Sen. Bernie Sanders says the US needs ‘progressive taxation’ on the wealthy to pay for Biden’s infrastructure proposal

Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) arrives at the House chamber ahead of President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders called for “progressive taxation” to fund Biden’s spending proposals.
  • “Biden says the floor should be $400,000,” he noted. “Nobody under that should pay more in taxes.”
  • Sanders also brought up the need for health care reform and tackling student loan debt.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Sunday said that the US needs to institute “progressive taxation” on inherited wealth to help fund President Joe Biden’s spending proposals, notably a $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders stressed that it was imperative that the country deals with pertinent and longstanding economic issues facing the country.

“We have massive income and wealth inequality,” he said. “Half our people live on paycheck to paycheck. We’ve got to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. You’ve got to do that.”

Progressive legislators sought to include a $15 minimum wage bill provision in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package while it was being debated in Congress earlier this year, but Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that it could not be included in the final bill under budget reconciliation rules.

Sanders, who has long said that the nation’s infrastructure was in dire need of repair, stressed that Biden’s spending plans would be beneficial to the American public.

“We have infrastructure that is collapsing,” he said. “We’ve got to address the existential threat of climate change. When you make those investments, we create millions of good-paying jobs.”

Read more: Here’s how Biden is reshaping gender and reproductive rights with policies that are even more progressive than past Democratic presidents

Reminiscent of his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders also brought up the need for health care reform and student loan debt, issues that progressives in Congress have not forgotten about.

“We are the only major country not to guarantee health care to all people as a right, the only major country not to have paid family and medical leave,” he said. “We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Hundreds of thousands of kids can’t afford to go to college, and millions leave school deeply in debt. Well, you know what? You’ve got to address those issues.”

Sanders, who chairs the powerful Senate Banking Committee, then went after major corporations that he says haven’t paid any federal income taxes and again called for instituting a progressive estate tax rate starting at 45% on inherited wealth of more than $3.5 million.

Warren Buffett, one of the richest guys in the world, reminds us that the effective tax rate for working families is higher than it is for the billionaire class,” he said. “I do think we need progressive taxation, which says to the very rich – Biden says the cap should be, the floor should be $400,000. Nobody under that should pay more in taxes.”

He added: “The very rich and large corporations should start paying their fair share of taxes to help us rebuild America and create the jobs that we need.”

When Sanders was asked if he would back the spending proposals if they don’t come with the desired tax increases, the senator said that “the devil is in the details.”

“I think once we start discussing these issues in the Congress, there will be differences of opinion,” he said. “I think there is a consensus, at least within the Democratic caucus, that now is the time to start protecting working families and the middle class and not just the 1 percent.”

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The Biden Administration continues the White House’s long history of personalizing everything, from pens to cookies to shovels

Jill Biden's Air Force One Jacket
First Lady Jill Biden’s Air Force One embroidered jacket

  • President Joe Biden finally got his own M&Ms, marking a tradition that dates back to the Reagan era.
  • It’s far from the only branded perk that the president (and vice-president) are gifted with.
  • Insider rounded up other personalized presidential items spotted by photographers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Leadership in Washington flips from red to blue every so often, but one thing always seems to remain the same: a dedication to personalization.

Many of the items have been useful, like the White House cocktail napkin one of Insider’s reporters kept as a souvenir from President Barack Obama’s administration. Here are a few other personalized presidential items spotted by photographers.

Pens featuring President Joe Biden’s signature were ready for use on his first full day in office.

Joe Biden Pens
Complete with a presidential seal.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of photojournalists capturing the pens.

Photojournalists Shooting Biden Pens
Shooting Biden’s pens.

In March, the White House slapped its seal on shamrock cookies for visitors to the Outer Oval Office for St. Patrick’s day.

Shamrock Cookies at the White House
St. Patrick’s Day cookies at the White House.

This week, M&Ms arrived on Air Force One

It’s a longstanding tradition: presidential M&Ms were first created in 1988 for Ronald Reagan – with Bill Clinton later starting the tradition of adding the leader’s signature.

As noted by Ashley Williams, the deputy director of Oval Office operations, Biden didn’t have his own M&Ms at the beginning of his presidency, although last month, Air Force One got special transitional M&Ms with no signature. But now Biden can rest easy.

