The news conference comes more than two months into Biden’s presidency, which is behind many of his predecessors. Fifteen of Biden’s predecessors held a solo news conference within 33 days of taking office, according to a CNN analysis of the past 100 years. But Biden regularly answers questions from reporters at events at the White House or on its South Lawn.
Here’s what to watch during Biden’s first formal news conference of his presidency:
More than 544,700 Americans had died from Covid-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 130,400,000 Covid-19 doses have been administered in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The US has a seven-day average of administering about 2.5 million doses per day. A month ago, the seven-day average was about 1.5 million, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.
The administration surpassed its goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots well within Biden’s goal of doing so in his 100 days in office. Biden is expected to announce his new vaccination goal on Thursday.
If Americans continue to get vaccinated and follow health and safety guidelines, Biden said there is a “good chance” that family and friends will be able to celebrate the Fourth of July together in small groups. The President directed states to make all adults eligible to get Covid-19 vaccines by May 1.
When and how schools can reopen safely is a national hot-button issue, and many students have been out of classrooms for more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden has set a goal of reopening a majority of schools within his first 100 days in office.
The Biden administration is scrambling to find adequate housing for the rising number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the US-Mexico border. Biden has said that he will travel to the border at some point, and senior administration officials and lawmakers have already made the trip down to see facilities housing the migrants.
A group of White House officials and members of Congress toured a Texas facility on Wednesday holding unaccompanied migrant children and for the first time under the Biden administration a news camera was allowed inside.
There are more than 16,000 unaccompanied children in US custody, including around 4,800 in US Customs and Border Protection custody and 11,300 in Department of Health and Human Services custody.
As of Sunday, more than 800 unaccompanied migrant children had been in Border Patrol custody for more than 10 days, according to documents reviewed by CNN. Federal law requires unaccompanied children to be turned over within 72 hours to HHS, which oversees a shelter network designed to house minors, but amid constraints related to the pandemic, children are staying in custody for longer than the 72-hour limit.
Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and has urged the Senate to pass two gun safety bills that have already cleared the House of Representatives. But the chances the Senate passes any gun legislation remain highly unlikely given it would require significant Republican support.
The White House is weighing whether to issue a number of gun safety measures through executive action. But Vice President Kamala Harris noted Wednesday morning: “If we really want something that is going to be lasting, we need to pass legislation.”
The mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, this week killed 10 people. Less than a week prior, the shootings in Atlanta left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.
Some Democrats in Congress want to change Senate rules so they can use their slim majority to pass things unlikely to garner Republican support, such as a voting rights bill or the massive infrastructure package that Biden is expected to introduce. Right now they need to garner 60 votes to overcome Republican objection — or, filibuster — a tally that requires several Republicans to join Democrats.
Biden’s legislative agenda will be greatly affected by whether the filibuster stays or goes. The President has said he supports changing the Senate’s filibuster rule by bringing back the talking filibuster, requiring a senator who wants to block legislation to hold the floor without taking a break.
The Covid-19 relief package was able to pass through Congress because of a special budget process called reconciliation, which Democrats used to advance the legislation in the chamber with only a simple majority and no Republican support. But those rules can’t apply to things such as gun control or voting rights because they aren’t budget related.
Infrastructure and spending
White House advisers are expected to present a two-part, $ 3 trillion jobs and infrastructure proposal to Biden as soon as this week, CNN has reported. The proposal, the White House’s next major legislative agenda item, would mark a sweeping move toward enacting the key elements of the jobs agenda that Biden laid out in large part during his presidential campaign.
The proposal, which Biden’s top advisers have been deliberating over for weeks, would be segmented into two separate parts — one focused on infrastructure and clean energy, and a second on what’s being termed the “care economy” with a focus zeroed in on key domestic economic issues.
The package will explode spending and is also expected to raise taxes on individuals earning more than $ 400,000 a year, as well as increase the corporate tax rate.
Biden will take the stage as a series of perennial foreign policy challenges arise, including North Korea testing missiles and a looming decision on when and how to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. Both are fraught with history and complicated factors to weigh — particularly in Afghanistan where the US has been mired in war for two decades. Pulling out, however, could cause further damage and decline in a country so much American blood has spilled to democracy build.
The President is also sure to get questions about his team’s harsh words with China and his own verbal jousting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Talks with China in Alaska got off to a rocky start and hot tempers, over issues such as trade and cybersecurity. Russia, meanwhile, has been accused of election interference in both the 2016 and 2020 election by top US national security experts.
Biden will surely get asked about how he plans to navigate both adversaries while reestablishing the United States as a world leader on human rights.