Oct 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night.
President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.

State of play for social-spending package: Expanding Medicare for dental and vision benefits, a priority for Sen. Bernie Sanders, is a "reach," Biden said, because "Manchin is opposed" ... Twelve weeks of paid family leave — whittled to four weeks ... Two years of free community college is now more Pell Grants: "I guarantee you, we're going to get free community college in the next several years."

Filibuster: Biden signaled openness to ending the Senate filibuster rule for voting rights legislation "and maybe more" issues.

Gas prices: "My guess is you’ll start to see gas prices come down ... in 2022. I don’t see anything that's going to happen in the meantime that's going to significantly reduce gas prices."

Taiwan: Biden punctured strategic ambiguity on coming to Taiwan's defense if China attacked: "Yes, we have a commitment to do that." A White House spokesperson told me: "The President was not announcing any change in our policy and there is no change in our policy." But Beijing will assume that's the real policy.

Go deeper: Biden on filibuster ... Biden on taxes ... Transcript.

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