Democrats in Congress meet today amid concerns over Biden reelection

Washington — Democrats in Congress are meeting Tuesday as lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill this week for the first time following President Biden’s calamitous debate last month, which has prompted concern among the party about the path forward — and some calls for the Mr. Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race. 

House Democrats met Tuesday morning outside of the Capitol walls, gathering for a closed-door caucus meeting where they’re expected to discuss the strategy going forward.

While the House has been the source of sporadic calls for Mr. Biden to drop out of the race, a number of House Democrats have also been among the most vocal supporters of the president’s reelection. Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, who said earlier this week that the president should leave the race during a private conference call, told reporters Tuesday morning that he supports Mr. Biden, saying he’s made clear that he’s running, “and to me that’s dispositive — we have to support him.”

On Monday night, Mr. Biden also received a boost from members of the Congressional Black Caucus after joining their call to talk about the election. And even among some progressives who often break with the president, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, there have been expressions of support. 

Ocasio-Cortez told reporters that she had spoken with the president over the weekend and he made clear he is not leaving the race. 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks to reporters as he leaves a meeting at the U.S. Capitol on July 8, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks to reporters as he leaves a meeting at the U.S. Capitol on July 8, 2024, in Washington, D.C. 

Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

“The matter is closed,” she said. “Joe Biden is our nominee. He is not leaving this race. He is in this race and I support him.”

Most notably, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries reiterated his support for the president on Monday, saying, “I made clear publicly the day after the debate that I support President Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket. My position has not changed.” Still, much of the caucus remained in limbo heading into Tuesday’s meeting.  

Senate Democrats are also set to meet later Tuesday for their weekly caucus lunch meeting. And despite some clear statements of support — and a lack thereof — in the House, strong commitments either way have been harder to come by in the more deliberative upper chamber. No Senate Democrats have publicly called for the president to step aside, while some are taking a wait-and-see approach. 

Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat and the president pro tempore of the chamber, said in a statement on Monday that while she has “strong respect” for the president, he “must do more to demonstrate he can campaign strong enough to beat Donald Trump.”

“President Biden must seriously consider the best way to preserve his incredible legacy and secure it for the future,” she said. 

Accordingly, attention will be on the Senate, where Mr. Biden represented Delaware for more than three decades, in the coming days. 

The meetings come after the president sent a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday saying he is “firmly committed” to staying in the race and making clear that he wouldn’t be running again if he “did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Nikole Killion and Ellis Kim contributed reporting. 

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