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5 things to watch during CNN town hall with Joe Biden

CNN will hold a town hall with President Joe Biden at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will be broadcast live on CNN, CNN International and CNN Español, broadcast on and CNNgo, and available on demand to subscribers via the cable / satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile applications.

At 8 p.m. ET, Biden will take the stage at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati with moderator Don Lemon for an hour-long event that is expected to address a wide range of issues, checking out how he’s been doing for the past six months. . and what’s next.

The Covid-19 cloud still hangs over the President, who has followed him since his election campaign. The evolving state of the pandemic will likely be a priority during CNN’s mayoralty.

The event comes a day after the White House acknowledged that there had been outbreaks of Covid-19 among White House staff members in addition to a fully vaccinated official who reported Tuesday that CNN had tested positive for the virus. It also comes after several vaccinated Texas Democratic lawmakers who met with Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for the virus. The vice president tested negative.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 now accounts for more than 80% of samples sequenced in the United States.

The White House has encountered obstacles in figuring out how to successfully resolve vaccine reluctance among the U.S. population and has warned that the current pandemic is one of the unvaccinated, which constitutes the majority of Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths .

Now, the administration also faces the question of whether to bring back more preventive measures, whether Americans will need a Covid-19 booster vaccine, and when international travel will resume.

Biden’s infrastructure and legislative agenda

After taking advantage of the passage of the US bailout in March, Biden’s White House has since focused on infrastructure as its top legislative priority.

During the president’s trip to the battlefield state of Ohio on Wednesday, Biden will likely attempt to defend his infrastructure program – much like he’s done in other key states and the Midwest lately. month, touting his so-called “Blue Collar Blue Collar Master Plan for America.”

Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Wednesday to start debate on a bipartisan infrastructure plan. But lawmakers have said their negotiations will intensify over the next few days with the aim of trying again to push the measure forward by early next week.

The White House had said it was backing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of Wednesday’s vote. But Republicans have said the New York Democrat would not have the votes if he goes ahead.

Democrats, meanwhile, are well advanced in planning their own infrastructure proposal as part of the reconciliation process.

The White House said the only disagreement between the bipartisan group is the payment, as discussions on this are ongoing. But keep in mind that disagreements over funding government spending are the reason all other infrastructure negotiations over the past decade have collapsed.

The economy

The United States’ economic recovery from the pandemic continues, but it is not yet at pre-pandemic levels – marking a major challenge the president will likely face Wednesday night.

Expect him to make a similar argument to the one he made in a speech at the White House on Monday, when he tackled inflation issues directly and touted six months of economic growth under his administration.

Biden argued that the recent price increases are temporary. He also said this week that no serious economist is suggesting that there is runaway inflation.

But economic concerns about the Delta variant and inflation are worrisome investors.

Last Monday was the worst day for the Dow Jones since falling 943 points in late October, and it was the biggest drop this year. However, the markets have since recovered.

And even though the economy recovered sharply after falling into a hole in the spring of 2020, it still has not returned to what it was before when the pandemic first hit the United States.
For example: Employers created 850,000 jobs in June, more than economists expected. But the U.S. economy is still down 6.9 million jobs from February 2020, and the unemployment rate edged up to 5.9% from 5.8% in May.

Cyber ​​security

Since Biden took office, cyber attacks have had a huge impact on large corporations and harmed international supply chains, affecting everything from a meat supplier to a computer software supplier to an American pipeline. .

These hacks had real consequences for ordinary Americans. Many have observed an increase in the cost of the affected assets or discovered that their private information is compromised. And on Wednesday, the president could be asked what his administration will do to prevent these attacks from happening in the future.

In recent months, the White House Biden has urged Russia to take action to prevent criminal actors in the country from engaging in cyber attacks. But on Monday, the United States also launched a new offensive against China, joining a coalition of international allies to accuse China of using “criminal contract hackers” to carry out malicious activity around the world, including via a massive hack into Microsoft’s messaging system.

The White House has stopped penalizing Beijing with diplomatic sanctions or expulsions, in stark contrast to how the administration has responded to similar malicious behavior by Russia in recent months.
Now, the Biden administration is debating internally whether and how to impose sanctions on China for its misdeeds in cyberspace, according to people familiar with the matter.

The withdrawal from Afghanistan and foreign policy

Biden announced earlier this month that the military withdrawal from Afghanistan would be completed by the end of August.

But US intelligence, military commanders and members of Congress are all warning that the Afghan government cannot stand up to the Taliban without the support of US firepower. The Taliban are already moving quickly to take control of districts in northern Afghanistan, leading US military commanders to raise the prospect of civil war once US troops leave.

The president and his administration have continued to defend the pace of the US withdrawal from the US longest war. But the decision to leave the country has become a pressure point as Afghans face the increasingly likely risk that the Taliban will overwhelm the current government and regain control of the country.

Biden can be asked about the status of the withdrawal. He may also be faced with questions about long-standing and emerging foreign policy challenges, such as issues related to China and Russia, international vaccine-sharing efforts, and ongoing dissent in Cuba and Haiti. .

CNN’s Lauren Fox, Betsy Klein, Anneken Tappe, Paul R. La Monica, Natasha Bertrand, Kevin Liptak, Jason Hoffman, Brian Fung, Alex Rogers and Manu Raju contributed to this report.


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