Williams posted a photo on Twitter of the candies arranged in the shape of a “100,” to mark Biden’s 100 days in office. The Air Force One M&Ms have long been a favorite among reporters, as BBC News pointed out.

The personalization extends beyond the Oval Office. Here, Vice President Kamala Harris greets her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, with a coffee cup bearing the Presidential Seal between them.

kamala harris doug emhoff
Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff, and a personalized coffee cup.

President Donald Trump had “45” monogrammed on his shirt cuff.

President Donald Trump's Monogram
Trump’s “45” monogram.

Back in 2012, Obama’s staff photographed him in his “The President” chair.

obama presdient chair
“The President.”

In Biden’s White House, even the shovels used on Arbor Day come with personalized plaques.

Joe and Jill Biden Shovels
Shovels used on Arbor Day.

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A majority of investors and business owners have faith in Biden’s economic boom, new UBS survey finds

small business owner bakery
Jorge Sactic is the owner of Chapina Bakery in Langley Park, Maryland.

  • About 64% of investors and business owners see Biden’s policies aiding the global recovery.
  • A majority also said Biden’s measures will support global markets, according to a UBS survey.
  • The optimism comes as Biden preps another $4.1 trillion in spending to boost the economic recovery.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden boom is in full swing and people like what they see.

Investors and business owners around the world are largely optimistic that the Biden administration’s economic policies will fuel a robust recovery and leave them on better footing, according to a recent UBS survey. Some 64% of respondents view the administration as having a positive impact on the global economy. Six in 10 believe the White House’s policies will support global markets.

Roughly 57% of investors and business owners said the Biden administration has benefitted their personal finances, and 54% of business owners said the policies benefitted their companies.

In just the first 100 days of his time in office, President Joe Biden has embarked on one of the most ambitious policy strategies in modern history. The president passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus measure – the second-largest in history – on March 11 and has since unveiled follow-up packages that include roughly $4.1 trillion in additional spending. Economists have largely linked soaring retail sales and stronger economic growth to the stimulus measure.

To be sure, President Joe Biden’s policies aren’t the only cause for optimism. New COVID-19 cases in the US sit at their lowest seven-day average since October, and state and local governments have been slowly rolling back lockdown measures for weeks. And while the vaccination rate has slowed, it still sits at an average 2.5 million doses per day. At the current rate, the US will reach herd immunity over the next three months, according to Bloomberg data.

In the US specifically, seven in 10 investors expressed hope about the path of the economy. That compares to just 52% three months ago and makes US investors the most positive globally, UBS said.

The share of US investors growing positive toward stocks rose to 71% from 59%. The shift underscores a broader move toward riskier assets as investors ditch the safe havens they held at the start of the pandemic and position for a swift recovery.

The responses join other sentiment gauges that have turned stronger in recent months. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to a fresh pandemic-era high in April, according to a Friday release. That level is the highest since March 2020. Separately, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure rose to its highest level since February 2020 as the healing labor market and latest round of stimulus checks boosted outlooks.

UBS interviewed 2,850 investors and 1,150 business owners around the world from March 30 to April 18. Responses were sourced from 14 markets including the US, the UK, Mexico, mainland China, Japan, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico.

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Newsmax host criticizes Biden for picking a dandelion for the first lady

Joe Biden Jill Biden
President Joe Biden gives a dandelion to first lady Jill Biden during their walk to Marine One on April 29, 2021.

  • Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield criticized Biden for picking up a dandelion for his wife, Jill.
  • “It’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet,” Stinchfield said.
  • “I say it was a planted dandelion there,” he added. “Who knows?”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield on Friday criticized President Joe Biden for stopping to pick a dandelion for first lady Jill Biden while they walked to the Marine One helicopter on the White House Ellipse, saying that if the flower is blown “then everybody starts sneezing.”

As Stinchfield remarked on the president’s gesture for his wife of 44 years, the television chyron read: “Biden bizarrely gives Jill a dandelion.”

“All right folks, take a look at this,” he said. “Joe Biden, getting on Marine One, and he stops and picks up … I think it’s a dandelion? But it’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet, like it gives everybody asthma. So you blow it, it goes everywhere, and then everybody starts sneezing. Well, he picks up the weed and gives it to Jill as what I guess is supposed to be some kind of a sweet gesture.”

