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Joe Biden makes case to redefine role for government

Written by Peter Baker

President Joe Biden laid out an bold agenda Wednesday night time to rewrite the American social compact by vastly increasing household go away, baby care, well being care, preschool and school training for thousands and thousands of individuals to be financed with elevated taxes on the wealthiest earners.

The $1.8 trillion plan he unveiled his first tackle to a joint session of Congress together with earlier proposals to construct roads and bridges, develop different social packages and fight local weather change signify a elementary reorientation of the role of government not seen because the days of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

“We have to prove democracy still works, that our government still works and can deliver for the people,” Biden deliberate to say in his nationally televised speech, in accordance to excerpts launched by the White House earlier within the day.

Taken collectively, the gathering of initiatives that Biden has launched in his first 100 days in workplace recommend a panoramic scope of change sought by a 78-year-old president who spent a lifetime as a extra standard lawmaker. After presenting himself throughout final yr’s marketing campaign as a “transition candidate” to observe the risky tenure of Donald Trump, Biden has since his inauguration positioned himself as a transformational president.

But the succession of expensive proposals quantities to a dangerous gamble {that a} nation deeply polarized alongside ideological and cultural traces is prepared for a extra activist government and the type of redistribution of wealth lengthy sought by progressives. Biden’s Democrats have solely the barest of majorities within the House and Senate to push by way of essentially the most sweeping of laws and, profitable or not, he could have framed the phrases of the controversy for the following election.

“Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., deliberate to say in his get together’s televised official response, in accordance to advance excerpts. “It will come from you — the American people.”

For Biden, who watched such speeches as a senator or vp for practically a half-century, it was the primary time behind the microphone setting the agenda for what was the purposeful equal of a State of the Union tackle. But coming within the latter days of the coronavirus pandemic and fewer than 4 months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the occasion was in contrast to some other presidential speech as Biden confronted a half-empty chamber.

On the recommendation of the Capitol doctor, solely 200 members of Congress and different officers have been invited as an alternative of the standard 1,600, all carrying masks in assigned seats no less than 6 toes aside. The president, who fist-bumped his method down the aisle, arrived amid tighter safety than traditional, with streets across the constructing closed and patrolled by swarms of cops and National Guard troops.

In a notable first, Biden grew to become the primary president to ship an tackle to Congress with two ladies sitting behind him representing the following within the line of succession to his workplace, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After addressing her as “Madam Vice President,” Biden stated to applause, “No president has ever said those words, and it’s about time.”

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