President Joe Biden at his first press conference Thursday left the door hospitable backing fundamental changes in Senate procedure to muscle key parts of his agenda like immigration and voting rights past Republican opposition “if there’s complete lockdown and chaos.”Even as his administration navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the resulting economic damage, Biden is grappling with the way to deliver on a number of massive promises despite a razor-thin Senate majority. He teased that changes to Senate rules that might allow bills to pass with fewer votes could also be necessary for him to realize a number of those goals.
“If there’s complete lockdown and chaos, as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’re getting to need to transcend what I’m talking about,” he said.Despite strong poll numbers, Biden faces headwinds in delivering on his ambitious legislative agenda. His party’s congressional majorities are narrow, Republican opposition appears entrenched and not all Democrats are aligned in reforming Senate rules on the filibuster.
Biden initially backed a modificationbut not elimination of the arcane procedural tactic. But he then suggested, a minimum of on certain issues, he would go further, saying the filibuster — which needs 60 votes to pass legislation within the Senate — was being “abused during a gigantic way” by Republicans.
“I want to urge things done. i would like to urge them done according to what we promised the American people,” said Biden, who spent decades within the Senate. “I am getting to say something outrageous: I even have never been particularly poor at calculating the way to get things wiped out the us Senate.”
Senate legislator Chuck Schumer at his own news conference Thursday declined to lean too heavily into filibuster changes, only saying that “everything, everything is on the table.”And West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat whose vote is critical, said he thought the principles were there to form sure “the big guy doesn’t pick on the small guy,” adding that he was trying to guard “basic civility.”
Biden’s own political future came up at the news conference also . The 78-year-old president said for the primary time his “plan is to run reelection, that's my expectation.” But he made clear his focus was on the here and now and not a foreign election.“I am getting to affect all of these problems,” he pledged.One key item on the list: Republican efforts to limit voting rights, an attempt the president deemed “sick” and “un-American.” He argued that even GOP voters believe actions that make it harder for people to cast ballots are “despicable” attempts to undermine democracy.
The president was repeatedly pressed about things at the U.S.-Mexico border, where increasing numbers of young migrants have overwhelmed the government’s holding facilities. Biden promised better media access to the camps once his administration features a better handle on things also as improvements to the nation’s immigration system and U.S. help to enhance conditions within the migrants’ home countrie“I can’t guarantee that we’re getting to solve everything, but I can guarantee that we’re getting to make it better,” he said.
And within the aftermath of two mass shootings during a week, Biden was pressed on his plans for brand spanking new gun violence laws. He responded that legislating is “a matter of timing” then gave a long-winded answer about his infrastructure plan, which he said are going to be his administration’s next legislative priority.Biden had held off on holding his first press conference until he could use it to celebrate progress against the pandemic and passage of an enormous COVID-19 relief package.
In his opening remarks, he declared that “hope is on the way,” and he doubled his original goal on COVID-19 vaccines by pledging that the state will administer 200 million doses by the top of his first 100 days in office. The administration had met Biden’s initial goal of 100 million doses earlier this month — before even his 60th day in office — because the president pushes to defeat an epidemic that has killed quite 545,000 Americans.While seemingly ambitious, Biden’s vaccine goal amounts to a continuation of the prevailing pace of vaccinations through the top of next month.
When Biden moved on to fielding questions, the president didn’t get one query about the virus that has rewritten the principles of society for quite a year.Biden was the primary chief executive in four decades to succeed in now in his term without holding a proper press conference , where reporters have the chance for extended back-and-forth with the president on the problems of the day. That delay produced a surprising level of anticipation for a chief executive who has deliberately tried to show down the temperature during a city overheated by his predecessor Donald Trump.
Biden, who once proclaimed himself a “gaffe machine,” avoided any major stumbles whilst he rambled sometimes and cut himself off at one point, suddenly asking, “Am I giving too long an answer?”He acknowledged several vexing policy problems that he faces immediately, including growing concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program, a looming May Day deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and China’s rising stature as an economic competitor.
Early Thursday, North Korea launched the primary missile tests of the Biden administration, what some analysts say was a measured provocation to catch the new president’s attention.The Biden administration has sought to restart talks with Kim Jong Un’s regime in hopes of persuading the North to offer up its nuclear program, but so far has faced radio silence from the North. Biden was restrained as he admonished the North for the newest tests..
“There are going to be responses if they prefer to escalate,” he said. “We will respond accordingly. But I’m also prepared for a few sort of diplomacy, but it's to be conditioned upon the top results of denuclearization.”
On Afghanistan, Biden committed to pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, but expressed doubts about meeting the May Day deadline that was set by an agreement signed under Trump.“We will leave,” he said. “The question is once we will leave.” He added that he didn't believe troops would still be there in 2022.Biden also vowed that China’s ambition of becoming the wealthiest and most powerful country within the world is “not getting to happen under my watch.”
The scene for Biden’s news conference was very different from what Americans are wont to seeing at such events. The president still stood behind a podium within the East Room against a backdrop of flags. But thanks to the pandemic, the White House limited attendance and only 30 socially distanced chairs for journalists were opened up within the expansive room.
West Wing aides had dismissed the high interest within the press conference as a Washington obsession, pointing to Biden’s high approval ratings while suggesting that the overall public wasn't concerned about the event. The president himself, when asked Wednesday if he was ready for the news conference , joked, “What press conference?”The nationally televised event was an opportunity for reporters to press Biden and move him faraway from the carefully curated talking points produced by his extremely disciplined White House. there have been none of the private attacks on members of the press like those made by his predecessor, yet at one point he noted that the session had run quite an hour and it had been time to conclude .
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