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Biden: Recession not inevitable, pain to last ‘some time’

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Biden: Recession not inevitable, pain to last ‘some time’

By JOSH BOAK and AAMER MADHANI

TOKYO (AP) — President Joe Biden says he does not believe an economic recession in the U.S. is inevitable despite record high inflation and supply shortages partly caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference Monday in Tokyo, Biden acknowledged that the American economy has “problems,” but said it was better positioned than other countries.

“We have problems that the rest of the world has,” Biden said, “but less consequential than the rest of the world has.”

Biden acknowledged the impact that severe supply shortages and high energy prices are having on U.S. families. He said his administration was working to ease the pain for U.S. consumers, but said there were unlikely to be immediate solutions.

“This is going to be a haul,” Biden said. “This is going to take some time.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

TOKYO (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday promised “concrete benefits” for the people of the Indo-Pacific region from a new trade pact he was set to launch, designed to signal U.S. dedication to the contested economic sphere and address the need for stability in commerce after disruptions caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden said the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework would also increase U.S. cooperation with other nations in the region.

The White House said the framework will help the United States and Asian economies work more closely on issues including supply chains, digital trade, clean energy, worker protections and anticorruption efforts. The details still need to be negotiated among the member countries, making it difficult for the administration to say how this agreement would fulfill the promise of helping U.S. workers and businesses while also meeting global needs.

Countries signing on to the framework were to be announced Monday during Biden’s visit to Tokyo for talks with Kishida. It’s the latest step by the Biden administration to try to preserve and broaden U.S. influence in a region that until recently looked to be under the growing sway of China.

Kishida hosted a formal state welcome for Biden at Akasaka Palace, including a white-clad military honor guard and band in the front plaza. Reviewing the assembled troops, Biden placed his hand over his heart as he passed the American flag and bowed slightly as he passed the Japanese standard.

Kishida, in brief remarks, said he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome Biden to Tokyo on the first Asia trip of his presidency. Along with Biden, he drove a tough line against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying it “undermines the foundation of global order.”

Biden, who is in the midst of a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, called the U.S.-Japanese alliance a “cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific” and thanked Japan for its “strong leadership” in standing up to Russia.

The White House announced plans to build the economic framework in October as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. dropped out of in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.

The new pact comes at a moment when the administration believes it has the edge in its competition with Beijing. Bloomberg Economics published a report last week projecting U.S. GDP growth at about 2.8% in 2022 compared to 2% for China, which has been trying to contain the coronavirus through strict lockdowns while also dealing with a property bust. The slowdown has undermined assumptions that China would automatically supplant the U.S. as the world’s leading economy.

“The fact that the United States will grow faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976, is a quite striking example of how countries in this region should be looking at the question of trends and trajectories,” said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Critics say the framework has gaping shortcomings. It doesn’t offer incentives to prospective partners by lowering tariffs or provide signatories with greater access to U.S. markets. Those limitations may not make the U.S. framework an attractive alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which still moved forward after the U.S. bailed out. China, the largest trading partner for many in the region, is also seeking to join TPP.

“I think a lot of partners are going to look at that list and say: ‘That’s a good list of issues. I’m happy to be involved,’” said Matthew Goodman, a former director for international economics on the National Security Council during President Barack Obama’s administration. But he said they also may ask, “Are we going to get any tangible benefits out of participating in this framework?”

It is possible for countries to be part of both trade deals.

Biden’s first stop Monday was a private meeting with Emperor Naruhito of Japan at Naruhito’s residence on the lush grounds of the Imperial Palace before the talks with Kishida.

The two leaders were also set to meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago. The Japanese premier took office last fall and is looking to strengthen ties with the U.S. and build a personal relationship with Biden. He’ll host the president at a restaurant for dinner.

The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, also known as IPEF, has been billed by the White House as one of the bigger moments of Biden’s Asia trip and of his ongoing effort to bolster ties with Pacific allies. Through it all, administration officials have kept a close eye on China’s growing economic and military might in the region.

In September the U.S. announced a new partnership with Australia and Britain called AUKUS that is aimed and deepening security, diplomatic and defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Through that AUKUS partnership, Australia will purchase nuclear-powered submarines, and the U.S. is to increase rotational force deployments to Australia.

The U.S. president has also devoted great attention to the informal alliance known as the Quad, formed during the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed some 230,000 people. Biden and fellow leaders from the alliance, which also includes Australia, India and Japan, are set to gather in Tokyo for their second in-person meeting in less than a year. The leaders have also held two video calls since Biden took office.

And earlier this month, Biden gathered representatives from nine of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington for a summit, the first ever by the organization in the U.S. capital. Biden announced at the summit the U.S. would invest some $150 million in clean energy and infrastructure initiatives in ASEAN nations.

Sullivan confirmed on Sunday that Taiwan — which had sought membership in the IPEF framework— isn’t among the governments that will be included. Participation of the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, would have irked Beijing.

Sullivan said the U.S. wants to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan, including on high technology issues and semiconductor supply on a one-to-one basis.

Biden will wrap up his five days in Asia on Tuesday with the Quad meeting and one-on-one talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese.

The center-left leader of the Australian Labor Party this weekend defeated incumbent Scott Morrison and ended nine years of conservative rule.

