Biden takes questions on ambitious agenda during CNN town hall in Baltimore

Asia's Tech News Daily

President Joe Biden is taking part in a CNN town hall from Baltimore Thursday evening and taking questions as Democrats are finalizing negotiations over key aspects of his legislative agenda.

© Heather Fulbright/CNN CNN’s Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 21.

During the town hall, moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Biden is expected to spend time pushing his ambitious proposal to expand the social safety net.

In advance of the town hall, the White House indicated it would be a key focus of the event, releasing a background memorandum on the impact the bipartisan infrastructure deal and Build Back Better Agenda would have on the state of Maryland.

Biden has taken the push for his Build Back Better agenda — comprised of a $1.5 trillion public works bill and the larger, still-under-negotiation spending plan — increasingly public. And behind closed doors, the President dedicated a major portion of the last week to meeting with moderate and progressive Democrats in an effort to come to consensus on a what will be included in the final package that looks to expand the social safety net, combat climate change and raise taxes on the wealthy.

Among the compromises so far: Democrats and the White House have indicated that the revised plan will drop tuition-free community college and the child tax credit will likely be extended for one additional year — much shorter than what many in the party had wanted.

Biden made clear to Democrats this week that his goal is to have a locked-in framework agreement that would clear the way for a House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before he arrives at the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow in less than two weeks.

The President on Wednesday indicated the was optimistic about reaching a deal, telling an audience in Scranton, Pennsylvania, “I think we’re going to surprise them.”

“Because I think people are beginning to figure out what is at stake,” he said.

The town hall comes as Biden faces a number of questions about his handling of the economy, the Covid-19 pandemic and global diplomacy.

The event also takes place less than two weeks before the November elections.

It’s an off year for many major contests, but the White House is still focused on some key races, including the Virginia governor’s race, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe is attempting to return to office.

Although Democrats have confidence in Congress’ ability to pass Biden’s legislative priorities in some form, the possibility for those bills to pass before the November elections — a would-be boon for Democratic candidates — dwindles as each day passes.

Biden and his allies also believe signing those bills, which are widely popular among the American public, into law could help bolster Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.

The live broadcast town hall event will air at 8 p.m. ET on CNN and last 90 minutes. A CNN spokesperson said an invitation-only audience will be present at the town hall and the network will follow all local and state Covid-19 guidance and regulations to ensure a safe event.

The event will stream live on CNN.com’s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android with a log-in to a cable provider. It can also be viewed on CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone, and iPad, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku and Samsung Smart TV). The special will also be available on demand to subscribers via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps.

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