President Biden addressed Congress for the first time Wednesday night in a speech before a sparse, socially distanced audience in the House Chamber — and declared that “America is on the move again.
“As I stand here tonight, we are just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration,” Biden said.
“One hundred 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.”
He added: “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 was expected to promote his latest, massive tax-and-spend proposal, this one dubbed the “American Families Plan.”
The $1.8 trillion package would include more than $500 billion for education, $225 billion each for child care and paid time off for workers, as well as $45 billion more for food stamps and school meals for needy kids.
The proposal, outlined earlier in the day by a senior administration official, comes on the heels of Biden’s controversial, $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package he signed into law after Democratic lawmakers passed it without any Republican votes.
But it’s not expected to contain a repeal of the $10,000 cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes — known as SALT — that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said is needed to offset the tax hikes in the state’s recently adopted $212 billion budget.
Biden was also expected to renew his call for reforming the nation’s immigration laws to create a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, while signaling a willingness to compromise on who’s ultimately eligible for the program.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to impose a strict limit on the number of attendees, reducing the typical crowd of around 1,100 to just 200.
The move will prevent First Lady Jill Biden from hosting a special box in the chamber for a select group of guests.
High-profile freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-The Bronx, Queens) said last week that she would likely be among the lawmakers who get shut out of the event.