that major West Coast ports and other carriers and retailers would move to 24-hour daily operations. Biden also called a meeting at the Group of 20 summit last week to discuss how the international community can reduce disruptions, announcing new funding to ease bottlenecks in Mexico and Central America.

While the White House will not overcome the challenges it faces overnight, some predict that there will be clear progress in the coming months due to the administration’s agenda.

“Since we’re Democrats, obviously many people’s vacation plans already include bed-wetting while ‘A Long December’ gets underway,” joked Democratic strategist Eddie Vale.

“Schools are open, children are getting their shots, commercial mandates are working, and polls show that people are starting to believe again that we can overcome the pandemic,” he said.

“So everything is going to be pink during the winter? No. But a few more months of COVID going down and the economy going up will make spring and summer very different, ”Vale said.

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