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With three weeks to go until Election Day for the midterm races, President Joe Biden on Tuesday talked up his party’s support for abortion rights, as Republicans continue to seize on raging U.S. inflation in their campaigns.

Biden said it’s “so critical to elect more Democratic senators to the United States Senate — and more Democrats to keep control of the House of Representatives.”

“Folks, if we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” he said in a speech in Washington, D.C., referring to the landmark 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion nationwide.

“And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January — 50 years after Roe was first decided as the law of the land.”

In order to codify Roe into law, Democrats would need to secure 60 votes due to current Senate rules, with some of those votes potentially coming from Republican senators who sometimes buck their party.

In his remarks, the president also criticized Republican approaches to the issue, such as a bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina that would prohibit abortion nationwide after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest or risks to the physical health of the mother.

Graham’s measure, announced Sept. 13 after the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, isn’t likely to pass the Senate given that some Republicans don’t support it, but Democrats have seized on it as a talking point for their midterm campaigns.

Related: Lindsey Graham’s corporate donors find themselves linked to his controversial abortion bill. Why ‘everyone’s playing gotcha with political spending.’

Biden’s Tuesday speech came as Republicans appear to have regained some momentum in their push to seize control of the U.S. House and Senate. A New York Times/Sienna College poll released Monday found that 44% of likely voters said economic concerns were most important, up from 36% in July and well above any other issue.

“Economic factors appear to be refocusing voters on inflation and high fuel costs in the final stretch of the cycle, leading us to believe a GOP sweep is the most likely outcome,” a team of Raymond James analysts focused on Washington policy said in a note on Tuesday.

See: Betting markets now see Republicans winning Senate in midterm elections, as GOP slightly favored for first time in 2 months

In a bid to lower gasoline prices
RB00,
-1.61%

before the midterms, the Biden administration this week plans to announce a sale of oil
CL00,
-3.58%

from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources.

The sale would market the remaining 14 million barrels from Biden’s historic release of 180 million barrels that he announced in March and that began in May.

Read more: Oil futures move lower as fears of a recession outweigh support from tight supplies

Republicans are keeping up their attacks on Biden and his fellow Democrats over how they’ve managed the U.S. economy, with the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying in a statement on Monday that the Biden White House is “living in an economic fantasy.”

“Between insisting ‘our economy is strong as hell‘ in the face of the worst inflation in 40 years and a looming recession, boasting about gas prices as energy costs continue to soar, and gaslighting about whose policies fueled inflation, Joe Biden’s White House is completely out of touch with most Americans’ everyday economic reality,” the statement said.

On Thursday, the latest reading for the consumer price index showed high inflation persisting, with so-called core CPI climbing to a new cycle peak.

U.S. stocks
DJIA,
+1.21%

traded mostly higher Tuesday, but the S&P 500
SPX,
+1.27%

has lost 22% so far this year.


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