He added: “I say it was a planted dandelion there. Who knows?”

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

Stinchfield’s commentary struck a sharp contrast with other media outlets, such as Reuters, which framed the gesture as romantic.

The first lady held on to the dandelion as she boarded Marine One.

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‘We need to rebuild our nation with a new foundation’: Rep. Jamaal Bowman pushes for more progressive action in response to Biden speech

Jamaal Bowman
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-New York).

  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman laid out a progressive response to Biden’s first joint session of Congress.
  • The congressman called for environmental justice, racial equality, and a more fair economic system.
  • He strongly backs legislation that would empower the reach of organized labor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York on Wednesday laid out a deeply progressive response to President Joe Biden’s first joint session of Congress, arguing for increased aid for working families, the strengthening of labor unions, and a Green New Deal for cities and public schools.

Bowman, who spoke on behalf of the Working Families Party, articulated a vision of an America that reimagines what is currently seen as the limitations of Democratic governance.

Bowman is an ally of Biden, but his blueprint for a more equitable American society goes beyond what the president has often discussed regarding everything from economic policy to policing.

Bowman praised Biden for his commitment to education expansion, as laid out in the president’s $1.8 trillion plan that would offer universal pre-K and two years of free community college.

“I was pleased to hear President Biden propose expanding free public education to include pre-K and community college,” he said. “All of that is good, it’s powerful, and it’s going to make a big difference.”

The congressman then pivoted to the economic devastation that has ravaged the country during the COVID-19 pandemic since last year, emphasizing that more has to be done to improve the economic conditions of ordinary Americans. He presents these issues alongside environmental protection, racial justice, and voting rights, all subjects that progressive legislators and activists have vocally spoken about for years.

Read more: Meet Merrick Garland’s inner circle of 18 officials. They’ve got a packed plate investigating major police departments and even Rudy Giuliani.

“While the richest billionaires got $1 trillion richer during the pandemic, more than 10 million families are behind on rent today, and there are 8 million fewer jobs than a year ago,” Bowman said. “The climate crisis continues to ravage our communities, and scientists tell us we’re running out of time to act. Every week, we see an unconscionable new video of police violence against Black and brown men, women, and even children.”

He added: “And our democracy is still under attack, with Republican legislatures across the country cracking down on our right to vote.”

Bowman, a member of “The Squad,” the progressive group of Democrats that have made waves within the House caucus since 2019, called for a reordering of how the US operates on a fundamental level.

“We need to rebuild our nation with a new foundation, a foundation rooted in love, and care, and equality,” he said. “Where justice is truly real for all of us, regardless of race, class, gender, orientation, or religion. I fully believe we can.”

With Democrats controlling both the House and Senate, along with the White House, Bowman said that Democrats can aim much higher when it comes to economic fairness. (Though their control of the Senate is marginal.)

In his speech, Bowman called for support of the THRIVE Act, a $10 trillion infrastructure bill that allocates much more funding than the current $2 trillion infrastructure bill that Democratic leaders would like to pa sss this year.

Bowman said that the bill could create 15 million union jobs and help drive the economic recovery of the country while addressing climate issues and environmental justice.

The congressman also called for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize, or PRO Act, a labor bill that overrides right-to-work laws that many states have imposed to weaken the strength of unions.

The House passed the bill last month, but its passage in the Senate remains murky due to intense GOP opposition.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elizabeth Warren fist-pumps and Joe Manchin takes notes during Biden’s first joint address to Congress

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

  • Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress was met with enthusiasm from progressive Democrats but put some moderates on the spot.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, who was seen taking copious notes at the back of the chamber, didn’t clap for some of Biden’s initiatives.
  • When Biden mentioned his proposed investments in childcare, Sen. Elizabeth Warren clapped vigorously and pumped her fist in the air.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday drew enthusiasm from key progressive lawmakers, while putting some moderate Democrats on the spot.

As Biden detailed his far-reaching plans to invest in American infrastructure and the care economy, most Democrats repeatedly leapt to their feet to applaud the proposals. But a few lawmakers, most notably Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, stayed quiet.

