Can Joe Biden’s Aid Package Pass? Plus, a Major Setback for Donald Trump
Author: Greg Valliere
October 20, 2023
PRESIDENT BIDEN DID AN ADEQUATE JOB LAST NIGHT, describing the very high stakes for Israel and Ukraine, but there’s such dysfunction on Capitol Hill that U.S. aid could stall. And it’s not just because of warring Republicans; there’s the threat that Democrats will view the funding bill as a “Christmas tree” that can be loaded up with lots of new spending.
IN DECADES OF FOLLOWING WASHINGTON, we never have seen a crisis like this one. The most serious issue is the possibility that Israel will face new fronts — from rockets launched in Yemen, from Hezbollah in Lebanon and the greatest risk of all — a more overt challenge from Iran. The threat to Ukraine can be contained this winter but the threat to Israel is unpredictable and imminent.
THIS WEEK ENDS WITH TWO CLEAR TRENDS: First, Hamas and the fanatics have won the Arab Street, thanks largely to the Gaza hospital bombing that may or may not have been from Israel. Experts who have seen the evidence blame the shadowy Islamic Jhiad, but the incident highlights that opinions have irreparably hardened. Second, there’s a growing suspicion that Congress is so dysfunctional that Washington’s aid package could stall.
THE INSANITY IN THE HOUSE now includes personal and ugly threats aimed at members who have rejected the candidacy of Rep. Jim Jordan, and it’s difficult to see how this gets resolved. Jordan has actually lost support in recent days, as members reject his hardball tactics. The impasse is still another reason to believe that a final Israel-Ukraine funding bill could be delayed.
THERE’S NO CHANCE THAT AN AID PACKAGE CAN MOVE WITHOUT A HOUSE SPEAKER, and while support for aid to Israel is strong in both houses, there’s only lukewarm backing in the House for Ukraine. And Democrats asserted this week that once a bill gets moving, it should contiain major new social spending, including new funds for child care. A bidding war looms.
WASHINGTON USUALLY FIXATES ON DEADLINES, so here we go again: — a Nov. 17 deadline to complete action on a budget. If there’s no bill by then, a government shutdown could occur. There’s no way a complete budget can be finished within a month, which means there could be still another extension — until the Christmas week or later — or there will be a shutdown and no military aid bill.
BOTTOM LINE: Eventually a huge aid package for Israel and Ukraine will win enactment, but perceptions are very, very important — and the perception in much of the world may begin to question whether Washington has the willpower to act. This city seems to be lurching off the rails, and world leaders may sense this.
* * * * *
A SERIOUS SETBACK FOR DONALD TRUMP: The former president seemed to be leading a charmed life this past summer, as his poll numbers surged and his nomination seemed virtually certain. But suddenly Trump faces a serious challenge — the erratic Sidney Powell has agreed to testify against him.
THIS MAY BE THE BREAK THAT PROSECUTORS HAVE SOUGHT, leading many analysts to suspect that Powell, Trump’s former lawyer, has damning testimony that will be used against Trump and others like Rudy Giuliani on charges that Trump sought to overturn Georgia’s election results. This is the first time that anyone who was closely tied to his attempts to stay in power has reached a cooperation deal with prosecutors.
TRUMP NOW FACES 91 separate indictments in several sweeping cases. We’re constantly asked — if Trump is found guilty on just a handful of these cases, could he still serve as president if re-elected? Most legal experts say yes. Could Trump serve as president even if appeals are exhausted and he’s jailed? Yes, those experts say.
THE GREATEST THREAT TO TRUMP is that many of his former aides are scared that they will have to do serious jail time unless they cooperate with prosecutors. But we reiterate that Donald Trump is a master at dragging out legal appeals for years and years, and we also reiterate that Trump could be president while jailed. The U.S. political instability will persist.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2023 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.