The legislative branch may be in recess, but the executive and judicial branches are in full focus this week in Washington D.C.
Here are three things to watch this week on the political front.
President Biden surveys hurricane damage
President Biden is heading to Puerto Rico and Florida this week to tour the damage from Hurricane Ian. The storm has left at least 88 people dead and left more than one million Americans without power.
Biden has promised at least $60 million in disaster relief funding, and the visit provides an opportunity to coordinate federal, state, and local responses to the storm's destruction.
Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have spoken several times in recent days in order to coordinate their efforts, according to reports. Biden told reporters that he was open to meeting in person with DeSantis, who is thought to be planning a 2024 presidential run on the GOP ticket.
The Supreme Court of the United States returned from its summer break on Monday after a controversial previous term that ended in June.
Chief Justice John Roberts will oversee an upcoming schedule that puts Americans' voting rights, climate regulations, and other issues on the docket, Politico reported.
The court has faced intense political scrutiny in recent months, particularly following the court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year. That decision became one of the top issues that Democrats brought to the campaign trail in state and congressional races.
Last week, President Biden ushered in a new era of strategic cooperation with 14 Pacific island nations by signing the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that aims to bolster economic and technological ties between the U.S. and the Indo-Pacific islands while also countering China's influence.
Concerns about China's power in the region have grown, particularly after Chinese Secretary General Xi Jinping ordered military exercises around Taiwan.
Last month, Biden said on CBS News that the U.S. would defend Taiwan should Xi invade the democratic island. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stopped short of endorsing Biden's view in an interview with CNN but reiterated the U.S.'s support for Taiwan.
“In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, we’re committed to helping Taiwan develop the capability to defend itself," Austin told CNN. "And that work has gone on over time and will continue into the future."
Kevin Cirilli is a visiting media at the Atlantic Council's Global China Hub and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. Follow him on LinkedIn here.