PRESIDENT Joe Biden gave his first speech before Congress nearly 100 days into office. Here’s what he said and what it means for the country.
Biden delivered his speech to the joint session of Congress at 9pm ET, taking place the night before his 100th day in office.
The speech is not a State of the Union because presidents do not deliver the address until their second year as president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited Biden to address Congress.
“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way’. Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Ms Pelosi wrote.
“In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” she added.
Biden discussed the American Families Plan. He signed the plan into law in March which “continues to provide immediate relief to American families and communities.”
The plan is described as an “investment in our kids, our families and our economic future.”
Follow our Joe Biden live blog below for the very latest news and updates…
BIDEN STUMBLES SEVERAL TIMES IN HISTORIC SPEECH
President Joe Biden, who has been vocal about his stutter in the hopes of helping others overcome their fear of public speaking, stumbled through the word “escalate” when recalling his call with Putin.
“With regard to Russia, I made very clear to Putin that we’re not going to seek escalation, excuse me” Biden said while taking a while to get over the last word.
“I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences if they turn out to be true,” he said in the sentence’s entirety.
“And they turned out to be true,” he said regarding the sanctions the US put in place on Russia earlier this month.
BIDEN WARNS RUSSIA THE US WILL NOT TOLERATE ‘ESCALATION’
“I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences,” Biden said in regards to a phone call he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
His remark comes weeks after the US sacked Moscow with a number of sanctions regarding allegations of meddling in U.S. elections, human rights abuses and cyberattacks on American networks.
BIDEN PUSHES SPENDING AS PATRIOTISM
Biden pushed for increased funding into the American economy as a form of patriotism.
“American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products made in America that create American jobs,” Biden said. “The way it should be.”
“Now – I know some of you at home are wondering 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 added.
“Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic growth for years to come. These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
BIDEN COMBATS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Biden announced a number of initiatives carried out by the federal government that would help vaccinate Americans in the hopes of reaching herd immunity.
“We’re setting up community vaccination sites and are deploying mobile units into hard-to-reach areas,” Biden said Wednesday night.
“After I promised 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in 100 days – we will have provided over 220 million Covid shots in 100 days,” the president said.
“We’re marshaling every federal resource. We’ve gotten the vaccine to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers.”
“Today, 90 percent of Americans now live within 5 miles of a vaccination site,” Biden added. “Everyone over the age of 16, everyone – is now eligible and can get vaccinated right away. So get vaccinated now.”
BIDEN CALLS FOR NEW ERA OF SPENDING
The president said the government needs to revisit how it spends money in a time of mass unemployment in the midst of a pandemic.
“We have to prove democracy still works. That our government still works, and can deliver for the people,” Biden said.
“I can report to the nation, America is on the move again,” Biden said.
JOE BIDEN ARRIVES ON THE HOUSE FLOOR
President Joe Biden has showed up on the House floor amidst a crowd of applause as he is expected to address Congress in his first speech to the Legislative branch.
He appeared on the floor after another historic moment – the initial speech was given by two women for the first time in history.
Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not only opened remarks to Congress, but they will be behind the president as he announces his slate of plans for the next four years.
LAWMAKERS BEGIN FILING IN AHEAD OF BIDEN’S SPEECH
Lawmakers are piling into the House floor ahead of President Joe Biden’s historic first speech to Congress.
Nearly 100 days into office, Biden will be giving his first speech to Congress and is expected to go over a number of topics in his speech, especially in regards to how he would combat the coronavirus pandemic, his infrastructure bill and the American Families Plan.
BIDEN “DIDN’T KNOW HOW BAD OFF” COVID TRANSITION “WAS GOING TO BE”
President Joe Biden said during a closed-door meeting with reporters that his administration had no idea how behind they would be in tackling the coronavirus.
“So there was one thing that I was certain of, as it got worse and worse, is I had to do something about…COVID-19, and get something moving. But I didn’t know how bad off it was going to be,” he said.
“And the second thing was that there wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about larger initiatives that I had talked about through the campaign,” he said, “because it just became so clear so many people were hurting. I mean really hurting badly — being evicted from their homes.”
