President Biden is to say Wednesday that he’s used the first 100 days of his presidency to try to restore faith in the idea that the U.S. can deliver for its people amid various crises that have largely defined his early days in office.
“We have to prove democracy still works. That our government still works - and can deliver for the people,” Mr. Biden said in prepared remarks for his address to a joint session of Congress. “In our first 100 days together, we have acted to restore the people’s faith in our democracy to deliver.”
The president says he inherited a “nation in crisis” with the coronavirus pandemic, associated economic fallout, and Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Now - after just 100 days - I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he says in the speech excerpts. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”
He touts progress on coronavirus vaccinations and an economy that’s continuing to inch back from the worst of the COVID-19-related damage.
Mr. Biden is using the address, which will be sparsely attended due to coronavirus restrictions, to formally unveil his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan.”
The proposal steers additional federal funds to social programs like child care, paid family and medical leave, and free community college and extends popular tax credits largely enjoyed by low-to-middle income households.
To pay for the plan, Mr. Biden wants to hike taxes on the wealthy and investors — a move Republicans say will sap the budding economy and discourage investment at a perilous time.
The president plans to tout his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package as a “blue-collar blueprint to build America,” according to the speech excerpts.
Mr. Biden also plans to prod Congress to act on policing, immigration, and gun control legislation, among other issues, in his speech ahead of his 100th day in office on Thursday.
Republicans and some Democrats have balked at all the authorized and proposed spending in Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda since he took office, which now adds up to about $6 trillion when combined with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March.
Democrats largely held their tongue and voted for the relief plan, which passed without a single Republican vote.
Mr. Biden‘s party has generally praised his “families” plan as well, but members are already crafting revisions and additions to get their pet priorities attached to the package in areas like prescription drug prices and Medicare.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is delivering the GOP response to the quasi-State of the Union Address, said former President Trump helped lay the groundwork for the booming pre-COVID economy and progress on vaccines.
“This administration inherited a tide that had already turned,” Mr. Scott says in excerpts of his prepared remarks. “Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you — the American people.”