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Biden to talk abortion the heart of DC’s Black community
The president is expected to attack Republicans as extremists obsessed with the bodies of people who can get pregnant.
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1. What to expect from Biden’s Howard Theatre speech today
Election Day is exactly three weeks away and House Republican leaders think they’re on a glide path to the majority as fresh polling indicates that the issues voters are most concerned are the issues on which GOP candidates and incumbents feel their message is the strongest.
Democrats get they’re facing headwinds but are optimistic they’ll perform better than the polls suggest. Their strategy is to aggressively contrast themselves as the leaders who will restore access to reproductive health care, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, take action on gun violence and protect the country’s fragile democracy.
President Joe Biden will be at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC later this afternoon to speak about abortion rights. The president is a devout catholic and for years didn’t even mention the word abortion in public, preferring the euphemistic “right to choose” instead.
But after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, Biden saw an opportunity to frame the issue within the context of a broader assault on the right to privacy. Biden has warned that today it may be abortion restrictions, but tomorrow the Republican Party will look to repeal marriage equality and the right to birth control, Biden has warned.
The president during his speech is expected to talk about the national bans Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have proposed as an effort to move the country back. He’ll paint GOP politicians as obsessed with the bodies of people who can get pregnant and speak to the unintended consequences of the statewide laws that went into effect after Roe was overturned, including women facing challenges receiving treatment for unrelated medical conditions like arthritis.
It’s worth noting that the venue the White House selected for the speech is located in the heart of DC’s Black community. Black people who can get pregnant are often the ones who are most damaged by abortion restrictions. And in an election that will be won by the party that best energizes their base, Democrats will need Black voters to turn out if they stand any chance to defy expectations. The speech is an acknowledgment of both of these factors.
2. VP speaks on abortion rights in LA
The president spent late last week on a three-state west-coast swing and Vice President Kamala Harris is picking up where he left off.
She spoke on Monday afternoon about abortion rights during a conversation with Democratic Rep. Karen Bass and Celinda Vázquez, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and highlighted the administration’s work to preserve access to reproductive health care.
“We’re going to have to protect these rights by having national legislation,” she said while reiterating the need for a House majority and two additional Senate seats to restore Roe v. Wade in the next Congress. “We need to have people in Congress to recognize that responsibility.”
Harris has been the face of the administration’s fight for abortion rights. The conversation in LA followed recent trips to Connecticut and Texas to participate in conversations with reproductive rights leaders. And since May, she has held more than 20 convenings and met with 180+ state legislators from 18 states to discuss protecting reproductive rights, according to her office. Harris has also convened health care providers, constitutional law experts, faith leaders, state attorneys general, disability rights leaders, higher education leaders, students and advocates.
3. Biden to release more oil from the US reserves
After prices at the pump fell almost 100 straight days this summer, a gallon of gas is about 20 cents more this morning than it was a month ago and about 55 cents higher than this time last year.
The Biden administration is expected to release another 10 to 15 million oil barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the United States Department of Energy, to balance markets and keep gas prices from climbing.
The White House is expected to also share plans to replenish the SPR soon.
The administration is also still considering limits on fuel exports to keep more gas and diesel inside the US but a timeline hasn’t been set for a decision and likely won’t happen before the midterms.
The actions follow the largest-ever release of oil from the SPR, which has put an average of one million additional barrels on the market per day since earlier this year to combat the global volatility in the energy markets caused by the war in Ukraine.
Jennifer Jacobs, Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter of Bloomberg first reported the administration’s plans.
4. 8M borrowers applied for student loan debt relief last weekend
President Biden during an afternoon speech in the South Court Auditorium officially launched the application for eligible borrowers to receive up to $20,000 in student debt relief under a plan he announced in August.
The application was in beta over the weekend to test the application and the White House said the portal successfully handled over eight million applications.
President Biden said his administration’s legal judgment was that the litigation underway to block the program could interrupt the application process. was asked if he was concerned that litigation could get in the way of this program. And Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said his department is working on pathways to support people who have privately held loans and are no longer eligible for this forgiveness.
“We’re moving as quickly as possible to provide relief to as many people as possible.”
5. GA early voting keeps pace with 2018 on day one
135,593 combined absentee and in-person ballots were accepted on the first day of early voting in Georgia, a state that could determine which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.
This number is on pace with the 135,662 ballots cast on day one in 2018.
Here’s the breakdown by race:
White: 67,259 (49.6 percent)
Black: 52,259 (38.5 percent)
Hispanic: 1,876 (1.4 percent)
Asian: 1,709 (1.3 percent)
Other: 12,490 (9.2 percent)
6. Fetterman gets a vote of confidence from the WH
President Biden on Thursday will visit Philadelphia to campaign with Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman, who represents one of the Democratic Party’s plum opportunities to pick up a seat, was in the news last week after an NBC News reporter emphasized the candidate’s reliance on closed captioning during an in-person interview with the network. (Fetterman is recovering from a stroke he suffered earlier this year.)
And he received a vote of confidence from the White House ahead of the president’s trip.
“The president has found [Fetterman] to be an impressive individual who’s just as capable as always [of] carrying out his office,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday. “He’s currently the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, as we know, and he’s doing that with great ability and heartfelt concern for the people of the Commonwealth. So, yes, the president feels that he is very much capable of doing the job.”
The Fetterman campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
7. WH defends Biden’s weekend trips home
President Biden this weekend is scheduled to travel to his vacation home in Delaware, which raised questions on Monday from the White House press corps about why the president won’t be out campaigning ahead of what he’s described as one of the most significant midterm elections in recent memory.
Jean-Pierre defended the president’s schedule and said that Biden is coming off visits last week to Colorado, California and Oregon. The week before he was in Puerto Rico and Florida to survey the damage from recent hurricanes and is scheduled to go to Pennsylvania this week and to Florida next.
“The president takes what he has done in this time during his presidency, his tenure […] very seriously and wants to talk about what he has done, what congressional Democrats have done for the American people.”
Biden has made 55 visits to Delaware, totaling some or all of 74 days as of Sunday, according to a CNN analysis of presidential schedules and a tally kept by Mark Knoller, who has kept stats on the presidents' daily activities in 1996, Kate Bennett reports. Additionally, Biden has made 19 visits, or all or part of 64 days, to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
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TODAY IN POLITICS
President Biden this afternoon will speak about abortion rights at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.
Vice President Harris this morning will travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a moderated discussion on climate action with Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, the hosts of the climate podcast “A Matter of Degrees.” Harris will then speak at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser before traveling back to Washington, DC this evening.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will participate in a reception for Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. He will also participate in a roundtable on voting rights and join Democratic Colorado Rep. Yadira Caraveo for a grassroots volunteer event followed by another reception for Griswold.
The House and Senate are out.
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