‘LITTLE TRANSITION TOOK PLACE’
In a private meeting ahead of his address, Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper that “little transition took place” when he became president.
Though the meeting was largely confidential, Tapper said Biden spoke briefly on the record.
He said Biden had told him: “When I came to office, we had a circumstance that – we didn’t have much access to information about what the state of play was in the various agencies.
“We didn’t have – in other words, there was little transition that took place.”
FIRST LADY’S VIRTUAL GUEST LIST
First Lady Jill Biden would traditionally have invited guests to join her in her viewing box for presidential speeches to Congress and other events of national importance.
However, due to Covid safety measures, her five guests for the president’s address tonight will be watching the speech remotely.
They “personify some of the issues or policies that will be addressed by the President in his speech”, according to a White House statement.
The guests are:
- Javier Quiroz Castro – Dreamer, DACA Recipient & Nurse
- Maria-Isabel Ballivian – Executive Director, Annandale Christian Community For Action (ACCA) Child Development Center
- Tatiana Washington – Gun Violence Prevention Advocate and Organizer
- Stella Keating – First Transgender Teen to Testify Before U.S. Senate
- Theron Rutyna – IT Director for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
‘DELIVERING REAL RESULTS’
The White House has said that Biden will state that “our government still works and can deliver for the people”.
He will say that in his first 100 days in office, he has “acted to restore the people’s faith in our democracy to deliver”.
“We’re vaccinating the nation. We’re creating hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he will add.
“We’re delivering real results people can see and feel in their own lives.
“Opening the doors of opportunity. Guaranteeing fairness and justice.”
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
For the first time in US history, the two people seated behind the president as he delivers his address will be women.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris will be seated on the House floor dais as Biden speaks.
They will be among only 200 people invited to listen to the speech – a stark contrast from the usual 1,600 that attend.
AMERICAN JOBS PLAN
In other excerpts released by the White House, we know that Biden will cover the American Jobs Plan.
He will say that many Americans feel “left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing”.
But he will highlight that independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic growth for years to come.
“These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced,” he will add.
“Nearly 90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan don’t require a college degree. 75% don’t require an associate’s degree.
“The Americans Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America. And, it recognizes something I’ve always said: Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class.”
TRUMP TO SPEAK HOURS AFTER BIDEN’S ADDRESS
Donald Trump will appear on Fox Business just hours after Biden’s speech tonight, The Hill reports.
The former president will speak with Maria Bartiromo early tomorrow morning to offer his reaction.
He will also weigh in on taxes and border controls, according to the network.
Trump will be on from 7am ET.
UPDATE ON COUNTRY’S FIGHT AGAINST COVID
The president will update Americans on the current condition of the nation, discussing the economy, policies and proposals for the next year.
Biden is expected to cover the country’s fight against coronavirus and its vaccination roll-out.
It is anticipated he will also speak about his $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
He may also discuss criminal justice reform after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
NO DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
There will not be a designated survivor for President Joe Biden’s address to Congress tonight due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A top official is usually chosen to stay in a safe location just in case some kind of unforeseen disaster strikes.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “There does not need to be a designated survivor because the Cabinet will be watching from their offices or home, but they will not be joining him for the speech.”
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE FOR FIRST TIME EVER
The president’s Congress speech live streams will have American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for the first time in history.
The White House said this is for increased “accessibility”.
The Biden administration has made accessibility a priority.
He tweeted earlier today: “To make tonight’s joint address accessible for all Americans, every White House livestream will have American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for the first time in history.”
HOW CAN I WATCH BIDEN’S SPEECH?
All major US networks will provide a stream of the address.
This includes CNN, Fox News and ABC News.
The address will also be broadcast online, via the official White House YouTube page.
All the network’s channels on the video sharing platform will also provide streams.
‘PERIL INTO POSSIBILITY’
The White House has released a few excerpts from Biden’s speech tonight.
He will touch on how America is “on the move again” and “turning peril into possibility”.
He will say: “As I stand here tonight, we are just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration.
“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.
“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 FIRST CONGRESS SPEECH
President Joe Biden is due to make his first speech to a joint session of Congress in just under an hour.
His address is just hours before his 100th day in the White House.
It airs at 9pm ET.
Load more entries…