Biden CNN town hall set this week with ‘invitation-only audience’

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Biden CNN town hall set this week with 'invitation-only audience'

President Joe Biden is set to participate in a CNN town hall in Baltimore this week where he will face questions from an “invitation-only audience” — as his administration juggles uniting the Democratic party, a worsening border crisis and supply chain bottleneck creating empty shelves and threatening the on-time arrival of holiday gifts. 

On Monday, CNN announced the 90-minute town hall, which will be moderated by Anderson Cooper and air Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on the network. 

The president, who has recently been traveling across the country touting his “Build Back Better” agenda, could face questions regarding a number of crises and difficulties his administration is facing. 

Late last week, Democrats in the Senate were reportedly getting frustrated with Biden over his ongoing negotiations with Sens. Joe Machin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), which are stalling the passing of two key pieces of legislation — a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a massive spending package — that make up the core of his agenda.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden could face questions regarding a number of crises his administration is facing. 
AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic party will need complete unity to pass the spending package through a parliamentarian process called reconciliation, which allows for passage without Republican support. 

Their inability to come to an agreement comes as the Congress faces a battle of raising the debt ceiling or facing a government default. 

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a short-term debt limit increase to provide $480 billion that will ensure the federal government does not default later this year.

Republicans have vowed to vote against raising the ceiling, urging Democrats to pass it on their own through reconciliation. Democrats, including Biden, have said they want to stay away from that option. 

US President Joe Biden participates in a CNN Town Hall hosted by Don Lemon (R) at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 21, 2021.
CNN did not reveal who would be invited to the “invite-only” town hall.
AFP via Getty Images

Since Biden took office, his administration has faced bipartisan criticism over their handling of the border — which has seen upward of one million illegal crossings this year.

Last month, Del Rio, Texas, saw nearly 15,000 migrants, according to some estimates, camped under the Del Rio International Bridge at one time, after they crossed the Rio Grande.  

Local and state officials urged the administration for assistance, citing a lack of manpower among Border Patrol officials and security concerns.

The administration has claimed that it is apprehending and deporting as many migrants as it can under Title 42, however, a September memo from the Department of Homeland Security revealed the government does not have the resources to apprehend every person who has entered the US unlawfully.

Most recently, Biden is facing a supply chain crisis that is threatening the timely delivery of everyday consumer goods and holiday gifts. 

After nearly 100 large ships have remained near the Los Angeles coast for more than a month waiting to unload goods, Biden last week announced that the Port of Los Angeles would move to a 24/7 work schedule, following the emergency example of the nearby Port of Long Beach, which expanded hours three weeks ago to alleviate the mounting supply-chain crunch. 

Republicans, however, have accused the administration of acting too late. 

CNN did not reveal who would be invited to the town hall, however the “invite-only” model mirrors another forum the outlet hosted in July in Ohio.

The Enquirer, a Cincinnati-based publication, discovered the media company reached out to various organizations such as labor unions, colleges, and businesses organizations “who sent messages asking people to apply.” 

All attendees at the July town hall submitted three potential questions they wished to ask Biden ahead of the event to CNN.

The location of Thursday’s town hall has not been announced. The network plans on following “all local and state Covid-19 guidance and regulations to ensure a safe event.”

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