Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress for the first time as president on Wednesday, April 28, at 9 p.m. ET.
The address will mark the completion of his first 100 days in office.
Biden was formally invited to give the address by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) earlier this month.
“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,’” Pelosi wrote in her letter. “Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, ‘Help Is Here!’”
She also 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.”
As many have noted, Biden has waited far longer than most presidents to give his first address to Congress. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the live audience at the address will be much scanter than usual.
Here are three items to watch for as Biden gives the address.
One. Early on in the address, he’ll almost certainly speak about progress made against the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a widespread effort begun, of course, during the administration of former President Donald J. Trump, whose Operation Warp Speed delivered vaccinations to America far sooner than most experts ever thought possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Monday that over 230 million doses of vaccination have been administered thus far in the U.S.—with over 29 percent of the country now fully vaccinated.
On Tuesday, the CDC on Tuesday changed its guidance for Americans regarding outdoor activities and masking.
Two. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden, in his speech, will discuss the details of the anticipated American Families Plan, “his commitment to child care, to education, and to delivering on those priorities,” she told the media last week.
The American Families Plan would deliver monies to such issues as parental leave.
In addition, Biden is sure to speak about the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion package that includes payments to individual Americans as well as to businesses—and, in addition, to speak about the $2.3 trillion he wants to dole out on infrastructure and on “correcting inequities.”
That’s a lot of big-government spending to talk about—something about which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) commented not long ago, “He has no way to pay for it all.”
Biden will almost certainly address police reform and related issues as well, especially so soon after the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
But will he address the crisis at the southern border? This remains to be seen. Biden has put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the border, but she has yet to visit; and since that designation, she has insisted she is only in charge of “root causes” of illegal immigration.
Three. After Biden’s address on Wednesday night, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) will deliver the GOP response.
In a statement, House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said of the Republican senator, “Senator Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican Conference. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation. As Sen. Scott likes to say, he is living his mother’s American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most.”
He added, “Nobody is better at communicating why far-left policies fail working Americans. Senate Republicans are looking forward to this address from our distinguished colleague.
See these tweets for more information and reaction.
—By CNJ Staff