Biden Resists Bailout Tag; To help Ukraine divide the GOP; The US could ban TikTok

Whatever you do, don’t call it a bank bailout.

Americans grabbed their wallets this week when the now-shuttered Silicon Valley Bank announced they had suffered an after-tax loss of $1.8 billion.

That The White House worked feverishly to avoid comparisons to the 2008 financial crisis and any mention of the b-word as President Joe Biden defended his administration’s actions to bail out depositors.

And which USA TODAY exclusively reported On Friday, both the Democratic National Committee and the president’s 2020 campaign pledged to return about $44,000 in donations linked to SVB leaders.

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Elsewhere, the 2024 campaign saw an intriguing wrinkle emerge on the GOP side as Ukraine increasingly becomes the dividing line for presidential hopefuls.

Republicans have traditionally been the party known to oppose Russian aggression, but a more skeptical wing has emerged thanks in large part to former President Donald Trump.

TikTok remains at the forefront of US leaders’ minds as the Biden administration seeks to take on the social media giant.

What happened this week in politics?

  • The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank hit a nerve in Washington and on Wall Street as Biden avoids calling his administration’s actions a bailout

  • US military aid to Ukraine is emerging as one of the first and most critical differences between the current and potential pool of GOP presidential candidates.

  • The Biden administration is threatening to ban TikTok if its Chinese owners don’t sell their stake in the video-sharing app.

  • Off-year elections in three states could give Republicans a boost or offer Democrats some much-needed lessons ahead of 2024.

  • Black voters are the most loyal voting bloc for Democrats, and a survey provided exclusively to USA TODAY sheds light on what their top priorities are.

The White House: ‘This is not a bailout’

The Biden administration helped SVB depositors by using bank premiums and interest earned on funds invested in US government bonds.

They claim that this is not related to time Congress bought failing assets from major banks and other financial institutions because the taxpayers are not on the hook.

Money: SVB fallout. Yellen tells Congress banking system ‘remains healthy’, savings ‘remain safe’

More: Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank executives gave thousands to Democrats and Republicans

“This is not a bailout,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “This is not 2008 at all.”

But liberal commentator Paul Krugman, an economist, gave Biden a sideways glance. He said where the money comes from “doesn’t change the reality” that the government bailed out depositors when it shouldn’t have.

“Yes, it was a bailout,” Krugman said.

Ukraine splits GOP 2024 hopefuls

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not yet a presidential candidate, but he focused on a growing gap in the possible 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict for ‘as long as it takes,’ without any defined goals or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges,” DeSantis said in a statement this week.

Helps Ukraine in its war against Russia is becoming a dividing line among the GOP.

Choice: GOP 2024. Who’s running? Who hasn’t announced? Who is considering?

More: Trump’s blistering attack on Gov. Ron DeSantis continues. Will he ever fight back?

You have DeSantis and others, such as Sen. Tim Scott, on one side voicing skepticism about the growing costs. Similarly, Trump has said that Europe must foot more of the bill for Ukraine’s defense (and forego past disagreements with the US).

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Others, like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, emphasize that China is the biggest threat.

The traditional GOP hawks, namely former Vice President Mike Pence and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who are running for president, argue that the United States must stand firm in its support for Ukraine.

Dems, GOP eager for ‘off-year’ races

Most voters don’t want an election in 2023, but statewide races in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi cannot be overlooked.

The latter two favor Republicans, according to political forecasters, which could mark a shift in momentum after a midterm election that failed to deliver the sweeping majority the GOP had hoped for.

Policy: Kentucky lawmakers pass bill to make state ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’

More: Arizona’s governors say the state lacks the expertise to carry out executions

But Democrats are not letting the “off-year” election go down without a fight as they prepare for a tough Senate map in 2024.

The best bet is Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat who has unusually strong approval ratings in the state, which Trump won decisively in 2020.

Democrats are also openly suggesting Mississippi could be an upset given the low approval ratings of Republican Tate Reeves, but GOP officials say that’s a “mirage.”

What do black voters want?

If Biden and the Democrats want to make it through 2024, they might want to pay close attention to what their most loyal base is.

WASHINGTON, DC: Voting rights activists, led by US Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH) (C), stage a protest on Capitol Hill on July 15, 2021 (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC: Voting rights activists, led by US Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH) (C), stage a protest on Capitol Hill on July 15, 2021 (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

IN a survey of black voters that was shared exclusively with USA TODAYBlack to the Future Action Fund and HIT Strategies found that 44% said gun control legislation was a top priority.

Nation: Black women coined the term ‘reproductive justice.’ Now it’s driving a national conversation

But most telling is the issue of crime and public safety continues to be a wedge issue for Republicans.

The survey found that 35% of black voters want to shift funding to the police for preventative measures such as mental health and social work. Only 20% wanted to increase police funding to reduce crime.

TikTok is taking off

One of the few areas of bipartisanship between US officials this year have struck down on TikTok.

A growing concern is that the Chinese-owned app — downloaded by more than 100 million people in America — is being used to spy on private user data and spread misinformation.

Technology: TikTok says the Biden administration is threatening a US ban if Chinese owners don’t sell stake

More: Don’t ban TikTok from Americans’ phones, says NH governor and possible 2024 GOP nominee

The White House joined that chorus on Wednesday, when it reportedly threatened with a total ban if its owners do not sell their shares in the company.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu participates in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors Association conference on Nov. 15, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu participates in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors Association conference on Nov. 15, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.

But some US leaders aren’t sure blocking TikTok is the best idea.

“That app should not be banned in USA,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, told USA TODAY.

By the way, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress next week.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Has Biden saved SVB?; Ukraine splits GOP field; US may ban TikTok

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