The Countdown: Emerging variant, crippled economy could spell trouble for Biden Administration

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Saturday, December 4, 2021
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The pandemic, the emerging omicron variant, and the crippled economy could spell trouble for the Biden Administration. Bill and the political team explain.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- "The Countdown" is here to get you caught up with all of the day's political news.

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Today's political headlines:

Pandemic latest

ABC New Political Director Rick Klein says with coronavirus being a fact of life, the "idea of a mission accomplished moment... that is a distant dream." A jobs report today showed the U.S. economy is "markedly stronger" than it was a year ago with 210,000 new jobs in November and an unemployment rate at 4.2%. In terms of President Biden finding a way to push his agenda forward during this lull in the economy, Political Analyst Hank Sheinkopf says the President may forever be known as "bad luck Biden" because he "can't get anything going in his direction."

Biden signs stopgap funding bill to keep government running

President Joe Biden has signed into law the stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running through Feb. 18. The White House thanked congressional leaders for their work - they had defused a partisan standoff after Senate Republicans tried to hold off swift passage over federal vaccine mandates.

Earlier Friday, Biden said it was worth praising bipartisanship, but "funding the government isn't a great achievement, it's the bare minimum of what needs to get done." The bill keeps the government running for 11 more weeks, generally at current spending levels, while adding $7 billion to aid Afghanistan evacuees.

Stocks slump after murky jobs report as markets swing

Wall Street closed out a bumpy week with more losses on Friday following a mixed reading on U.S. jobs markets that investors said was tough to parse. The S&P 500 gave up an early gain and closed 0.8% lower. The benchmark index is coming off a jolting stretch where it swerved by at least 1.2% in five straight days, pounded by uncertainty about how the newest coronavirus variant and about when the Federal Reserve will halt its support for markets. Treasury yields fell, rose and then fell again as investors struggled to square what the jobs report means the Fed will do.