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The looming strike at America’s Big Three automakers leaves President Joe Biden caught between two of his top policy goals — a greener car industry and a labor revival — with little sway over the outcome.
The United Auto Workers union says it’s ready to call stoppages if there’s no wage deal by tonight. Union demands and company offers remain far apart. All Biden can do is cajole both sides to avert a strike that could cost him politically. The president has “encouraged the parties to stay at the table,” his chief economist Jared Bernstein said yesterday.
An extended shutdown at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis risks triggering a recession in swing states like Michigan, and rekindling inflation for car prices.
Biden needs the auto giants on board for his green-energy transition, and he’s been showering them with federal cash. Yet his administration also touts its efforts to empower labor, and auto unions aren’t entirely sold on the EV plan. They’re worried it will lead to job cuts and lower pay — favoring non-union companies like Tesla and shifting output to southern states that restrict organized labor.
That’s left Biden with a tough juggling act. Unlike last year’s freight-rail dispute, he lacks legal authority to keep auto production going if the pay talks fail. The president has expressed support for key demands made by the UAW, one of the few major unions that has yet to endorse him in the 2024 election. Jordan Fabian has the full story.
Meanwhile, Biden is dismissing House Republicans’ move to open an impeachment inquiry, saying the GOP has long been looking for an excuse to bring charges against him.
“I tell you what, I don’t know quite why, but they just knew they wanted to impeach me,” Biden said last night in his first comments on the Republican probe, Jenny Leonard reports. “And now, best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government.”
Speaking to campaign donors at a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, Biden pointed to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) decision to file articles of impeachment against him right as the GOP took control of the House as evidence the move was preordained. The president said he would not let the impeachment process distract him, even as the GOP move threatens to overshadow work in both his administration and on Capitol Hill.
The inquiry will focus on the overseas business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, and whether the president was involved or benefited from those deals, as well as other potential issues, according to a House official. The White House has said Biden was not involved in Hunter’s business and Biden’s allies have said Republicans have not mustered evidence the president was involved in any corrupt dealings. Jenny Leonard has more of Biden’s response.
- Biden travels to Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland to speak about Bidenomics shortly before 3 p.m.
- Shortly after 6 p.m., the president takes part in a call with rabbis across the country to commemorate the Jewish High Holidays.
- The House is in at 10 a.m. to vote on a bill preventing a ban on ICE engines.
- Senators gather at 10 a.m. to vote on advancing a minibus spending package.
- For the full detailed agenda read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.
Happening on Capitol Hill
Lawmakers are ramping up their rhetoric and probes of federal workforce telework policies amid an increasing sense on Capitol Hill that federal agencies have lagged too far behind the private sector in having employees work mainly in person.
The Pentagon won’t yield to demands from Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to scrap its travel policy for service members seeking an abortion in exchange for lifting his blockade on more than 300 military promotions, a Defense Department spokesperson said Wednesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) are pressuring the FTC to take action against drugmakers for allegedly abusing the patent system to cut down competition and keep costs high, in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), a Trump-endorsed Republican who is among the lawmakers seeking to hike a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes, finds herself weighing the needs of the SALT Caucus that she co-leads with the wants of her colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee.
People, Power, and Politics
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it was unlikely Donald Trump could win the White House if he is convicted in his criminal trials, offering some of his most strident comments yet on the former president’s legal challenges.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), in the first major policy presentation of his presidential campaign, says he’d slash non-defense spending, champion a balanced budget amendment, and move many federal workers out of the Washington region.
- Scott is also pushing his party to make several changes to upcoming primary debates that could benefit candidates — like himself — who are polling well in early-voting states. Scott’s campaign manager Jennifer DeCasper asked that polls from early voting states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, be factored more heavily. Read more.
Household incomes fell in 17 states, mostly in the upper Midwest, according to Census Bureau data. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio — widely considered to be swing states — are among those with falling household incomes.
What Else We’re Reading
Homeland Security Department regulations shielding hundreds of thousands of immigrant dreamers from deportation are unlawful, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled yesterday.
As much as $100 million to repair and replace broken electric vehicles charging infrastructure will be available as part of a Federal Highway Administration program. Administrator Shailen Bhatt said in an interview the agency wants to make Americans more confident there are enough chargers on the road to support the shift to EVs.
The US and Iran are set to exchange prisoners as early as Monday under an agreement that’s seen as a first step toward fresh talks to reimpose limits on the country’s nuclear program, according to people familiar with the matter.