President Biden used his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to make the case that massive investment on infrastructure, education, technical programs, and social services would ensure the United States emerges from the coronavirus epidemic in a stronger position than ever.
Working-class demands for stable paychecks, quality child care, and better schools informed the president's policies.
“We have to show them that they are wrong,” Biden said. “We have to show that democracy, our government, and our ability to provide for our people still works.”
Biden's nationally broadcast, prime-time address came as he neared the end of his first 100 days in office, which had been dominated by his attempts to extend economic relief, increase vaccine delivery, and put an end to the pandemic. Despite the fact that the danger isn't gone, Biden praised the inoculation program as "one of the greatest logistical successes our country has ever seen."
With nearly one-third of Americans vaccinated, Biden has begun to shift his focus toward a more aggressive agenda that, if realized, will make his presidency one of the most revolutionary in generations.
He declared, "America is on the move again." “Making adversity into opportunity, a crisis into an opportunity, and a loss into a strength.”
Due to pandemic limits, the president spoke to just about half of the 535 members of Congress in the House chamber, rather than the normal packed crowd of legislators, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet ministers, military representatives, ambassadors, and other visitors.
Biden started by recognizing the historic moment portrayed by the two women on the dais behind him, “Madam Vice President” Kamala Harris and “Madam Speaker” of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). He claimed to be the first president to greet women in each of the seats reserved for the two people next in line for the presidency. To cheers, he said, "And it's about time."
Although Biden "seems like a decent guy" who speaks in "good words," Scott claims that Obama has struggled to fulfill his campaign pledge to repair the country's tensions, implying that Democrats in Congress "want to go it alone" on policy and dismissing the president's "so-called family initiative" as government overreach.
“The president's and his party's decisions are tearing us apart more and more,” Scott said.
House Democrats issued their own set of initiatives prior to Biden's speech, including making the expanded child tax credit permanent. The credit will be extended until 2025 under Biden's plan.
Though congressional Republicans proposed a scaled-back infrastructure package last week, indicating there might be space for bipartisan agreement, the White House's sweeping investments in employees and families are unlikely to gain bipartisan support. That leaves the so-called reconciliation mechanism in Congress, which helps the Senate to avoid filibuster attempts in order to pass budget-related legislation.