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WASHINGTON—President Biden on Friday signed legislation to prevent a nationwide strike by railroad workers, the last step in resolving a long-running dispute between workers and major freight railroads. With his signature, Mr. Biden ordered unions to implement a labor contract mediated by his administration that four unions representing more than half of unionized rail workers had rejected after the deal was struck in September. The agreement doesn’t include an expansion of paid sick leave benefits sought by unions and some lawmakers. It marks the first such intervention in a railroad labor dispute in three decades.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with President Biden at the White House on Thursday is intended in part at reaffirming the U.S.-France alliance. WASHINGTON—President Biden said he was open to making concessions to American allies who have objected to new U.S. subsidies for North American manufacturers, but he didn’t commit to specifics after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron , as the two leaders sought to project unity following months of tensions. Mr. Biden said he makes no apology for the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides subsidies to U.S. manufacturers and tax incentives for electric vehicles and other products that are assembled in North America. But he said changes may be needed to ensure the law doesn’t have unintended consequences.
President Biden turned 80 on Sunday, becoming the first octogenarian to hold the office, as he mulls a re-election bid and faces fresh concerns about his age among voters and some Democratic officials. Mr. Biden, who had plans to celebrate with a family brunch, was the oldest president to assume office and, if re-elected, would be nearly a decade older than the oldest second-term president, Ronald Reagan , who was 73 years old at his 1985 swearing-in. Mr. Biden’s recent verbal miscues have added to concerns from some in his party about his age, and polls show many voters also have doubts.
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WASHINGTON—Republicans’ narrow control of the House of Representatives will usher in a return to divided government in Washington next year, likely shattering the chances of any major legislation, stoking divisions within the GOP and putting President Biden on defense as the new Congress investigates his administration. Mr. Biden, who downsized his agenda to get bills through a Congress narrowly controlled by Democrats, will now have to contend with House Republicans who have said they plan to pressure him to cut government spending and make other policy changes by threatening to withhold votes to keep the government open or to ensure that the U.S. meets its debt obligations.
Vice President Kamala Harris will spend the final days of the midterms campaign seeking to rally Democrats around the issue of abortion access, as some polls show the issue losing potency in energizing voters and economic anxiety giving Republicans momentum ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Ms. Harris’s efforts come as Democrats grow concerned that rising inflation and gas prices are overshadowing abortion as a priority for many voters. A Wall Street Journal poll conducted about two weeks before Election Day suggests that abortion rights are less important in voting decisions than voters indicated in the summer, after the Supreme Court’s decision in June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion and returned the issue to states to decide.
WASHINGTON—The public is split over President Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll, but groups that are key to Democrats’ chances in the midterm elections—Black, Latino and younger voters—strongly support the program. Forty-eight percent of the public favors Mr. Biden’s proposal to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for borrowers with federal student loans who make less than $125,000 a year. Forty-seven percent of those polled said they oppose the program, which is temporarily on hold while a court considers a legal challenge. The one-percentage-point gap is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The remaining respondents either didn’t have an opinion or declined to answer the question.
Latinos from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have moved to Wilkes-Barre in recent years. The city hosted a Multicultural Parade & Festival in September. Welcome to a special edition of WSJ’s politics newsletter looking at how immigration is influencing campaign politics far from the southern U.S. border. To receive our weekday edition and future special editions, sign up here. Three Questions for WSJ’s Tarini PartiWSJ: How is immigration affecting a congressional race in Pennsylvania, far from the U.S. southern border?
Overall consumer prices rose 6.2% in September from a year earlier, the same pace as in August. A mixed bag of new economic data released this week gave President Biden some bright spots to tout ahead of the midterm elections while also handing Republicans fresh fodder for their contention that Democrats have hurt families’ finances. The figures showed that the economy continues to grow but also included signs that a slowdown could be coming. Inflation, which administration officials in the past had projected would ebb, remains near a four-decade high despite easing from its peak in June.
WILKES-BARRE, Pa.—More than a thousand miles from the southern U.S. border, the ripple effects of an influx of immigrants into this former coal-mining city could help decide one of the most competitive congressional races in the country next month. Jim Bognet, a political appointee in the Trump administration and the Republican nominee for this area’s House seat, is making the case that the surge in illegal immigration under President Biden has brought crime and drugs to Pennsylvania’s eighth congressional district. There is little evidence connecting the issues, according to research from the Federal Reserve and academic studies, though many voters echo similar concerns.
PANMUNJOM, Korean Demilitarized Zone—Vice President Kamala Harris visited the heavily fortified area that separates the Koreas and condemned the Kim Jong Un regime, calling its weapons tests destabilizing. “In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human-rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability,” Ms. Harris said in a speech Thursday.
TOKYO—Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking aboard a naval destroyer in Japan, called out China for what she called disturbing behavior and said the U.S. would deepen unofficial ties with Taiwan. Ms. Harris’s speech followed a series of meetings with allies in which she sought to reassure them of Washington’s security commitments amid escalating tensions with China and North Korea, which fired ballistic missiles a few hours after the speech.
TOKYO—Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking aboard a naval destroyer in Japan, called out China for what she called disturbing behavior and said the U.S. would deepen unofficial ties with Taiwan. Ms. Harris’s speech followed a series of meetings with allies in which she sought to reassure them of Washington’s security commitments amid escalating tensions with China and North Korea, which fired ballistic missiles a few hours after the speech.
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