(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is set to lay out his policy agenda and provide an update to the nation in his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.
Biden gave a preview of his speech to ABC News’ David Muir and other network television anchors at the White House Wednesday afternoon, telling Muir that a lot of his focus in office has been on “making my case directly to the American people,” and reflecting on how much of his first 100 days were spent working to “ease the pain” of the pandemic.
Television coverage will air on ABC network nationally at 9 p.m. ET, and ABC News Live will stream coverage beginning with a two-hour special episode of “ABC News Prime” at 7 p.m. ET.
Apr 28, 5:38 pm
Biden speech excerpt: ‘Inherited a nation in crisis’
In a speech excerpt released by the White House this evening, Biden discusses the challenges America faced when he took office.
“As I stand here tonight, we are just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration. 100 days since I took the oath of office—lifted my hand off our family Bible—and inherited a nation in crisis,” Biden said in the excerpt. “The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.
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,” Biden will say.
-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky
Apr 28, 5:13 pm
First lady holds virtual reception in lieu of traditional box of guests
While there will be no invited guests in the ‘First Lady’s Box’ in the House gallery tonight because of pandemic restrictions, first lady Jill Biden hosted a virtual version this afternoon with five invited guests that the White House said “personify some of the issues or policies that will be addressed by the president in his speech.”
The guests, included a DACA recipient, the first transgender teen to testify before Congress and a gun violence prevention advocate, highlighting a sharp contrast with former President Donald Trump, who awarded Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom at his final State of the Union address.
-ABC News’ Molly Nagle
Apr 28, 3:56 pm
Biden to deliver address amid heightened security at Capitol
Security on Capitol Hill is tight in anticipation of Biden’s joint address, especially following the violent assault on the Capitol Jan. 6 and the driver who struck and killed a U.S. Capitol Police officer before ramming a barricade outside the Capitol less than a month ago. High fencing remains in place and National Guard troops are on standby.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman in February warned of threats to disrupt Biden’s speech during a House committee hearing, but officials have not disclosed any specific warnings or details since then. The U.S.Secret Service is coordinating security among multiple law enforcement agencies with the address designated a National Special Security Event.
-ABC News’ Luke Barr
Apr 28, 3:30 pm
Biden to urge Congress to act on immigration, gun reform legislation
Biden tonight will call on lawmakers to pass key elements of his policy agenda, including an immigration reform bill he sent to Congress earlier this year and three gun reform bills that have passed the House, according to White House officials.
Biden’s immigration reform bill includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. He’ll also urge lawmakers to bring relief to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, holders of “Temporary Protected Status” and farmworkers. Biden will urge Congress to pass three bills already passed by the House that strengthen background checks, ban assault weapons and ban high capacity magazines, according to a different White House official.
However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has already thrown cold water on the notion of passing the immigration reform bill this year, although other immigration issues have some hope of moving through the evenly-split Senate. Moderate Democrat and key Senate vote, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has opposed the gun reform bills, leaving little hope for a passage.
-ABC News’ Benjamin Gittleson and Trish Turner
Apr 28, 3:16 pm
Biden says he’s looked to ‘ease the pain’ in his 1st 100 days
Ahead of his speech, Biden met with network television anchors, including ABC News World News Tonight Anchor David Muir at the White House Wednesday afternoon. He told the anchors how he decided to “proceed on all issues” that faced him when he took office.
“First one: ease the pain, save lives, put people in a position where they have reason to believe that they could actually get back and earn a living and provide for their families,” Biden said. “That’s how I looked at the first 100 days.”
-ABC News’ Esther Castillejo
Apr 28, 3:07 pm
Biden reflects on ‘certain things worth losing over’ ahead of address
Ahead of his address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, Biden detailed his long view of democracy and unity to a small group of network anchors at the White House.
“There are certain things that are worth losing over,” Biden told ABC News World News Tonight Anchor David Muir. “There are certain things that — and I really mean it — certain things worth losing over, particularly at this moment. Because if we go four more years like we had in the last four, I really, honest to God, believe we’re in real jeopardy as a nation.”
The president’s comments come as he is under pressure from forces in his own party who want move as quickly to advance a progressive agenda, including making changes to the filibuster and Supreme Court. Despite those forces, Biden is looking at a much bigger picture: the health of a democracy and our two-party system more than just his own legacy.
-ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps
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