President Joe Biden plans to offer an optimistic vision of a country well on its way to recovery amid a once-in-a-century pandemic, while pitching his latest $2 trillion dollar proposal to lawmakers – including resistant Republicans – and the public during his first address to a joint session of Congress.
“100 days since I took the oath of office — lifted my hand off our family Bible — and inherited a nation in crisis. The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden will say Wednesday night in the House chamber, according to excerpts released by the White House.
He adds: “Now — after just 100 days — I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”
Biden’s presidential report, scheduled well after his recent predecessors’ delivered their annual assessments to lawmakers, was timed as a platform to roll out his social spending package, the $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan.” Along with the $2.25 trillion “American Jobs Plan,” the two packages represent his “Build Back Better Agenda.”
Both are being sold under a broad definition of “infrastructure,” which has GOP lawmakers howling and standing firm in opposition. That likely will force Democrats to use a fast-track rule to pass one or both using only their votes.
Biden will also deliver an economic message, speaking to the financial pain people felt before the pandemic and during it, according to his prepared remarks.
“Now, I know some of you at home wonder whether these jobs are for you. You feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing. Let me speak directly to you,” he will say. “The Americans Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.”
Biden’s speech will be very different from previous events. The House of Representatives will host an in-person audience of only 200 people, while 1,600 have attended in the past. No guests were invited, including for the first lady’s traditional box.