A week before a potential government shutdown, President Biden emphasized the severe consequences if Republicans in Congress do not take appropriate measures.
“If the government comes to a halt, this means our military personnel and Congress members would have to execute their duties without pay,” President Biden commented during a dinner organized by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in Washington on Saturday evening. “The repercussions of a shutdown can range from jeopardizing food safety and cancer research to impacting programs like Head Start for kids.”
Biden stressed that ensuring government funds are available is among Congress’s fundamental duties and attributed the crisis to “hardline Republicans” for not keeping up with a previous agreement on the debt ceiling, which set federal spending limits. In the meantime, the Republican representatives are devising strategies.
They are set to propose a series of funding bills this week, aiming to rally support for an interim measure to maintain the government’s operations. “This is our roadmap,” stated House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this Saturday. “We aim to secure an additional 45 days to finalize our other tasks.”
During the CBC’s Phoenix Awards dinner, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris ardently advocated for their 2024 reelection bid. A recent poll by CBS News portrayed Biden slightly behind former President Donald Trump in a possible face-off. A significant section of the polled voters expressed doubts regarding Biden, now 80, completing another term.
Addressing concerns about his age, Biden remarked on Saturday, “I understand the reservations, truly. However, I took charge when our nation was grappling with challenges. I spearheaded efforts to immunize the nation and rejuvenate the economy.”
The CBC’s annual legislative meet, now in its 52nd year, centered on “Strengthening Our Democracy, Safeguarding Our Liberties, and Elevating Our Culture.”
Stacey Plaskett, the conference co-chair, highlighted the ongoing challenges in maintaining the nation’s democratic values and freedoms, referencing recent events like book bans and shifts in diversity and inclusion programs.
The conference started with a national town hall focusing on voting rights, redistricting, and democracy. Notable figures like Plaskett, CBC Chair Steven Horsford, CBC Foundation President Nicole Austin-Hillery, and entertainers like Sean “Diddy” Combs participated.
Founded in 1971 by 13 Black legislators, the CBC’s annual legislative conference stands as the nation’s premier assembly of African Americans, and the CBC itself is often deemed the “moral compass of the Congress.”