Breaking news on politics — the latest political headlines from around the world.
Joe Biden says he’s confident the debt ceiling deal he negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will pass despite backlash from progressive Democrats and hard line Republicans.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial is preparing to begin in August.
President Joe Biden’s reelection bid
After a dizzying rollercoaster of ups and downs for President Biden in his first two years, the president’s 2024 reelection campaign is off and running. The former vice president is trying to capitalize on the momentum generated by his party’s resounding midterm win, arguing that his record and leadership are needed to guide the nation through uncertain economic crosscurrents.
But voters’ skepticism about the economy may undermine his argument that Biden is needed to finish the job, and some Democrats worry that his age could be an issue. A slew of polls this year have shown that independent voters, who helped Democrats defeat Trump in 2020, are skeptical about whether the 78-year-old can lead the country into the future.
Aides acknowledge that some Democrats want an alternative to Biden, but say the field for candidates has yet to take shape. The only Democrats who have announced candidacies so far are self-help author Marianne Williamson and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., both of whom are seen as long shots.
As the campaign gets underway, Biden is aiming to maintain his advantage of incumbency and rely on his deep bench of advisers. Last weekend, he hosted donors at a retreat in Washington that featured presentations from senior White House officials who said they were limited by ethics rules on what they could say about the campaign.
The Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a deal Saturday to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for caps on future spending, averting a potentially catastrophic default and economic turmoil. The agreement, which was drafted into legislative text and posted on a congressional website, keeps the debt ceiling at its current level for two years while limiting future increases to 1%.
The compromise also includes new rules that would make it easier for energy projects, including fossil-fuel based ones, to win permits, a key issue for Republicans. The bill also halts funds to hire additional Internal Revenue Service agents, another GOP priority. But it does keep funds for coronavirus relief and a program to forgive student loan debt for millions of Americans.
In addition, the compromise satisfies Republican demands to put more work requirements on recipients of food stamps and other government aid programs. The White House negotiated waivers for veterans and homeless people, but a more rigorous requirement that could require those ages 49 to 54 to work if they receive benefits remains in place.
Negotiators are racing to finish the bill ahead of a June 5 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, when she warned that the US could run out of money to pay its bills. The bill faces an uncertain outlook in Congress, where progressive Democrats and hard-line Republicans have criticized components of it.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential run
DeSantis’ decision to announce his campaign Wednesday in a live chat on Twitter Space with Elon Musk, the billionaire technology entrepreneur who has become something of a conservative cult figure, backfired. The chat’s audio crashed repeatedly, making it impossible for most viewers to hear DeSantis speak.
The 44-year-old Florida Republican is the latest candidate to join the race to unseat President Trump. He has framed himself as a conservative champion who could reinvigorate the GOP in the face of Trump’s tumultuous presidency. DeSantis’ no-nonsense style and focus on social issues like immigration have captured the attention of GOP voters.
His aides have spent months putting the pieces in place for his presidential run, including setting up fundraising operations and hiring staff members. But they’ve had to fend off a smear campaign from Democratic leaders who have attacked his stewardship of the state, and DeSantis is still grappling with a reputation for being more interested in the culture wars than in tackling national problems.
If he makes it to the White House, DeSantis will face a formidable challenge. In addition to a well-funded field of Republican contenders, he will have to win over conservatives who say that he is too close to Trump. DeSantis has been working to reframe his image by attacking the former president over issues such as Covid-19 and immigration.
Russia’s Interior Ministry issues an arrest warrant for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham
In a sign of deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations, Russia’s Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for the American senator and called on him to return to the country to face charges of espionage. The ministry said Graham had spied on Russia’s government and military and sought to interfere with its elections and other internal affairs.
The ministry said it had been conducting a criminal investigation into the case and that it had consulted with the FBI and other agencies about Graham’s status in the United States. It said if the senator returns to Ukraine and refuses to face justice in a Russian court, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Russian authorities reportedly used excessive force and harsh tactics to encircle and detain people during protests in late January and February calling for the release of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny (see section 1.d.). Prison officials reportedly subjected Navalny to hourly wake-ups through the night on the grounds that he was a “flight risk,” which he likened to torture through sleep deprivation. Police also reportedly detained several journalists during single-person pickets.
In December 2020, investigations published by the independent news outlets Bellingcat and The Insider linked FSB officers to the poisoning of Navalny in August 2020 with a form of Novichok, which was also used to kill former spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom. Russian police reportedly conducted multiple raids targeting members of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the group’s leaders have complained that they were beaten during or after the raids.