President Joe Biden to address House Democrats after a rough week for the GOP

LEESBURG, Va. — President Joe Biden will address House Democrats on Thursday here at their annual policy retreat as a partisan battle rages miles away in the Capitol over border security and aid for Ukraine and Israel — issues that will be critical in the 2024 elections.

Biden is expected to rally Democrats as they seek to win just a handful of seats needed to reclaim control of the House majority this fall. His appearance comes during an embarrassing week for House Republicans: They failed by a single vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas after three GOP defections. Minutes later, the House failed to pass aid for Israel.

Senate GOP leaders, meanwhile, walked away from a bipartisan asylum and border deal this week that they had helped negotiate, giving Democrats an opening to go on offense on a usually vexing campaign issue.

“The events of this week have once again established that there’s a clear contrast between House Democrats and our extreme MAGA Republican counterparts,” Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York said at the party’s meeting at the Lansdowne Resort in northern Virginia. “House Democrats will continue to choose commonsense solutions to solving problems on behalf of hardworking American families. House Republicans continue to choose chaos.”

But the 81-year-old president must also assuage nagging concerns about his age, fitness for office and lackluster poll numbers that risk dragging down congressional Democrats.

During campaign events Wednesday, Biden twice mentioned the late German chancellor Helmut Kohl rather than former Chancellor Angela Merkel while recounting a 2021 conversation. It marked the second time this week Biden had recalled speaking with a European leader who had died years earlier.

The House Democrats’ campaign chief this cycle, Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington, said some Democrats facing tough races, known as frontliners, may campaign with Biden while others may not.

“So we expect that candidates are going to run campaigns based on what they think is right for their district. … Each of these districts is very different,” DelBene said.

Asked about whether he’s concerned that young and Black voters are souring on Biden, one of Biden’s closest allies rejected the notion.

“When I talk to those young people, they are all in for Joe Biden. And I keep hearing that he’s lost the youth vote. I keep hearing he’s lost the Black vote. South Carolina increased Black participation in their primary by 30%. And Joe Biden came out with 96% of the vote,” Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., told reporters at the issues conference.

“The proof is in the pudding,” added the longtime South Carolina congressman, who is 83 years old.

After Republican leaders abandoned the Senate border deal this week, the Biden administration signaled it’s considering taking executive action to halt record illegal migration across the southern border, U.S. officials told NBC News.

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