WASHINGTON — President Biden vowed on Wednesday to pursue a scaled-back model of his marquee home coverage plan as he mounted a two-hour protection of his first-year accomplishments and repeatedly blamed Republicans for abandoning any critical try to control the nation.
In an expansive information convention within the East Room of the White Home, Mr. Biden refused to simply accept criticism of how his administration has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, saying that “we’ve achieved remarkably nicely.” And he rejected accusations that he known as lawmakers who opposed voting rights laws racists in a fiery speech last week.
Acknowledging that his $2.2 trillion social spending laws won’t go the Senate in a single piece, Mr. Biden stated he would attempt to go particular person components of the larger invoice within the Senate, the place they could get extra bipartisan help. He stated he was assured that provisions on vitality and the atmosphere would get sufficient help to go.
Mr. Biden particularly famous that there was an excessive amount of opposition amongst Democrats and Republicans to 2 of his key agenda objects, which had been central to the pledges he made on the marketing campaign path in 2020: an extension of the kid tax credit score and free neighborhood school for all People.
He was pessimistic about voting rights, acknowledging the looming failure of laws within the Senate. “It’s going to be tough. I make no bones about that,” the president stated, hours earlier than Democrats’ newest try to go a voting rights invoice was blocked. However he added, “We’ve not run out of choices but.”
He expressed extra optimism that a few of his spending agenda would possibly nonetheless be adopted.
“I feel we are able to break the bundle up, get as a lot as we are able to now and are available again and struggle for the remainder later,” Mr. Biden stated. He famous that provisions on local weather change and common prekindergarten, and proposals to finance new spending would possibly get sufficient help to go.
The president stated he hoped to search out widespread floor with two Democratic senators who’ve resisted the laws. Specifically, he stated that a kind of holdouts, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, “strongly helps early training, 3 and 4 years of age, strongly helps that.”
He repeatedly laced into congressional Republicans, whom he accused of getting no optimistic agenda and of conspiring to dam every little thing that Mr. Biden has tried to do.
“I didn’t anticipate that there could be such a stalwart effort to ensure that an important factor was that President Biden didn’t get something achieved,” he stated.
“What are Republicans for?” he requested in response to a query about his stalled agenda. “What are they for? Title me one factor that they’re for.”
Referring to Donald J. Trump, Mr. Biden requested: “Did you ever suppose that one man out of workplace might intimidate a whole occasion?”
He stated 5 Republican senators had privately advised him that they agreed with him on numerous points, solely to say they’d lose within the primaries in the event that they went public. The president declined to say who the 5 had been.
Mr. Biden accused Republicans of refusing to get “within the sport” on governing the nation and stated the occasion was responsible for his lack of ability to unify the nation — as he promised — as a result of the G.O.P. was way more unwilling to compromise than it had been in earlier years.
“They weren’t practically as obstructionist as they’re now,” Mr. Biden stated. He added: “I ponder what could be the Republican platform proper now. What do you suppose? What do you suppose is their place on taxes? What do you suppose is their place on human rights?”
Mr. Biden confronted reporters in a proper information convention for under the second time in his presidency and fewer than a day earlier than the primary anniversary of his inauguration amid a stalled agenda and sagging approval scores.
He was animated all through the information convention, taking quite a few questions and sparring with reporters for nearly two hours. He ignored one query about his son’s connections to China, and largely dismissed one other on considerations about his psychological health.
He additionally gave a grim assessment of the probability that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would quickly ship forces into Ukraine.
For many of the two hours, Mr. Biden defended his file, noting file low unemployment, passage of a $1.9 trillion financial stimulus invoice, tens of millions of People getting vaccinated and his negotiation of a bipartisan bill to invest $1 trillion within the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes and broadband.
However the president stated he nonetheless supposed to take a brand new method within the 12 months forward, promising to get out of Washington extra typically and pledging important assist for Democratic candidates because the occasion fights to retain management of Congress within the midterm elections in November.
“We’re going to be elevating some huge cash. We’re going to be on the market ensuring that we’re serving to all these candidates,” Mr. Biden stated, promising to “exit and make the case in plain, easy language as to what it’s we’ve achieved, what we wish to do and why we predict it’s essential.”
In response to a query, Mr. Biden additionally stated that he supposed to run for a second time period and that Vice President Kamala Harris could be his working mate.
Mr. Biden additionally stated he had grown bored with being drawn into countless negotiations with members of his personal occasion in the course of the previous six months. He stated his drop in reputation was partly the results of People seeing him performing extra like a lawmaker and fewer like a commander in chief.
“The general public doesn’t need me to be the president-senator,” he stated. “They need me to be the president, and let senators be senators.”
Mr. Biden has confronted a collection of challenges because the summer season, together with a monthslong battle with the 2 Democratic senators over his far-reaching social spending laws, and the lack to go voting rights protections he describes as essential to the destiny of democracy within the nation. He additionally oversaw a rushed and chaotic exit from Afghanistan.
The president has not but succeeded in assembly his personal objectives for combating local weather change. And whereas he has reversed a few of Mr. Trump’s harsh immigration insurance policies, he has not but delivered on his broader promise for a pathway to citizenship for tens of millions of undocumented People.
And on the central promise he made in the course of the 2020 marketing campaign — to “shut down” the pandemic that has upended college, work and social life within the nation for 2 years — Mr. Biden has struggled to answer the coronavirus variants which have killed more than 250,000 Americans since the summer.
The president defended his response to the pandemic, saying that his administration had succeeded in vaccinating practically 75 p.c of all adults. Mr. Biden stated he wished he had “moved a month earlier” to ramp up testing capability, however he rejected the concept that he ought to fireplace any members of his pandemic response crew and he refused to simply accept that issues with testing ought to be seen as a significant failure by his administration.
“Ought to now we have achieved extra testing earlier? Sure,” Mr. Biden stated. “However we’re doing extra now.”
The president took questions as members of his occasion within the Senate delivered speeches on behalf of the voting rights laws in what they already acknowledged was a doomed effort due to unified Republican opposition and refusal by a handful of Democratic senators to vary the chamber’s guidelines.
The concept of the debate was to underscore Republican refusal to take care of what Democrats insist is election subversion and voter suppression in states throughout the nation. However the vote additionally highlighted the bounds on Mr. Biden’s potential to stress members of his personal occasion to fall in line behind their president.
Mr. Biden stated he had not utterly given up on spending some sort of voting rights laws, and he rejected criticism from some African People who say he has not fought laborious sufficient for voting protections.
“I’ve had their again,” he stated. “I’ve had their again my whole profession. I’ve by no means not had their again. I began on the voting rights points lengthy, way back.”
Mr. Biden repeatedly urged People to have persistence with him, acknowledging that he had “not but” completed every little thing he stated he would when he ran for workplace.
On enhancing commerce with China, Mr. Biden stated that “we’re not there but.” And on the pandemic, he had the identical reply: I’m not achieved but.
“Some folks might name what’s taking place now the brand new regular,” he stated. “I name it a job not but completed. It can get higher.”