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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In his first joint address to Congress on Wednesday, President Biden told America that "one day shy" of his 100th day in office, his administration is turning the nation's "peril into possibility" and "setback into strength."

Why it matters: Wednesday's speech was one of the president's most significant opportunities so far to sway members of Congress in favor of his administration's agenda.

What he's saying: “I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” Biden said. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”

  • Biden marketed his American Jobs Plan as a "blue-collar blueprint to build America," stating, "90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan don’t require a college degree."
  • "[I]t recognizes something I’ve always said... Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built the country. And unions built the middle class," the president added.
  • He also urged Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine: "We can’t let our guard down now."

Biden also touched on issues like gun reform and systemic racism — and urged Congress to take action.

  • The president reiterated his calls to ban assault weapons and to boost background checks in the U.S., calling gun violence an "epidemic."
  • He further urged Congress to pass police reform legislation, stating, "Let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death."

The president did thank the Senate for voting 94-1 this month in favor of legislation that targets anti-Asian hate crimes.

  • "I urge the House to do the same and send that legislation to my desk, which I will gladly, anxiously sign," he said.

Biden also introduced his American Family Plan, which includes proposals for...

  • Two free years of community college;
  • An additional two years of universal pre-K;
  • Expanding child-care access;
  • 12 paid weeks of family and medical leave; and
  • Making expansions to the child tax credit permanent.

His bottom line: "It’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America — and it still isn’t ... We can do whatever we set our mind to if we do it together."

The state of play: The address looked different than most previous speeches to Congress due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Only select members of Congress were in attendance, versus the traditional full house present in most joint addresses.
  • Only the secretary of state and secretary of defense attended from Biden's Cabinet, while all other members watched remotely.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made history as the first women to lead the Senate and House during a president's congressional address.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper

Biden: Trickle-down economics "has never worked"

Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During his joint address to Congress on Wednesday, President Biden spoke of the need to tax the ultra-wealthy to fix economic inequality in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden wants to use tax hikes on the rich to pay for his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. This philosophy has been a sticking point for many Republicans.

Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden speech to feature American Sign Language interpretation

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the first time in history, the livestream of President Biden's joint address to Congress will feature American Sign Language interpretation for accessibility.

Why it matters The Biden administration has made accessibility a priority.

Scoop: Biden plans to ask Congress to pay for $1.8 trillion in new spending

President Biden speaks about updated CDC mask guidance from the North Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden plans to ask Congress to pay for the entirety of the $1.8 trillion in new spending on health care, child care and education he’ll unveil on Wednesday night, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Biden’s decision to fully offset both the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan he announced last month, and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan being rolled out in his joint address, all but guarantee big political battles on both the spending and tax sides of the combined $4 trillion proposal.