First Lady Jill Biden blames Ukraine war and other unforeseen issues for president’s stalled agenda

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First Lady Jill Biden blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other unforseen issues for her husband’s lack of progress on his legislative agenda during a Democratic fundraiser on Saturday.

Dr Biden made the remarks, first reported by CNN, at a fundraiser for major donors hosted by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Both the First Lady and President Joe Biden have returned to the campaign trail ahead of the November midterms with the aim of holding onto Democratic majorities in Congress.

“[The President] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment," Dr Biden said, according to CNN. "He's just had so many things thrown his way.”

She then listed a few of the biggest hurdles. "Who would have ever thought about what happened with Roe v Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn't believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn't see the war in Ukraine coming."

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has shifted focus from Mr Biden’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. That focus returned last month with the passage of bipartisan firearm restrictions and school safety legislation in the wake of horrific mass shootings in New York and Texas.

Mr Biden signed the firearms bill into law in June. However Democrats remain stalled on a number of other issues including Mr Biden’s signature Build Back Better Act, voting rights, and codifying abortion rights.

In the past week, a number of progressives have openly condemned centrist Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who said that he would not support new spending to fight the climate crisis before the midterms. The West Virginia senator’s vote is critical in the 50-50 Senate.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called for Democratic leadership to put more pressure on Mr Manchin, and said that he should be stripped of his chairmanship on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

President Biden has yet to put public pressure on Senator Manchin but has in recent days come out in favour of amending the Senate’s filibuster rule to allow passage of a bill codifying abortion rights with a simple 51-vote majority.