Biden delivers first joint address to Congress

By Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:00 p.m. ET, June 29, 2021
51 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:12 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Biden: "Buy American, buy American"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Melina Mara/The Washington Pos/Pool/AP
Melina Mara/The Washington Pos/Pool/AP

President Biden tonight pitched his administration's infrastructure plan directly to the American people, saying it would be led by the principle of American investment. 

"All the investments in the America Jobs Plan, will be guided by one principal, 'buy American, buy American," he said, repeating himself to emphasize his point.

"American tax dollars, are going to be used to buy American products, made in America to create American jobs," he continued. "That is the way that it is supposed to be and it will be in this administration."

Watch here:

9:51 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Biden is unveiling his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. Here's what is in the proposal.

From CNN's Tami Luhby, Maegan Vazquez and Katie Lobosco

A month after he laid out a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan aimed at helping the nation recover from the coronavirus pandemic, President Biden is unveiling an additional $1.8 trillion federal investment in education, child care and paid family leave during his first address tonight.

The massive package — which Biden is calling the American Families Plan — is the second half of his effort to revitalize the nation and ensure a more equitable recovery. The proposal would also extend or make permanent enhancements to several key tax credits that were contained in the Democrats' $1.9 trillion rescue bill, which Biden signed into law last month.

The President intends to finance the latest package by hiking taxes on the rich, saying he wants to reward work, not wealth. His new proposed measures would raise about $1.5 trillion over a decade.The families plan pairs with Biden's infrastructure proposal, known as the American Jobs Plan, which calls for improving the nation's roads, bridges, broadband, railways and schools.

Here's a closer look at what is in the plan:

  • Helping families afford child care: Biden's proposal calls for having low- and middle-income families pay no more than 7% of their income on child care for kids younger than age 5. Parents earning up to 1.5 times the median income in their state would qualify.
  • Making community college free: Biden is proposing a $109 billion plan to make two years of community college free. The federal government would cover about 75% of the average tuition cost in each state when the program is fully implemented, with states picking up the rest, another senior administration official said. States would also be expected to maintain their current contributions to their higher education systems.
  • Enhancing Pell Grants: The President would provide up to approximately $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award. Nearly 7 million students, including many people of color, rely on Pell Grants, but their value has not kept up with the rising cost of college. Students can receive up to $6,495 for the 2021-22 school year. Biden has promised to double the maximum award.
  • Providing paid family and medical leave: limited federal paid family and sick leave measure was included as part of the major pandemic rescue package passed by Congress in March 2020. It provided up to two weeks of paid sick days for workers who were ill or quarantined, as well as an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave if they needed to care for a child whose school or daycare was closed due to the pandemic. The requirement expired in December, though the federal government will continue to subsidize employers who choose to offer the paid leave through September.
  • Investing $200 billion in universal preschool: Biden is calling for the federal government to invest $200 billion in universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds through a national partnership with states. The administration estimates it would benefit 5 million children and save the average family $13,000 when fully implemented.

Read more about the proposal here.

9:51 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Biden: The American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs 

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Michael Reynolds/Pool/AP
Michael Reynolds/Pool/AP

President Biden made the case for the American Jobs Plan by appealing to those who have been impacted by job loss during the pandemic, specifically women and caregivers.

"The American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs and back to their careers," Biden said.

"Two million women have dropped out of the workforce during this pandemic. Two million. And too often, because they couldn't get the care they needed to care for their child or care for an elderly parent who needs help," Biden continued.

"800,000 families are on the Medicare waiting list right now to get home care for their aging parent or loved one with disability. If you think it's not important, check out in your own district, Democrat or Republican. Democrat or Republican voters. Their great concern, almost as much as the children, is taking care of an elderly loved one who can't be left alone. Medicaid contemplated it, but this program will help families and create jobs for caregivers with better wages and better benefits, continuing the cycle of growth," the President said.

Watch here:

1:13 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Biden: "There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing"

Chip Somodevilla/Poo/AP
Chip Somodevilla/Poo/AP

Climate change and job creation go hand in hand for President Biden.

During his first joint session remarks to Congress tonight, Biden said the American Jobs Plan will "put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy-efficient buildings and homes." 

"Electrical workers installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways. Farmers planting cover crops, so they can reduce carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it," Biden said. "There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing."

Biden also said there is "no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries." 

"The American Jobs Plan will create millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on," he added.

See the moment here:

9:52 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Biden on vaccine success: We will have provided more than 220 million shots in 100 days

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

President Biden touted the success of his administration's Covid-19 vaccine rollout during his first joint session remarks to Congress.

He called the $1.9 trillion American Rescue plan "one most consequential rescue packages in American history. We're already seeing the results."

"After I promised we would get 100 million Covid-19 shots into people's arms in 100 days, we will have provided over 220 million Covid shots in those 100 days," Biden said.

"We're marshaling every federal resource. We're gotten vaccinations to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers where the poorest of the poor can be reached. We're setting up community vaccination sites, developing mobile units to get the hard to reach communities. Today, 90% of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site."

Biden then pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated.

