2nd Solo Presser: Biden Brags of First-Year Accomplishments Amid Low Approval Ratings
Biden's opening statements during the speech boasted an increase in vaccinations, new jobs, and a drop in unemployment. But when it comes to COVID-19, one message stood clear: the US is not going back into lockdown.
US President Joe Biden held a news conference inside the White House on Wednesday, marking his first year as president.
While the president’s opening remarks were optimistic - 210 million Americans being vaccinated (an increase from 2 million when he started the job), six million new jobs, a drop in unemployment, business growth, and a cut in health insurance premiums, he also acknowledged the administration’s setbacks in failing to administer testing for the virus, saying they should have done so earlier on. But the president has revealed that 1 billion tests will be available to the American public for free.
“I know there’s a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country, and we know why: Covid-19. Omicron has now been challenging us in a way that- it's the new enemy. But while it’s a cause for concern, it’s not a cause for panic.” The president said.
“The bottom line on Covid-19 is that we’re in a better place than we have been thus far, clearly better than a year ago. We’re not going back into lockdowns, we’re not going back to closing schools.”
16 January, 21:04 GMT
He then ventured into an equally stressful topic and addressed the increase in economic complications such a 7% increase in inflation, but seemed adamant that inflation control is a job for the Federal Reserve, and isn’t something his administration has the tools to address. He then requested the Federal Reserve to “bear down on fighting inflation”.
The president also admitted his Build Back Better plan, which encompasses nearly $2 trillion, will have to be broken up in order to get passed.
And while he believes that Congress will pass funding for energy and environmental issues, he is less sure whether his child tax credit provision and college cost assistance will be as successful. His voting rights legislation is also struggling to clear the Senate, so much so that Democrats are poised to change Senate rules.
The news conference is a critical point for the president whose current approval rating is 44% according to a CBS News poll on Sunday, with 50% of Americans having allegedly voiced frustration with Joe Biden’s presidency thus far.