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President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.

  • A collapse of any or all of his four urgent legislative priorities — infrastructure, reconciliation, government funding and the debt ceiling — would deal a severe blow to the underlying theory of Biden’s presidency.
  • He's already shaky: His approval rating is under water, the Afghanistan withdrawal was a debacle, the border is overwhelmed, and he’s made no progress in dealing with China.

The bottom line: He needs this badly.

Graphic: CNN

State of play: House leaders promised all week that they'll hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package tomorrow or Tuesday.

  • But with progressives still promising to vote against it, they plainly don’t have the votes.

Speaker Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference:

  • "I think we're in a very good place. I've always been very calm about this, because ... it always happens the same way — all this bluster and this and that, and who's there and who's there."

Go deeper: Biden steps into the breach

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Ted Cruz will lift his confirmation blockade for Biden’s ambassador to China

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) does not plan on stalling the confirmation of President Biden's ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, as he has done with dozens of other State Department nominees, according to a source familiar with the decision.

Why it matters: Burns, a former career diplomat widely viewed as one of Biden's most qualified nominees, will be tasked with managing the president's defining foreign-policy challenge: preventing "intense competition" with China from spiraling into outright conflict.

Updated 59 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.