Manchin was seen taking copious notes at the back of the chamber. He didn’t applaud certain Biden initiatives, including gun regulations and policing reform legislation, signaling his opposition to those priorities. And he was reportedly among the first lawmakers to leave the chamber following the address.

Meanwhile, when Biden mentioned his childcare proposals in the American Families Plan, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts clapped vigorously and pumped her fist in the air. Warren ran for president in 2020 in large part on her universal childcare proposal and has been advocating for major investments in childcare for years.

After his address, Biden spoke for several minutes with Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, two progressives who will play key roles in the administration’s effort to pass the American Jobs Plan and Families Plan.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden plans to meet with the top 4 congressional leaders at the White House in May

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • President Biden plans to host the top congressional leaders from both parties on May 12.
  • The meeting will take place two weeks after Biden is set to address a joint session of Congress.
  • Biden has pledged to work in a bipartisan manner with Republicans in Congress.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden plans to host the top congressional leaders from both parties on May 12, according to a White House official.

The meeting will include the top Democrats – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer of New York – along with Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

While Pelosi and Schumer have already met with Biden at the White House, this would represent the first trip to the Oval Office for McCarthy and McConnell since the president was inaugurated in January.

The meeting was first reported by Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to work in a bipartisan manner and turn down the fiery political rhetoric that was a hallmark of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

“The President looks forward to building on that engagement by having a dialogue with Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy about policy areas of mutual agreement and identifying common ground on which they can work together and deliver results on the challenges facing American families,” the White House official said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden “is eager to talk in-person” about partnering “on the goals of restoring trust in government and ensuring that government delivers for the American people.”

Read more: Meet Merrick Garland’s inner circle of 18 officials. They’ve got a packed plate investigating major police departments and even Rudy Giuliani.

The meeting will take place two weeks after Biden is set to address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Wednesday, where he’ll discuss his $1.8 trillion plan that would offer universal pre-K and two years of free community college.

Biden’s latest proposal follows the $2 trillion infrastructure plan that Democrats hope to pass this year, along with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in March.

While Pelosi and Schumer enjoy a warm relationship with the White House, McCarthy and McConnell have been highly critical of Biden as he nears his 100th day in office.

Biden and McConnell have a long working relationship from the president’s tenure in the Senate, but political polarization has turned what was once a comely upper chamber into a more partisan atmosphere.

“Behind President Biden’s familiar face, it’s like the most radical Washington Democrats have been handed the keys, and they’re trying to speed as far left as they can possibly go before American voters ask for their car back,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

On Sunday, McCarthy said that he had not had “one conversation” with the president since he took office.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Over half of Trump voters agree with the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict, poll says

Derek Chauvin is guilty
Derek Chauvin is guilty.

  • A new CBS News/YouGov poll showed that over half of Trump supporters agreed with the Derek Chauvin conviction.
  • Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
  • Among all respondents, 75 percent felt that the jury made the right decision in convicting Chauvin.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than half of supporters of former President Donald Trump agreed with the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, according to a new CBS News/YouGov poll.

In the poll, 49 percent of respondents who backed Trump in 2020 disagreed with the guilty verdict, while a slim majority of Trump voters – 51 percent – agreed with the jury’s decision.

Among voters who backed President Joe Biden in 2020, 94 percent supported the guilty verdict, compared to six percent who disagreed with the conviction.

Among all Republicans, 54 percent agreed with the decision, while 46 percent felt that the guilty verdict was wrong.

Democratic respondents overwhelmingly backed the guilty verdict – 90 percent felt that the conviction was the right decision, while 10 percent disagreed with the jury’s decision.

Seventy-five percent of Independent respondents agreed with the verdict, while 25 percent disagreed.

Among all respondents, 75 percent indicated that the jury made the right decision in convicting Chauvin, while 25 percent disagreed with the decision.

Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder and manslaughter following Floyd’s death, faces up to 40 years in prison.

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

The case reignited the state of policing in America and led to racial reckoning among numerous elements of American society, from the US government and corporate boardrooms to public schools and local municipalities.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which has been a major force for civil rights in recent years, became even more prominent in the public discourse.

