A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
Following President Joe Biden’s announcement of a supplemental funding request for some $105 billion, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel to assist them in their respective wars with Russia and Hamas, all eyes will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday (October 31) when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss the request. The session will mark the first appearance by either man before Congress since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, and the escalating crisis prompted by the horrors of that day is sure to be discussed.
With the election exactly one year away on Sunday (November 5), Biden heads to Minnesota on Wednesday (November 1) after cancelling a planned visit to Colorado earlier this month amid the unfolding turmoil in the Middle East. The White House has announced few details regarding Biden’s program when he visits the Gopher State, but the visit will come on the heels of a primary challenge launched by Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips today. The trip also comes a day ahead of oral arguments on Thursday (November 2) in the Minnesota Supreme Court on whether Donald Trump should be blocked from appearing on the state’s presidential ballot under the 14th Amendment’s so-called insurrection clause. As the case is heard, Trump is headed to Texas on Thursday for an event in Houston as he plows ahead with his reelection effort despite his mounting legal woes.
In economic news, two major events are scheduled next week, starting on Wednesday (November 1) when the Fed announces its latest rate decision followed by a press conference with Chair Jerome Powell. In his last remarks before the blackout period leading up to the FOMC meeting, Powell signalled to an audience at the Economic Club of New York that a hold in rates was likely, while warning that growth and labor data may still lead to monetary policy tightening in the coming months. The Fed’s decision will be followed on Friday (November 3) by the closely-watched monthly employment report. Last month’s figures, which showed nonfarm payrolls increasing by 336,000 in September, defied market expectations and saw Biden once again tout the success of Bidenomics. And while the president would likely welcome another strong report, it will only add pressure on the Fed to raise rates as part of its efforts to slow the economy and ensure inflation has been dealt with once and for all.
The crisis in the Middle East looks set to dominate the international agenda again next week, as frantic negotiations to secure a humanitarian pause to get aid into Gaza coincide with the most recent signs that an Israeli ground operation could still come at any moment. This week’s overnight raids came despite suggestions that the US is pushing Netanyahu to delay an invasion to buy more time to secure the release of hostages being held by Hamas and prepare for the regional implications of such an operation.
Away from the crisis, Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the UK to lead the US delegation to the Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence being hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Bletchley Park on Wednesday and Thursday (November 1-2). Ahead of her participation in the main day on Thursday, Harris is set to deliver a ‘major’ policy address on AI in London on Wednesday.
Sunak’s hopes of using the summit to tout the UK as a global leader in AI safety regulation have been somewhat undermined in the lead up to the event by suggestions that high-profile European counterparts may stay away, while there’s reported unrest among certain lawmakers in his Conservative party at the prospect of a Chinese presence at the conference. The summit will be a welcome return to safe territory for the techy PM, though it remains to be seen whether he can convince fellow leaders to commit to a joint statement and make a real success of the event.
On the other side of the world, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who was feted by Biden at the White House this week, is scheduled to begin a four-day visit to China on Saturday (November 4) during which he will meet President Xi Jinping in Beijing before heading on to Shanghai. Albanese’s trip, the first by an Australian leader in seven years, is the result of his efforts to stabilize relations between Canberra and Beijing, particularly when it comes to trade, since taking office last May. And while tensions over issues such as human rights, Taiwan and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea continue, the trip marks a significant improvement in relations with the country’s biggest trading partner from a low point in 2020 when Australia triggered outrage in China by pushing for an independent international inquiry into the Covid-19 outbreak.