President Joe Biden made headlines when he said he wasn’t confident about codifying abortion rights legislation Monday, but he appeared to regret saying it, telling a reporter that he “wouldn’t have answered his question.” must”.
At the conclusion of a solo press conference in Indonesia, after Biden fielded pre-planned questions from several reporters, NBC’s Peter Alexander called out if Americans could expect anything in Congress “concerning abortion rights.”
“I don’t think they can expect much of anything other than that we will maintain our positions. I won’t go into further questions. I shouldn’t have even answered your question,” Biden said.
Biden, who has done far fewer solo press conferences and interviews than his predecessors, is known for having a list of reporters to call, but Alexander wasn’t on it.
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Biden added Monday that there likely won’t be enough votes to codify abortion law as Republicans appear poised to take tight control of the House of Representatives in this year’s midterms.
“I don’t think there are enough votes to do codification unless something unusual happens in the House of Representatives,” Biden said. “I think we’re going to get really close in the house … but I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
One of Biden’s handlers then called down the remaining questions as Biden left the podium.
Biden also lauded midterm election results, which have seen Democrats beat expectations by retaining control of the U.S. Senate and could even expand their majority if Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., wins his runoff next month against the Republican Herschel Walker wins.
Democrats delayed their push for abortion rights after Roe v. Wade for her better-than-expected performance, and Biden vowed last month to ask Congress to codify abortion rights at the federal level if they held their majority. Voters across the country last week voted in favor of ballot initiatives protecting access to abortion, from California to Montana to Michigan.
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Though there are still several races with outstanding vote numbers, Republicans appear likely to pull out a majority in the lower chamber.
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Biden took questions Monday after a high-level meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the two discussed issues including Taiwan’s status and human rights. According to the reading of their conversation, they did not discuss the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China.