100 days into his presidency, President Joe Biden has already faced historic challenges. In his televised first address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, he laid out his plans to prepare the country for the future by strengthening infrastructure and families, and sharing some of his vision for America's place in the world. Here's a recap of the evening, and Biden's presidency so far.
One hundred days into his presidency, President Joe Biden has already faced historic challenges.
Last night, in his televised first address to a joint session of Congress, he laid out his plans to prepare the country for the future by strengthening infrastructure and families and sharing some of his vision for America's place in the world.
Yamiche Alcindor reports.
Pres. Joe Biden:
After just 100 days, I can report to the nation, America is on the move again.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
A pandemic, an economic crisis, and a racially and politically divided country still reeling from the siege at the Capitol.
We're coming for you!
On Inauguration Day three months ago, those were the immense challenges facing the country and President Joe Biden. Though those challenges remain, since that day, there have been historic achievements, disappointing losses and promises still unfulfilled.
Because of you, the American people, our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements this country has ever seen.
In his first address to Congress last night, Biden touted his administration's work building out plans to get more COVID-19 vaccine to Americans.
Now vaccinators have given more than 200 million shots.
Vice Pres. Joe Biden:
Go and get the vaccination.
The vice president votes in the affirmative, and the concurrent resolution as amended is adopted.
With Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote for the evenly divided Senate, Biden passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, the aim, trying to prevent even more economic devastation.
Since then, he's laid out plans for a $2 trillion jobs plan.
America is moving, moving forward, but we can't stop now.
Last night, Biden detailed another $1.8 trillion tax-and-spending package to help American children and families.
To win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment.
Many Democrats, including some of the most progressive, have praised the historic, FDR-sized spending.
Sen. Mitch McConnell:
Americans heard a lengthy liberal daydream.
But Republicans have widely opposed Biden's plans. Not one GOP lawmaker has voted for or even backed Biden's spending bills, despite Biden pledging unity on the campaign trail.
Sen. Tim Scott:
The actions of the president and his party are pulling us further and further apart.
In the Republican response to the president's speech, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said Biden's policies and spending packages are divisive.
It's a liberal wish list of big government waste, plus the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation.
Scott also blamed the Biden administration for not doing more to reopen schools and credit the Trump administration's vaccine work.
Biden has worked to roll back many of what he said were divisive policies from former President Donald Trump. He quickly lifted Trump bans on travel from Muslim-majority countries and transgender troops in the military. Then there are the campaign promises Biden has yet to fulfill.
I will reverse Trump's detrimental asylum policies, raise our target for refugees.
Despite a campaign promise, Biden recently said he would not lift Trump's cap on refugees allowed into the U.S.
But after intense pressure from advocates and progressive Democrats, Biden backpedaled. The White House said he would raise the number next month. But officials also said the federal government has to balance processing the influx of unaccompanied children and other migrants at the Southern border with efforts to resettle refugees, though the two groups are processed under separate systems.
Meanwhile, the massive immigration bill Biden sent to Congress has so far fallen flat. His plans to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in the country without legal status appear headed for a smaller compromise.
If you don't like my plan, let's at least pass what we all agree on. Congress needs to pass legislation this year.
Last night, Biden called on the Senate to pass a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, who came to the U.S. illegally as children, and agricultural workers without legal status.
As president, I promise you, I will get these weapons of war off the street again.
Other Biden promises on guns, voting rights and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour have also so far stalled in Congress.
This can be a moment of significant change.
In the meantime, Biden has continued to find his place as the consoler in chief, after events from mass shootings to police killings of Black Americans.
Last summer, the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, set off protests and a national racial reckoning. This month, Biden addressed the nation after the officer was convicted of murder.
In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again, to ensure that Black and brown people or anyone, so they don't fear the interactions with law enforcement.
On foreign policy, Biden is still working to reestablish American alliances strained by President Trump's America first policies.
Last night, Biden framed his sweeping spending proposals as critical to making sure America doesn't fall behind other countries.
We're in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century. We're at a great inflection point in history.
It's a struggle, Biden said, that will determine America's and democracy's place in the world.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.
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Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; the moderator of Washington Week, the weekly public affairs show on PBS; and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. She is currently covering the administration of President Joe Biden and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alex D'Elia is a politics production assistant for the PBS NewsHour. She can be reached at Adelia@newshour.org or on Twitter @AlexDEliaNews
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