"Everyone over the age of 16, everyone, is now eligible to get vaccinated right now, right away," he said. "Go get vaccinated, America. Go and get the vaccination. They're available. You're eligible now."

Watch the moment:

1:13 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Biden is talking about his Covid-19 relief bill. Here's a reminder of what's in it.

From CNN's Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco

President Biden is touting his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package during today's address. The relief package was Biden's first and most pressing legislative priority since taking office in January.

Here's a reminder of what is in the bill:

  • Stimulus checks: The bill provided direct payments worth up to $1,400 per person. Families received an additional $1,400 per child. There were restrictions based on how much Americans make.
  • Unemployment assistance: The bill calls for a $300 federal boost to weekly jobless payments and extending two key pandemic unemployment benefits programs through Sept. 6.
  • State and local aid: The legislation provides $350 billion to states, local governments, territories and tribes.
  • Nutrition assistance: The package extends the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September. It also contains $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC. It will allow states to continue the Pandemic-EBT.
  • Housing aid: The bill sends roughly $20 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent, rent assistance and utility bills. It authorizes about $10 billion to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages, utilities and property taxes.
  • Tax credits: The bill expands the child tax credit to $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for each child under age 18. Currently, families can receive a credit of up to $2,000 per child under age 17.
  • Paid sick and family leave: While the bill does not make this mandatory, it will continue to provide tax credits to employers who voluntarily choose to offer the benefit through Oct. 1.
  • Education and child care: The bill provides $125 billion to public K-12 schools to help students return to the classroom, including for things like ventilation, personal protective equipment for teachers and support staff.
  • Health insurance subsidies: The package made federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act policies more generous and would eliminate the maximum income cap for two years.
  • Small businesses: The bill provides $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program and another $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. It also provides $25 billion for a new grant program specifically for bars and restaurants.
  • Vaccines: $14 billion will go towards researching, developing, distributing, administering and strengthening confidence in vaccines. It will also put $47.8 billion toward things like testing and contact tracing.
  • Rural hospitals: The bill allocates $8.5 billion to help struggling rural hospitals and health care providers.

Read a more detailed breakdown here.

9:33 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Biden: A nation in crisis is "on the move again"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

President Biden opened his first joint address to Congress, saying he'd inherited a nation in crisis but in less than 100 days ago, his administration had already begun to turn it around.

"It's been 100 days since I took the oath of office, lifted my hand off our family Bible and inherited a nation, we all did, that was 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," said the President.

"Now, after just 100 days I can report to the nation, America is on the move again," continued Biden, receiving standing ovation. "Turning peril into possibility, crisis into the opportunity, setbacks into strength."

Watch the moment:

1:14 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Biden is touting his administration's Covid-19 response. Here's a look at the latest US vaccination figures.

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AP
Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AP

President Biden is touting his administration's Covid-19 response, including administering more than 200 million coronavirus vaccine shots since he took office.

"Thanks to the help of all of you," Biden told lawmakers. "We're marshaling, with your help, everyone's help, we're marshaling every federal resource."

The battle against Covid-19 has been a central part of Biden's first 100 days. The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package passed in March was Biden's primary and most pressing legislative priority since taking office.

The legislation provided $14 billion for researching, developing, distributing, administering and strengthening confidence in vaccines. It also put $47.8 billion toward testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including investing in laboratory capacity, community-based testing sites and mobile testing units, particularly in medically underserved areas.

Here's a look at the latest figures on US vaccinations:

  • Nearly 235 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • The CDC reported that 234,639,414 total doses have been administered and about 78% of the 301,857,885 total doses have been delivered. 
  • That’s also about 2.2 million more doses reported administered since Tuesday, for a seven-day average of about 2.7 million doses per day. 
  • About 43% of the population – nearly 143 million people – have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • 29.5% of the population – more than 98 million people – are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows. 

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

CNN's Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco contributed reporting to this post. 

9:21 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

NOW: Biden delivers remarks to joint session of Congress

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden is delivering his first joint session address to Congress, a day before he marks his 100th day in office.

"My fellow Americans, while the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is just a little bit different. A reminder of the extraordinary times we're in," Biden said. "Throughout our history, presidents have come to this chamber to speak to Congress, to the nation and to the world, to declare war, to celebrate peace, to announce new plans and possibilities. Tonight, I come to talk about crisis and opportunity."

The President is expected to tout his administrations accomplishments within his first 100 days including, his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 570,000 Americans. The US recently surpassed 200 million Covid-19 shots administered since Jan. 20, which was double the original goal Biden had outlined of achieving 100 million shots in arms in the first 100 days.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration passed a sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 emergency economic relief package, which included $1,400 checks to Americans, increased unemployment assistance, aid to states and municipalities and tax credits for families and certain low-income workers.

Biden is also expected to lay out parts of his American Families Plan, a roughly $1.5 trillion legislative proposal to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into key Democratic priorities on education, child care and paid leave. The plan is the second part of a two-part proposal to help the nation's economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Biden's address to Congress is set to look unlike any other in modern American history. A limited number of lawmakers are attending the speech, and Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will both be wearing masks as they sit behind Biden. It will be the first time two women occupy the seats behind the President at a joint address to Congress.