President Joe Biden is holding his first solo news conference on Thursday, where questions are expected to focus on immigration, his next big economic package and foreign-policy issues like China, among many other topics.
Biden’s first big appearance before White House reporters comes as the president is under pressure to address a surge of migrants at the southern border, tackle gun-control issues in the wake of two deadly shootings and outline how he’ll continue to try to guide the economy out of the COVID pandemic.
Keep your browser here for MarketWatch’s live blog of the news conference, which is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
- Vic ReklaitisREPORTER18 seconds agoBiden has started now, and kicks off by announcing a new goal of getting 200 million shots in Americans’ arms in his first 100 days. Here’s background on Biden achieving his prior goal:Biden touts meeting goal of 100 million vaccine shots well before 100-day markmarketwatch.comShare
- Rob SchroederREPORTER4 minutes agoOn Tuesday, Biden called on the Senate to pass two House bills that would close loopholes in firearm background checks. He also pressed for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He’ll no doubt be asked about these calls today. Biden spoke hours after a Monday shooting at a Colorado supermarket killed 10 people — the second mass killing in less than a week, following the March 16 shooting that left eight people dead at three Atlanta-area massage businesses.Share1
- Vic ReklaitisREPORTER9 minutes agoBiden’s press conference has been slated to start at 1:15 p.m. Eastern (or 5 minutes ago), but his events tend to start late, with one yesterday that featured U.S. women’s soccer stars beginning well after the scheduled time.Share2
- Vic ReklaitisREPORTER16 minutes agoThe main U.S. stock benchmarks are narrowly mixed ahead of Biden’s big event, with the Dow and S&P 500 trading up slightly while the Nasdaq Composite is a little bit in the red. Earlier in the session, the main gauges were firmly in the red, as reported in our Market Snapshot column:Dow slumps 300 points, Nasdaq wipes out 2021 gains as stock market shrugs off upbeat jobs datamarketwatch.comShare1
- Rob SchroederREPORTER22 minutes agoHere’s how reporters are seated, awaiting Biden.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=VicRek&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1375131055624163331&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.marketwatch.com%2Fstory%2Fbiden-to-face-questions-on-border-economy-guns-at-first-news-conference-live-blog-2021-03-25&siteScreenName=marketwatch&siteUserId=624413&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=autoShare2
- Vic ReklaitisREPORTER25 minutes agoBiden has not been quick to hold his first news conference, notes Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments. “This delay has simply amped up the suspense, as his critics and supporters watch his 1:15 ET press conference very, very carefully,” he writes in a missive today. “This will be crucial on two levels. First, Biden’s performance. He has stumbled recently, forgetting the name of his Defense Secretary and slipping on an airplane ramp. So he will have to show the aggressive press inquisitors that he’s at the top of his game. Second, Biden may have to play defense on several issues that have erupted in recent days.” Those issues include immigration, guns, the filbuster, the lack of Asian-Americans in his cabinet and North Korea’s latest moves, according to Valliere.Share1
- Rob SchroederREPORTER27 minutes agoBiden will probably discuss his infrastructure plans. Just this morning, Transporation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Congress he sees excellent chances for major work on roads and bridges. Republicans want to keep any infrastructure package to just those kinds of areas, and away from anything resembling a “Green New Deal,” as a top GOP lawmaker said at the hearing today.Transportation boss Buttigieg sees ‘best chance in any of our lifetimes’ for investment in infrastructuremarketwatch.comShare1
- Rob SchroederREPORTER37 minutes agoThe scene at the White House today will be different than for past news conferences, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how the Associated Press is reporting it: Due to the pandemic, only 30 socially distanced chairs for journalists will be spread out in the expansive room. The White House limited attendance due to the virus, and aides will sanitize microphones before they are shuttled to the reporters called upon by Biden.Share1
- Rob SchroederREPORTER45 minutes agoThe timing of Biden’s first news conference — more than two months into his presidency — is also noteworthy. The two most recent commanders-in-chief, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, each held news conferences within their first month of being president. Reporters have been clamoring for today’s event, and Biden will certainly be asked a version of: What took you so long?Share2
- Rob SchroederREPORTER55 minutes ago“The market will be focused on the stimulus bill,” John Briggs, global head of desk strategy at NatWest Markets, told MarketWatch earlier this week. But, suggested Briggs, the tactics of shepherding a new proposal through Congress will be just as important. One avenue could be again using the “reconciliation” process that only requires Democratic votes. News leaked out earlier this week that Biden is planning for a package of investments on infrastructure and other domestic priorities that could cost $3 trillion.