President Biden marked his first year in office Wednesday by saying his administration still needs to get inflation and COVID-19 under control, but boasted that he made “enormous progress.”
Facing embarrassing losses in Congress this week and rising frustration over the pandemic, Mr. Biden vowed to “stay on this track.”
“I didn’t overpromise,” Mr. Biden said at a rare news conference in the East Room of the White House. “But I have, probably, outperformed what anybody thought [would’ve] happened.”
The president acknowledged “a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country,” and ha blamed the surge of the new omicron variant of COVID-19.
“For many of us, it’s been too much to bear,” Mr. Biden said.
On inflation, which has hit a 40-year high of 7%, the president put most of the onus on the Federal Reserve to bring rising prices under control.
It was the president’s second solo press conference in the U.S. in his first year.
The president said he will shift gears and try to pass smaller portions of his stalled $1.8 trillion “Build Back Better” bill, which has faced opposition from all Republicans and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. He said he hopes to still push forward this year with a portion amounting to roughly $500 billion for climate change and energy policies, as well as another piece for early education.
“It’s clear to me that we’re probably going to have to break it up,” Mr. Biden said. “I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, and come back and fight for” other elements after the mid-term elections.
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