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The Memo: Supreme Court, Sinema deliver twin blows to Biden | TheHill

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Niall Stanage


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Sinema added a pinch of drama to the announcement by delivering it in a Senate floor speech right before Biden was due to make his case to Democrats on Capitol Hill.Together, the two setbacks create yet more trouble for a president who has had his standing sapped by inflation, which hit a 40-year high in December; by the exponential rise in COVID cases driven by the omicron variant; and by the fading chances of passing the Build Back Better bill that he had hoped would cap his legislative achievements.The White House sought to play a bad hand as best it could on Thursday, with press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiPsaki: Why is GOP afraid of presidential debates? She pointed to the huge number of people — around 200 million — vaccinated since Biden took office, strong employment growth totaling around six million new jobs, and a foreign policy Psaki characterized as having “rebuilt our alliances.”The press secretary sounded a more mordant note, however, in outlining the difficulties that Biden faces, given the thinness of Democrats’ congressional majorities.Psaki said that the administration was focused on achieving big things rather than winning votes on “bunny rabbits and ice cream.” Insisting that the administration would keep trying to “push the boulder up the hill,” she acknowledged “we also recognize when you have a small margin and threshold in the Senate, it’s very hard to get things done.”The tone of her remarks was notable, exemplifying a White House that has increasingly focused on what has already been done rather than promising more to come.That may be pragmatic, but it is also a striking posture from an administration that is not yet a year old.

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