After a series of crises, President Joe Biden hopes to turn the page and focus his presidency on his core economic agenda this fall.
The recent series of problems is a stark reminder of the unpredictability of the office, and a fresh example of how presidents seldom have the luxury to focus on one crisis at a given time. Biden's unyielding summer knocked his White House onto emergency footing and sent his own poll numbers tumbling.
Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, said that "the presidency is not for a monomaniac." "You must be able to multitask 24 hours per day."
Summer 2021 was the best example of this. It began with the White House declaring the nation's independence from the coronavirus, and then defying the odds bipartisanship on a huge infrastructure package. COVID-19 roared back, and the Afghanistan pullout became chaotic. Hiring slowed.
Biden now hopes to achieve a post-Labor Day reframe of the national conversation towards his domestic goals of passing a bipartisan bill for infrastructure and pushing through a Democrats only expansion of the social security ne t.
Officials at the White House are keen to shift Biden’s public calendar to issues that are of importance to him and that they feel are most important for the American people.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that "I believe you can expect President Obama to communicate over the coming weeks about a range of topics that are front-and center on the minds the American people."
"You can expect to hear more from him on his Build Back better agenda, COVID, and his commitment towards getting the virus under control.
The White House played a central role in explaining the effects of Biden's withdrawal and how to evacuate Americans and their allies from Afghanistan during the chaos evacuation. Officials now want to place the State Department and other agencies at the forefront of efforts to help stranded Americans, and support evacuees while Biden moves onto other topics.
It is partly a reflection on a unspoken belief within the White House that despite all the chaos in Afghanistan, the public supports his decision and it will fade away by the midterm elections.
Instead, the White House is preparing for a legislative sprint in order to pass over $4 trillion in domestic financing. This will provide a large portion of what Biden hopes will become his first-term legacy.
On Friday, in remarks on August's disappointing jobs report, Biden tried to return to the role of public salesman for his domestic agenda and claim the mantle of warrior for the middle class.
Biden stated that "for those big corporations who don't want to see things change, my message to them is this: It's now for working families -- the people who built this nation -- to have their taxes cut." Biden reiterated his call for higher corporate rates to help pay for community college and paid family leave, as well as an expansion of the Child Tax Credit.
Biden spoke out about corporate interests, saying "I'm going take them on".
Biden might be tempted to move on, but his aides know that the crisis is not over.
Biden will speak on this week's new efforts to control the delta variant of COVID-19 and protect children in schools. His administration continues to be criticised for pulling American troops out of Afghanistan before all citizens and allies could leave.
"President Biden wants to talk about Afghanistan but Americans hiding from ISIS, the Taliban, and the Haqqani Network don't care about news cycles, long weekends and polling --they want out," stated Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. On Friday, he called upon the White House of Biden to release a public accounting on how many Americans and their allies are still in Afghanistan.
Biden also will soon be grappling with fallout from the windup of two anchors of the government's COVID-19 protection package: The federal moratorium on evictions recently expired, and starting Monday, an estimated 8.9 million people will lose all unemployment benefits.
He is also still dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida on the Northeast and Gulf states. After visiting Louisiana last week, he'll get a firsthand look at some of the damage in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.
Already, he is trying to turn the destruction wrought by the hurricane into a fresh argument for the infrastructure spending he's been pushing all along, telling local officials in Louisiana, "It seems to me we can save a whole lot of money and a whole lot of pain for our constituents -- if when we build back, we build it back in a better way."
White House officials claim that even though other issues were dominating headlines, Biden's team maintained regular discussions with Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), about the president’s legislative agenda. His legislative team had more than 130 meetings and calls with members of Congress, as well as their chiefs and aides, on the infrastructure bill, spending package and other issues. Additionally, his administration held more 90 meetings with legislative staff to craft the reconciliation bill.
The White House chief of staff Ron Klain stated to CNN that he believed that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), was "very persuasive" about the bill's price tag.
Officials said that Cabinet officials also met with lawmakers and went to 80 districts in order to spread the agenda, while Biden was still in Washington.
Beschloss said Biden may be able to move beyond crises and keep his legislative agenda on the right track because of his 50-years of national political experience.
Beschloss stated to The Associated Press that he believes there is someone who can sense the difference between distance and proportion in a situation like this. "For someone who has been in national life for a shorter time and is new to the presidency you are constantly being amazed by the things."