House Democrats push Biden to craft better midterm message

Still, White House aides acknowledge the pressure to revise their strategy. They have been frustrated with the little credit they have received for enacting major legislation such as the Covid Relief Bill or bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

“You tell them about the US bailout, and they say, ‘What the hell are you talking about? measure he signed a year ago that is a distant memory for most voters.

The president’s advisers cite the State of the Union address — which emphasized pragmatism rather than bold progressive goals — as a model for his message in the coming months and note that, according to their research, reducing drug costs was among the most popular proposals in the speech. .

They are also considering a handful of executive orders that would please their base, on issues such as forgiveness of some student loan debt, and are determined to enact legislation that lowers prescription drug costs, according to Democrats familiar with his plans. .

Some Democrats say they have been encouraged by signs that the White House, and in particular Ron Klain, the chief of staff, are now focused on inflation after initially arguing last year that the increase was transitory. In a recent meeting with a group of House Democrats, Klain resisted a demand to spend more federal dollars to help restaurants in part because it could be seen as adding to inflationary pressures, an official says. during a meeting.

Much to the relief of Democrats in Congress, the White House is dropping the “Build Back Better” slogan. The administration is also trying to blame Russian President Vladimir V. Putin for rising gas prices, hoping it will at least dilute Republican attacks on the issue.

Mr. Biden’s medium-term priorities are not set back from the war in Ukraine, the White House insists. Senior officials admit they regret their all-consuming focus on the pullout from Afghanistan last summer and, as one put it, they will not let the West Wing “become a bunker” to the expense of domestic politics.

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