Joe Biden touts economic agenda after State of the Union; GOP launches probes: live updates

  • In Politics
  • 2023-02-08 12:52:38Z

President Biden's combative State of the Union address Tuesday night signaled more than a new year: It welcomed a different presidency.

Biden's first two years in office were marked by passage of far-reaching legislation. But during his second two years in office, even the most basic acts of governing seem harder to achieve.

Ahead in Chapter Two: less legislation and more investigation by Congress. More defense and less offense by the White House. And an expected reelection bid that starts with Biden's dismal approval rating and little public confidence in his ability to lead.

Here's what else is happening in politics:

  • Biden hones in on working-class messaging as he prepares for a 2024 bid.

  • The Biden administration hits the road: Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to hold events in at least 20 states to highlight Biden's agenda.

  • GOP-led Biden investigations begin: The House Oversight Committee is slated to question former Twitter executives about media coverage of Hunter Biden's laptop.

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Biden focuses on working-class message as he prepares for 2024 bid

The country is at an inflection point, as President Joe Biden likes to say. So, too, is Biden's presidency, as he prepares to compete for a second term in office.

Biden's descriptions of how infrastructure investments will benefit middle class families are not resonating with blue-collar workers - particularly white voters who didn't attend college. Many defected from the Democratic Party over the last decade and offered Biden lukewarm support in the last presidential election.

Ahead of an expected re-election announcement in the coming weeks, Biden is making a concerted effort to bring working-class Americans back into the fold. His first stop on his post-State of the Union tour will be at a union-run apprenticeship and training facility in Wisconsin, a state that epitomizes the challenges that Democrats face in the 2024 election with independents and workers who have been hard hit by the decline in American manufacturing.

- Francesca Chambers and Joey Garrison

'Four more years': Biden hints at 2024 as he rallies Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia

Comer: Twitter able to 'suppress and delegitimize' news about Hunter Biden's laptop

Rep. James Comer plans to open his hearing on Twitter's suppression of news about Hunter Biden's laptop by accusing the social media platform of making censorship decisions on the fly in the past and working hand-in-hand with the FBI to monitor communications.

Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, is expected to say the FBI advised senior Twitter officials to question the validity of any Hunter Biden story as potential Russian disinformation. But Comer, R-Ky., said the result was to "suppress and delegitimize" information about alleged Biden family business schemes.

"Twitter, under the leadership of our witnesses today, was a private company the federal government used to accomplish what it constitutionally cannot: limit the free exercise of speech," Comer is expected to say in opening remarks. "It worked hand-in-hand with the FBI to monitor the protected speech of Americans-receiving millions of dollars to do so."

- Bart Jansen

Biden traveling to Wisconsin and Florida after speech

Biden administration officials will hit the road this week, holding events in at least 20 states to highlight parts of the president's message.

Biden himself will talk about his economic agenda in Wisconsin Wednesday and will discuss Social Security and Medicare in Florida Thursday.

Vice President Kamala Harris is heading to Georgia and Minnesota. Multiple other Cabinet members are also fanning out across the country.

- Maureen Groppe

'We're turning it around': Biden says Democrats must pay attention to working class voters

House panel to quiz former Twitter executives about coverage of Hunter Biden's laptop

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee is scheduled to hear Wednesday from three former Twitter executives about the suppression of news about Hunter Biden's laptop, the first salvo in an inquiry into his potential influence on his father, President Joe Biden.

Twitter initially blocked distribution of New York Post stories about the laptop in October 2020, weeks before the election, in a decision the former CEO called "unacceptable." The committee chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., wants to talk to Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety; Vijaya Gadde, former chief legal officer; and James Baker, former general counsel, about the incident.

But Joe Biden has denied getting involved with his son's business deals in Ukraine or China, or profiting from them. Hunter Biden's lawyers called for a criminal investigation of the distribution of the laptop's contents. And Democrats blasted the inquiry as "hyper-partisan" conspiracy theories that have been debunked.

- Bart Jansen

Sanders: Biden has 'failed' American people; calls for 'new generation'

Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, at age 40 the youngest governor in the country, didn't hesitate to point out that 80-year-old Joe Biden is the oldest president in history - and added that it is time for a "new generation" of Republican leadership.

"Biden and the Democrats have failed you," Sanders said in the formal GOP response to Biden's State of the Union address. "It's time for a change."

Speaking from the governor's mansion in Little Rock, Ark., Sanders cited domestic issues like inflation, immigration, and crime. Also criticizing the president's foreign policy, Sanders said Biden is "unfit" to be Commander-in-Chief.

Citing the Republican majority in the House, Sanders said: "We will hold the Biden administration accountable."

- David Jackson

More: In Republican response to Biden's State of the Union, a vow to block the president's agenda

House Intel chairman: China's spy balloon went to other sensitive missile and nuclear weapons sites

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said China's surveillance balloon maneuvered over sensitive U.S. military sites in addition to the ones in Montana that it passed over before being shot down off the South Carolina coast Saturday.

"If you take the path that this balloon did, and you put up an X every place where you have a missile defense site, actual nuclear weapons infrastructure, you're going to follow this path," Turner said in a briefing with reporters. "So I think the natural conclusion is it is intelligence gathering with respect to try to affect in some way the command and control of our missile defense and nuclear weapons."

Turner did not elaborate on that or share other details about the ongoing investigation into China's balloon, in some cases citing the classified nature of the information. But he said the U.S. intelligence community is scheduled to brief him and other members of congressional leadership who comprise the Gang of Eight later this week on the balloon and efforts to gain any intelligence from the recovery of it.

- Josh Meyer

More: DOD did not think the spy balloon was a military threat when it was first detected

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GOP launches probe as Biden touts economic agenda: live updates


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