His Covid-19 relief bill was similar in size to Trump’s proposal, which was scrapped towards the end of his presidency amid opposition from lawmakers.
Filibuster traffic jam
As the debate rages over Senate filibuster – a major source of the US political stalemate – Biden said “he was being abused” and reiterated his call to bring back the so-called “obstruction.” systematic, ”in which senators must stand up and speak. as long as it takes to block a bill instead of being able to do so with the simple threat of filibuster.
When a reporter asked Biden if he agreed with his former boss Barack Obama that filibuster is a “relic of the Jim Crow era,” the president said he was d ‘agreement. But he reiterated his support for reform, not abolition, of filibuster, saying “successful electoral politics is the art of the possible.”
Biden said he had “never been particularly poor in getting things done in the US Senate” – after serving in the Upper House from 1973 to 2009 – and that “if there is complete lockdown and chaos in the Senate following the systematic obstruction, it will be necessary to go beyond what I spoke about ”.
From Afghanistan to Xi Jinping
On foreign affairs, Biden said his May 1 deadline for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan would be “difficult” to meet amid the Taliban resurgence – but stressed that “I have no intention of stay there for a long time ”. He said he “can’t imagine” that it “is true” that American soldiers will still be there next year.
Responding to North Korea’s new ballistic missile tests on Thursday, Biden warned that “there will be answers if they choose to step up” – while adding that he is “also ready for some diplomacy. – although this must be “conditioned” to movement. towards “denuclearization”.
Biden said he would “invest in the American people and American science” to counter China’s challenge to American hegemony. “China over-invests us by far,” he warned.
“Restoring our alliances” after Trump’s “America First” approach is another way Biden says he hopes to deal with the rise of authoritarian China. “Democracies must work together,” he continued.
Biden said he “pointed out to [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] that no leader “can remain in office” unless he reflects the values of his people “and that” as an American president steps down from talking about “abuses like the Chinese repression of Uyghurs and Hong Kong, “we are losing our legitimacy”.
The president said he knew Xi well from his role as Obama’s number two. “He doesn’t have democratic bones – with a little bone in his body, but he’s a smart, smart guy,” Biden said.
He will be back?
Biden is the first president in four decades to reach this point in his tenure without having conducted such a question-and-answer session. The President met with reporters for the nationally televised afternoon event in the East Room.
The US president has kept pace with his predecessors by answering questions from the press in other formats. But he tended to only respond to one or two informal requests at a time, usually in a rushed setting at the end of an event or in front of a whirring helicopter.
Pressure had mounted on Biden to hold such a formal session, allowing reporters to have a long back-and-forth with the president. Critics pointed to the delay in suggesting that the president’s staff, 78, were protecting him.
Despite his advanced age, Biden told the press conference that his “plan is to run for reelection” in 2024.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)