Modi, leader of the world’s biggest democracy, has declined to join the U.S. and other allies in levying sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. In a video call last month, Biden asked Modi not to accelerate its purchase of Russian oil.

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Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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Fundraising for North Dakota abortion clinic move tops $500K

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Fundraising for North Dakota abortion clinic move tops $500K

FARGO, N.D. — A fundraising campaign to help North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic move a few miles away to Minnesota has raised more than half a million dollars in two days.

The Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo will have to shut down in 30 days as part of the state’s trigger law that went into effect Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court removed the constitutional right to abortion.

Tammi Kromenaker, owner and operator of the independent clinic, said Saturday she has secured a location across the river in neighboring Moorhead but stated earlier that she didn’t know how she would fund the move.

A GoFundMe page set up Friday to benefit the transition had raised over $515,000 from more than 6,000 donors as of late Saturday afternoon. The original goal was $20,000.

Abortion is legal in Minnesota and the state’s governor signed an order to help protect people seeking or providing abortions from facing legal action from other states.

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Wisconsin’s Tony Evers looks for boost from anger over abortion

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Wisconsin’s Tony Evers looks for boost from anger over abortion

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers hopes to translate anger over the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade into votes this fall as he vows to fight a 173-year-old state abortion ban, including offering clemency to any doctor convicted and not appointing prosecutors who would enforce the prohibition.

Evers, who won election in the battleground state four years ago by just over 1 percentage point, told The Associated Press ahead of his appearance Saturday at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention that abortion will energize key independent voters to support him and other Democrats.

“Any time you take half the people in Wisconsin and make them second class citizens, I have to believe there’s going to be a reaction to that,” Evers said.

At a rally Saturday before the convention, Evers said: “I have seven granddaughters who are girls or young women. Yesterday they were made second-class citizens, and that’s (expletive).”

Wisconsin’s governor’s race is expected to be one of the hardest fought in the country this year. It’s a priority for Democrats given the importance of swing state Wisconsin in the 2024 presidential election. Evers is also the only thing standing in the way of the Republican-controlled Legislature. In his first term, he issued more vetoes than any other governor in modern history.

Democrats running to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson will also speak Sunday at the convention in La Crosse. Five Republicans are running for a chance to take on Evers. Wisconsin’s primary is Aug. 9.

About 1,000 people attended the convention that kicked off Saturday night.

Evers told the AP that he feels confident abortion will be a winning issue for his party because polls have consistently shown about 60% of Wisconsin residents support it being legal in most or all cases.

“You can’t ignore the fact that we now have politicians making decisions for women and their health care,” Evers said. “So we’ll be talking about that a lot.”

Evers vowed to do whatever he can to evade the state’s abortion ban that was passed in 1849 but hasn’t been in effect since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. That includes supporting lawsuits to overturn it, not appointing district attorneys who would enforce it and offering clemency for doctors convicted under it.

“We’re looking at everything,” he said.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow said Evers’ position on abortion was appealing only to “his activist base and going against the will of the people.” He downplayed the significance of the court’s ruling on the election.

“All they really did yesterday was, 50 years ago an activist bench made a decision that wasn’t constitutional and put that into play, so they’re correcting that,” Farrow said. “Is it causing any change to the political landscape? There is a standard that people have. Republicans know that we’re pro-life.”

In addition to abortion, Evers said his reelection campaign and message to Democrats will focus on successes from his first term, including using federal money to fix roads and support small businesses. Evers said he will also emphasize what’s at stake if Republicans win, “including voter suppression and voting rights.”

Evers is a supporter of Wisconsin’s bipartisan commission that oversees elections, but all of his Republican opponents want to do away with it. Evers also vetoed a series of bills that would make it more difficult to vote absentee in the state.

President Joe Biden carried Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes, an outcome that some Republicans have refused to accept even though it has withstood two recounts, multiple lawsuits, an independent audit and even a review by a conservative group.

Republicans hope to harness unhappiness about gas prices, inflation and crime to knock off Evers.

No governor who was the same party as the sitting president has won election in Wisconsin since 1990. A Marquette University Law School poll this week showed Evers slightly ahead of his Republican challengers, while Johnson was about even with each Democrat running against him.

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Saints’ seven runs enough to put away Buffalo

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Saints’ seven runs enough to put away Buffalo

Eliot Soto went 4 for 5 with three RBIs, and Aaron Sanchez worked in and out of trouble for five innings as the Saints beat the Buffalo Blue Jays, 7-4, on Saturday at Sahlen Field.

Soto’s two-run single in the fourth inning gave St. Paul a 2-0 lead. He scored on Spencer Steer’s one-out single for a 5-3 lead, and his two-out single gave the Saints a 7-3 lead in the ninth.

The Saints have led every game in this six-game series in the eighth inning or later yet take a 2-3 record into Sunday’s series finale, a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.

Michael Helman went 3 for 5 with a pair of solo home runs, and John Andreoli added a solo homer as the Saints beat the first-place team in the International League East Division.

Sanchez (2-0) allowed five hits and five walks in five innings but limited the Blue Jays to three runs. He struck out three. JC Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning, walking two, for his second hold.

Juan Minaya pitched the ninth, giving up a leadoff homer to Samad Taylor, and putting two more on base before retiring Chavez Young on a liner to center to close out the Saints’ second win of the series.

Thomas Hatch (4-4) took the loss, charged with four earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five.

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