Deadlines, dire predictions drive urgency for Biden agenda: The Note

The House is back briefly on Tuesday to vote to avoid a debt default.

October 12, 2021, 6:11 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The warning signs for the Biden agenda are coming in polls and focus groups, at gas pumps and airports, and of course in the extended intra-party fighting over what to do with slim Democratic majorities.

The House is back briefly on Tuesday to vote to avoid a debt default. But that's a quick dose of predictability and stability that masks uncertainties about the weeks ahead.

A staggering range of key dates are still driving lawmakers' conversations more than they can drive them. Those include legislative deadlines for deal-making and crisis-avoiding, plus an election in Virginia in three weeks that will go far toward setting midterm moods.

The result is urgency without a specific strategy for Democrats. Party leaders are united in thinking they need to act and knowing it won't be easy, though less so on how and whether things get better for their party on the other side of possible action.

"We don't get this done, then those numbers will not turn around," House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told Politico about Biden's lagging polls.

"It's going to be a roller coaster, and it's not going to be pleasant," Hillary Clinton said on ABC's "The View" Monday, in predicting wins ahead for Democrats.

As for President Joe Biden himself, he used a relatively quiet holiday Monday to express confidence that his both the infrastructure bill and the social-spending package will pass. "I've never been more optimistic about this country than I am right now," he tweeted.

If he meant it, it's a rather lonely assessment at the moment.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

Supporters of former president Donald Trump are expected to participate in a rally on the steps of the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday to call for a statewide "forensic audit" of an election that was certified nearly a year ago. The event serves as the latest example of how the former president's false assertion that the 2020 election was rife with fraud continues to reverberate among Republican voters and state-level officials.

Biden won Michigan by 2.8% compared to Trump's 0.3% lead in 2016, and amid the political fallout of the 2020 election, the secretary of state's office conducted 250 post-election audits across various counties and precincts which ultimately affirmed "the accuracy and integrity of Michigan's November 2020 election."

Although Michigan Capitol security officials are anticipating a higher attendance given Trump's recent public references to Tuesday's rally in Lansing, they are "not anticipating any problems or issues."

The battle over the state's election administration also extends to a separate GOP-backed effort to petition to revise state election practices -- including imposing stricter voter ID parameters. This pursuit by Republicans aims to circumvent an otherwise likely veto from Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer if a similar proposal originated in the state's legislative process.

Republicans will need to gather 340,047 voter signatures, according to state law, to bypass the governor's veto.

Although this effort does not appear to be related to Tuesday's rally, it adds to an existing sentiment of partisanship to the political environment of one of the nation's most pivotal midterm battlegrounds.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

Official campaign finance filings aren't due until late Thursday night, but the third quarter is already looking profitable for Senate candidates across the battleground.

Republican primaries are still very crowded in a number of Senate races, but as former President Donald Trump continues to dole out endorsements, the fundraising numbers will tell more about the impact of a Trump endorsement in the party.

In Pennsylvania, Republican Sean Parnell nabbed Trump's endorsement early on in the primary, and nearly doubled his quarterly numbers -- from just under $600,000 in the second quarter and over $1 million in the third quarter.

In Georgia, Trump's handpicked candidate Herschel Walker entered the race toward the end of the third quarter, but managed to start out strong with a $3.7 million haul for his first few weeks in the race. Trump's early endorsements in Senate races worried party leaders, but so far it appears that his endorsees aren't having trouble getting support from the base.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode begins with the latest COVID-19 headlines from preparing for Halloween safely this season to a potential antiviral pill treatment. ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton breaks it all down. Then, ABC News transportation correspondent Gio Benitez makes sense of Southwest Airlines' travel mess from the weekend. And, ABC News senior national correspondent Terry Moran reports on a string of labor fights across the country, including a dispute between John Deere and the United Auto Workers union.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Last week the Senate voted to temporarily raise the debt ceiling through early December, but the political conflict over a longer-term increase continues. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will not increase the debt limit again and Democrats say they won’t raise it on their own through budget reconciliation. Not raising the debt ceiling would have catastrophic economic consequences.


  • At 8:45 a.m. President Joe Biden meets virtually with other G20 leaders "to discuss close coordination on Afghanistan among the world's largest economies, select guests, and international financial institutions." He then receives the president's daily brief at 10:15 a.m.
  • Protests will continue taking place on Tuesday outside of the White House, urging President Biden to act on fossil fuels and climate change.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference at 11:30 a.m.
  • The House rules hybrid markup will take place at 1 p.m. on several bills, including the Senate Amendment to the House Amendment to S. 1301, the increase of Public Debt Limit.
  • Indigenous leaders and supporters who have been resisting the construction of the expanded Line 3 pipeline will deliver remarks at 1:30 p.m. outside the Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington asking the Biden Administration to stop the project.
  • The House reconvenes for a debt limit vote on the Senate measure at 3 p.m.
  • The Washington National Cathedral holds a ceremony for Elie Wiesel at 7 p.m., where a stone carving of the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate will be dedicated.
  • The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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