Biden, who has offered his spiritual support to the Floyd family, received a favorability rating of 60 percent regarding his handling of issues related to Floyd’s murder.

“We can’t leave this moment or look away, thinking our work is done,” Biden said after Chauvin was convicted. “We have to look at it as we did for those 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen. ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words.”

The CBS News polling was conducted by YouGov with 2,527 respondents who were interviewed from April 21 through April 24.

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Kevin McCarthy says that Biden’s first 100 days have been a ‘bait and switch’ between promising bipartisanship but governing ‘as a socialist’

Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., Thursday, April 15, 2021, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Kevin McCarthy criticized President Biden’s early tenure in office for its lack of bipartisanship.
  • “I have not met with the president one time, nor had one conversation,” he said.
  • McCarthy said that Republicans could work with Biden on a more targeted infrastructure bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden’s early tenure in office, accusing the president of pulling a “bait and switch” in his approach to governance.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” McCarthy told host Chris Wallace that Biden campaigned as a moderate Democrat but was pursuing more progressive policies.

“If I look at the 100 days, it’s more of like bait and switch,” he said. “The bait was he was going to govern as bipartisan, but the switch is he’s governed as a socialist.”

McCarthy called out Biden for not doing enough to include the GOP in major legislative discussions.

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

“I have not met with the president one time, nor had one conversation,” he said.

For weeks after the November election, McCarthy demurred on admitting that Biden had indeed won, and after Biden took office, he questioned whether voters understood the contents of the COVID-19 relief bill that passed with Democratic support and has proven to be politically popular.

On Fox News, McCarthy indicated that Republicans were willing to collaborate with Democrats on modernizing the country’s infrastructure.

“Republicans would be the first ones who would work with him [on infrastructure], but the first thing we would need to do is define what [that] is,” he said. “Roads, bridges, airports, Broadcom? We would get this done. He’s trying to pick a number instead of foreseeing what do we need to make America competitive.”

In a new Fox News poll, 49% of voters backed Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill, with 41% opposed to the legislation.

When asked about how to pay for the infrastructure proposal, 56% of respondents backed business and corporate tax increases and 63% supported raising taxes on families earning over $400,000 annually.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lindsey Graham slams Biden as ‘a very destabilizing president’ who wants to ‘regulate America out of business’

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

  • Sen. Graham slammed President Biden’s first few months in office, calling him a “destabilizing” leader.
  • “Economically, he’s throwing a wet blanket over the recovery,” Graham said of Biden.
  • The conservative senator also derided the president as “a disaster on foreign policy.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday blasted President Joe Biden, accusing him of being a “destabilizing” leader during his first 100 days in office.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham told host Chris Wallace that Biden started off his presidency straying away from the tone of his successful 2020 presidential campaign.

“During the campaign, he made us all believe Joe Biden would be the moderate choice … that court-packing was a bonehead idea,” Graham said. “All of a sudden we have a commission to change the structure of the Supreme Court. Making DC a state … I think that’s a very radical idea that will change the makeup of the United States Senate.”

He added: “AOC [Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York] said his first 100 days exceeded her expectations. That’s all you need to know.”

Graham quickly laced into Biden’s overall performance.

“I think he’s been a very destabilizing president,” Graham said. “And economically, he’s throwing a wet blanket over the recovery, wanting to raise taxes in a large amount and regulate America basically out of business, so I’m not very impressed with the first 100 days.”

Biden supports raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent to fund his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill, but he is open to negotiations with GOP lawmakers.

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

The conservative senator then derided the president as “a disaster on foreign policy.”

“The border is in chaos, the Iranians are off the map, he’s opening up negotiations with the Iranian regime and they haven’t done a d— thing to change,” he said. “Afghanistan’s going to fall apart. Russia and China are already pushing him around, so I’m very worried.”

Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s immigration policies, including their approach to housing the unaccompanied minors who have fled to the US-Mexico border in recent months.

Conservatives have also cast doubt on Biden’s timetable to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, along with his long-term approach for dealing with Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China.

As Biden approaches his 100th day in office, a new Fox News poll shows Biden with a 54 percent job approval rating, while 43 percent disapproved of the president’s performance.

Graham expressed that he was in the latter category.

“I like Joe Biden, but I’m in the 43 percent,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider