Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Biden to begin laying out second-term vision

By 37ci3 Mar7,2024


President Joe Biden will begin his second-term agenda in his address to Congress on Thursday night, turning to the campaign trail ahead of an expected rematch with former President Donald Trump in November.

White House aides said Biden will highlight the post-Covid economic recovery and outline the administration’s plans to overhaul the tax code, expand housing supply and reduce the federal budget deficit.

“The economy has added nearly 15 million jobs since the president took office. Unemployment has been below 4% for two full years, while inflation has fallen by two-thirds. Wages have risen more than prices and are higher than before the pandemic, and we’re seeing a small business boom,” White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden told reporters at a news conference. “Reducing costs for working families is his top economic priority.”

But while the speech was delivered in Biden’s official capacity as president, the political content is undeniable, coming just two days after the Super Tuesday primaries, with both Biden and Trump effectively clinching their parties’ nominations and their primary rivals dropping out of the race.

Biden will frame his speech around a rhetorical question asking whose side politicians are on, hoping to portray himself as fighting for working Americans and democratic values, while his opponents want tax breaks for the wealthy at home and leaving Ukraine to Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin abroad.

He will use the address to remind voters of his legislative achievements, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, which polls show many Americans are unfamiliar with or confused about.

And it will be a chance for him to make a positive case for what he can do for another four years in the White House, since so far the Democratic rhetoric surrounding the election has focused on stopping Trump instead.

As polls show Trump ahead in key battleground states, Biden will seek to calm concerns about his political and physical health within his own party.

In today’s fragmented media environment and polarized Washington, State of the Union Addresses have less agenda-setting power than in the past.

But with millions expected to watch, these are rare opportunities for Biden to speak to some Americans who don’t follow politics closely but tune in for the big moments.

One thing he won’t do is issue new orders on immigration.

Biden is unlikely to announce new executive actions on immigration or the southern border, according to two administration officials and a congressional official who have seen a draft of the speech.

The Biden administration has been considering unilateral actions for weeks that would make it more difficult for migrants to undergo pre-screening for asylum at the US-Mexico border, as NBC News previously reported.

During a speech Thursday, an administration official and a congressional official said Biden is expected to criticize the GOP for failing to advance a bipartisan border deal earlier this year. The tone is likely to be similar to Biden’s trip to the southern border last week, where he criticized congressional Republicans for inaction and told them they “need to show some backbone.”

Biden’s aides have consistently stressed that any executive action would pale in comparison to legislation that would provide the necessary funding to implement some of his priorities, including adding border staff and specific policy reforms.





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