‘America is on the move again,’ Biden will say in first speech before Congress – USA TODAY

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will tell a special joint session of Congress that “America is on the move again” after he inherited a convergence of crises to begin his presidency that included a global pandemic, economic downturn and an attack on the democratic process.

“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,” Biden plans to say, according to excerpts provided in advance of the primetime speech by the White House.

“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.”

The speech, which falls just before his 100th day as president, will be the first time Biden has addressed Congress since entering the White House. He’s expected to use much of his remarks selling his $1.8 trillion plan to boost programs for families, students and children and a $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan. Both need congressional approval.

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines on January 15, 2021, at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

He will tout the American Jobs Plan as a “blue-collar blueprint to build America” that “recognizes something I’ve always said: Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class.”

“Now, I know some of you at home wonder whether these jobs are for you,” Biden plans to say. “You feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing. Let me speak directly to you.”

“These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Nearly 90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan don’t require a college degree. Seventy-five percent don’t require an associate’s degree.”

Biden will also discuss his administration’s handling of the coronavirus and efforts to get more Americans vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. 

“We’re vaccinating the nation,” he will say. “We’re creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. We’re delivering real results people can see and feel in their own lives. Opening the doors of opportunity. Guaranteeing fairness and justice.”

Leaning on a theme he’s turn to regularly, Biden will cast his presidency as one that seeks to rebuild America’s institutions. 

“We have to prove democracy still works. That our government still works — and can deliver for the people,” he intends to say. “In our first 100 days together, we have acted to restore the people’s faith in our democracy to deliver.”

In the Republican response following Biden’s speech, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., will accuse Biden of doing too little to reopen schools that closed amid the pandemic.

“Locking vulnerable kids out of the classroom is locking adults out of their future,” Scott will say, according to excerpts of his remarks. “Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries’ did. Private and religious schools did. Science has shown for months that schools are safe.”

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

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