Biden Says Senate Victory Gives Him ‘Stronger’ Hand With Xi
Biden said he goes into an intense meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday with a stronger hand.
(Bloomberg) -- US President Joe Biden said he’ll enter an intense meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday with a stronger hand, after US voters returned control of the Senate to his party with the re-election of Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto.
“I know I’m coming in stronger,” Biden said of the Xi meeting as he celebrated the victory in Cambodia, where he’s attending a summit with Asian leaders.
The two men will meet in-person for the first time in Biden’s presidency on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. The relationship between the world’s biggest economies has deteriorated since Biden took office over economic competition, human rights issues and rising tensions between China and Taiwan.
“I know Xi Jinping, he knows me,” Biden said. “We have very little misunderstanding. We’ve just got to figure out what the red lines are.”
Biden applauded voter turnout in the midterm elections and told reporters that the Democratic wins are “a reflection of the quality of our candidates.” He called Cortez Masto and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from Cambodia to extend his congratulations.
Cortez Masto beat Republican Adam Laxalt by less than one percentage point, and Laxalt is expected to challenge the result.
Assuming her victory stands, Biden will have an easier time winning confirmation for his nominees to the federal court system, including the Supreme Court, and should have less trouble placing his choices in positions at agencies throughout the government. In his first two years, Biden got 84 federal judges confirmed, including one Supreme Court justice.
Unless Democrats also keep control of the House, however, the president is unlikely to chalk up any major legislative breakthroughs before he stands for re-election in 2024.
Yet with his allies running the Senate, Biden won’t need to worry about using his veto pen to stop Republican attempts to ban abortion, block his regulations or gut climate and health measures he’s already signed into law. And GOP efforts to cut taxes or federal spending will be subject to negotiation with Senate Democrats and the White House.
Control of the House remains undecided, with roughly 20 seats still too close to call. Republicans need seven more victories to secure a majority. Biden said it’s still “a stretch” for his party to retain House control.
The Democratic performance defied expectations before the election that voters would hand control of at least one chamber of Congress by a wide margin in a rebuke to the incumbent president and his policies. Instead, the election has been far closer, with voters rejecting scores of candidates backed by Donald Trump in competitive races, including Laxalt, a rejection of the former president.
“The Republican Party,” Biden said, “is going to have to decide who they are.”
Biden’s party remained within reach of retaining the House after an upset victory late Saturday in Washington. Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was projected to have defeated Republican Joe Kent, a conservative ex-Green Beret who was endorsed by Trump and had questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 election.
The final composition of the Senate remains undecided. Voters in Georgia will return to the polls next month for a runoff election. If incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, retains his seat, Democrats would hold a 51-49 advantage.
Biden said that with 51 senators, Democrats would have majorities in Senate committees responsible for clearing nominations -- meaning the party would likely not be forced to spend precious floor time on procedural votes to advance candidates.
“It’s simply better,” he said. “The bigger the number the better.”
(Updates with additional Biden remarks beginning in fourth paragraph)
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