Spy Balloon Pop Reverberates Through Congress, Country

President Biden will deliver the State of the Union tomorrow night at 9:00 pm.  The speech presents the president with the opportunity to lay out his vision and make the case for what his administration has accomplished.  The Administration had major legislative victories in the first two years, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure bill, gun control and the CHIPS bill intended to provide grants and incentive for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.  The administration has also been buoyed by recent positive economic news.  GDP growth in the fourth quarter was a solid 2.6%.  the economy added 519,000 jobs in January – way above expectations.  And there are signs inflation is cooling.  But the American public has not given the President much credit – yet.  His overall approval ratings remains in the low-to mid forties, and his approval on the economy and inflation is stuck in the mid-thirties.  The Washington Post reported, “President Biden is set to deliver a State of the Union address Tuesday to a skeptical country with a majority of Americans saying they do not believe he has achieved much since taking office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
The president will also deliver his speech to a Congress focused on China.  The story of the spy balloon continues to have more questions than answers.  Members of both parties spent the weekend tweeting their theories and opinions about how the Administration should have dealt with the balloon.  Beyond that, Congress will hold four China-related hearings this week alone.  The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party is up and running.  House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries appointed ten members to the Select Committee with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois named the Ranking Member.  Chairman Gallagher set a quick bipartisan tone to the committee by issuing a joint statement with ranking Member Krishnamoorthi about the spy balloon.
“The Chinese Communist Party should not have on-demand access to American airspace. Not only is this a violation of American sovereignty, coming only days before Secretary Blinken’s trip to the PRC, but it also makes clear that the CCP’s recent diplomatic overtures do not represent a substantive change in policy. Indeed, this incident demonstrates that the CCP threat is not confined to distant shores—it is here at home and we must act to counter this threat.”
The House will vote this week on three measures.

  • Termination of the requirement imposed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for foreign travelers (H.R.185)
  • Joint resolutions disapproving actions of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.J.Res.24)
  • the Revised Criminal Code Act (H.J.Res.26)

Biden to address divided Congress during State of the Union 

The Hill 

By Mychael Schnell 

February 6, 2023 – 6:00am 

Violent end to spy balloon flight dashes chance of US-China reset 

Uncertainty in Washington over whether Xi Jinping was aware of surveillance mission 

Financial Times 

By Demetri Sevastopulo, Tom Mitchell and Eleanor Olcott 

February 5, 2023 

Prior Chinese Balloon Incursions Over U.S. Went Undetected, Officials Say 

They say prior intrusions by surveillance craft into the continental U.S. were likely of short duration 

The Wall Street Journal 

By Vivian Salama and Michael R. Gordon 

February 5, 2023 – 8:44pm 

New military aid for Ukraine worth almost $2.2B includes long-range precision rockets for 1st time 

Stars and Stripes 

By Doug G. Ware 

February 3, 2023 

Biden’s State of the Union to tout policy wins on economy 

The Associated Press 

By Zeke Miller and Seung Min Kim 

February 5, 2023 

Biden unveiled $500 million for Philly lead pipe replacement as he aims to show how his infrastructure bill has worked 

President Joe Biden's stop in Philadelphia aimed to highlight his bipartisan infrastructure law and signals how he and fellow Democrats plan to approach the run up to the 2024 election. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer 

By Jonathan Tamari and Julia Terruso 

February 4, 2023 

Jobs report shows increase of 517,000 in January, crushing estimates, as unemployment rate hit 53-year low 

By Jeff Cox 

February 3, 2023 – 12:58pm