Biden urges Democrats to avoid ‘red wave’: NPR

On Wednesday, President Biden delivers a speech on the midterm election results in the State Dining Room of the White House.

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Samuel Corum/Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Biden delivers a speech on the midterm election results in the State Dining Room of the White House.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden applauded Democrats for their better-than-expected performance in the midterm elections and for avoiding a “red wave”, but with Republicans poised to claim a narrow majority in the House, he said that he was ready to work across the aisle.

Speaking to reporters in the State Dining Room on Wednesday, Biden said he would invite congressional leaders from both parties to the White House after visiting the Middle East and Asia later this week.

“I’m ready to work with my fellow Republicans,” he said. “The American people have made it clear, I think, that my fellow Republicans are willing to work with me as well.”

The president also reiterated his intention to seek re-election, saying he will likely make the final decision early next year.

“Our intention is to run again … regardless of the outcome of this election,” Biden told reporters. He said he hoped to “sneak for a week around” the holiday with first lady Jill Biden and make an announcement after that.

Biden’s remarks follow a Democratic midterm performance that has so far defied history. Since World War II, the non-ruling party has typically won an average of 28 House seats and two Senate seats in a president’s first half terms. Democrats seem on track to challenge that precedent.

Although Democrats are expected to lose control of the House of Representatives, control of the Senate is still up in the air. Several key Senate races, including those in Nevada and Arizona, remain too close to call.

Asked if Democrats could keep the House, Biden said there was “a possibility,” but acknowledged it would be close.

“Here’s what we know: While the press and pundits are predicting[ed] a giant red wave, it didn’t happen,” he said.

Biden has said he will work with Republicans, but compromise may be difficult

The president said he was “ready to compromise with Republicans” on issues where it makes sense, but offered no details. He said he didn’t have “many opportunities” to speak with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who on Wednesday announced his candidacy to be the next Speaker of the House – but that he plans to speak to him “later today”.

Finding areas of compromise could prove difficult. If Republicans take the House, they should launch investigations into domestic violent extremism; the allegations against President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden; and the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s home where agents seized classified documents, which is the subject of an ongoing legal battle.

In response to a question about House Republicans’ plans to conduct investigations into both his administration and his family, Biden said, “Much luck in your senior year, as my coach said.”

“I think the American people want us to move on and do things for them,” Biden added.

The President signaled that there were several areas in which he would not compromise. “Under no circumstances,” he said, would he support proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security or any attempt to pass a federal ban on abortion.

Biden added that he would “ban assault weapons or try like the devil,” but he is unlikely to have enough congressional support to do so.

The economy will remain in the foreground

On the economy, Biden dismissed the idea that the economy was close to a recession.

“We’re not close to a recession right now,” he said. “I think we can have what most economists call a soft landing.”

But, he added, “I can’t guarantee that we can get rid of inflation.”

Asked what he would do differently after the midterms, when about three-quarters of Americans said the country was headed in the wrong direction, Biden replied, “Nothing.”

He said Americans were just beginning to learn and see the results of his policies so far.

Biden called the midterm elections a victory for democracy

The president began his remarks by celebrating the midterm as a “good day…for democracy.”

“Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” he said.

Biden said voters “have made their concerns clear” about rising costs.

“There are still a lot of people who are hurting. They are very worried – and it’s about crime and public safety,” he said. “And they sent a clear and unequivocal message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country.”

Biden noted there had been significant youth turnout in the election and said he called Florida Democrat Maxwell Frost on Tuesday night to congratulate him on his historic victory. Frost will be the first member of Gen Z elected to serve in Congress.

Biden said he’s optimistic about what’s to come in the next year of his administration and spoke of Democrats’ accomplishments so far, including passing the Cut Inflation Act and trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

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