US midterm results made Biden breathe a ‘sigh of relief’
Biden says the US midterm results have made him breathe a “sigh of relief”, especially with some election deniers being kept out of office.
Biden says that after the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021, many world leaders thought democracy in the US was on the brink.
“They want to know, is the United States stable? Are we the same democracy that we’ve always been?” Biden says.
On a potential 2024 presidential bid, he said he intends on taking a break with his wife Jill around Thanksgiving and will make a concrete decision early next year.
However, he said he is leaning towards running for a second term.
As the Republicans look likely to take hold of the House of Representatives, all eyes are on congressman Kevin McCarthy, who earlier formally asked his colleagues to support him as Speaker, the top leadership post in the chamber.
Biden says he will speak to McCarthy tonight, saying: “I am ready to work with Republicans.”
McCarthy, 57, of California, has represented a heavily Republican portion of central California, including his hometown of Bakersfield, in the House since 2007.
Having steadily risen through the leadership ranks in his party, McCarthy served as House majority leader from 2014 to 2017.
McCarthy had a short stint as minority leader, a role in which he had a close relationship with President Donald Trump. According to US media, the former president referred to him as “my Kevin”.
During last year’s Capitol riot, McCarthy reportedly asked Trump to ask protesters to go home during a heated and expletive-laden phone call. But days later, he visited the ex-president at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and appeared to make peace.
McCarthy has been widely credited with uniting the Republican Party’s various factions, but he could have a tough balancing act ahead if Republicans only secure a slim majority in the House.
His appointment could have implications on the international stage. For example, he said that a Republican-controlled Congress would be disinclined to write a “blank cheque” for Ukraine, stymying the $52bn (£45bn) assistance package that is twice as much as all other countries combined.
“Earning the majority is only the beginning,” he wrote in his Wednesday letter to colleagues. “Now we will be measured by what we do with our majority.”
Biden says he will soon speak with Kevin McCarthy
Joe Biden says that despite the possibility of a divided government, his overall vision for America has not changed.
“I’m not going to change anything in any fundamental way,” Biden says.
On Republican Kevin McCarthy, who is eyeing the role of Speaker of the House should his party take control, Biden says he doesn’t have much of a relationship with him – though he plans on speaking with McCarthy later this afternoon.
I’m open to any good ideas – Biden
Speaking about working with a Republican House or Senate, Biden says he is “open to any good ideas”.
He makes it clear, however, that he will not support any legislation that he believes would hurt working-class Americans, including tax cuts for the rich.
“No one earning less than $40,000 a year is going to see their federal taxes go up,” he says.
He adds that he will also not support any policy changes to cutting Medicare or social security.
“But I’m ready to compromise with Republicans if it makes sense.”
Biden adds the results of the midterm vote have made it clear that Americans don’t want their politicians to be trapped in endless political warfare.
“We need to be looking at the future … and that future is as bright as can be,” he says.
‘We’re just getting started’, says Biden
Joe Biden says the US midterm results indicate that Democrats have had a strong night, pointing out that the projected “red wave” – a Republican sweep of the House and Senate – didn’t happen.
“The American people have spoken and have proven once again that Democracy is who we are,” Biden says.
His party, he says, lost fewer seats in the House than what is expected, on average, for the party of a sitting president.
Biden then highlights his work so far on pandemic recovery, rebuilding infrastructure in America and tackling inflation.
“We’re just getting started,” he says.
He says he will continue to work across the political aisle to deliver for the American people.
Biden: Midterm vote a good day for democracy
The president has begun his address.
He starts by saying: “Democracy been tested in recent years but with their votes, the American people have spoken.”
He hails the US midterm vote as “good day for democracy”.
President Biden speaking at the White House