President Biden does not expect to be able to codify Roe v. Wade into law despite Republicans poor performance in the midterms, he said Monday.
Biden made the comments during a press conference following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali. Biden had previously vowed to codify Roe after the midterms if Democrats kept control of Congress, but Republicans appear poised to take the House.
“Mr. President, what should Americans expect from Congress as it relates to abortion rights after the midterms?” a reporter shouted.
“I don’t think they can expect much of anything other than we’re going to maintain our positions,” Biden responded. “I’m not going to get into more questions. I shouldn’t even answer your question.”
“I don’t think there’s enough votes to codify unless something happens unusual in the House,” he continued. “I think we’re going to come very close in the house, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
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As of Monday morning, Republicans have won 212 seats in the House to Democrats’ 203. Only 10 races remain toss-ups, and Republican candidates are leading in seven of those races. The party needs to secure only 3 to ensure a slim majority in the chamber.
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“In these midterm elections it is so critical to elect more Democratic Senators to the United States Senate and more Democrats to keep control of the House of Representatives,” Biden said prior to Election Day. “If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade.”
Biden had said he would sign the bill on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January.
Democrats sought to make abortion the central issue for the 2022 midterms after the Supreme Court overruled Roe in June.
Abortion policy now rests on state governments, with red states enacting near-total bans and blue states enshrining abortion access in law.