North Coast lawmakers laud Biden’s goals outlined in address to Congress

April 29, 2021

North Coast lawmakers lauded President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress.

“I feel soothed and encouraged, which I think really has been one of the most positive impacts of the Biden presidency these past 100 days,” U.S. Rep Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said Wednesday morning.

North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) responded similarly.

“I appreciate the tone and tenor of President Biden as he addressed the nation last night — no finger-pointing, no insults — just solutions,” Wood said in an email to the Times-Standard.

As Biden marks his first 100 days this week, he touted his accomplishments in an address to Congress on Wednesday night, noting he surpassed his vaccination goals well ahead of schedule. He also shared his goals declaring that “America is rising anew,” and calling for an expansion of federal programs to drive the economy past the coronavirus pandemic and broadly extend the social safety net on a scale not seen in decades.

“I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he told Americans. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”

Biden promoted his America’s Jobs Plan, which would address the nation’s failing infrastructure while creating jobs.

Huffman said the move showed “there’s really something for everyone here,” as the plan would create jobs that don’t require advanced degrees.

But he also said there is a real need in his district for addressing infrastructure.

“There’s the traditional infrastructure that needs work — the roads and the bridges —  but it’s a lot more than that if we’re going to meet 21st century needs, and that’s why I’m glad that we’ve got a president who is, for the first time in a long long time, not just talking big, but acting big, challenging Congress to put this multi-trillion dollar plan on his desk.”

Wood (D-Santa Rosa) is also a fan of the infrastructure plan.

“Representing a rural community, I know all too well the importance of investing in roads, rails, bridges and broadband,” Wood said in an email to the Times-Standard. “Ask any of the people in the North Coast — they’ll tell you.”

Biden also focused on helping families overcome barriers. He laid out an extensive proposal for universal preschool, two years of free community college, $225 billion for child care and monthly payments of at least $250 to parents.

Biden talked about his efforts to roll out vaccines to as many Americans as possible.

“After I promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days — we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in 100 days,” Biden said. “We’re marshaling every federal resource. We’ve gotten the vaccine to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers. We’re setting up community vaccination sites, and are deploying mobile units into hard-to-reach areas.”

The vaccine rollout is the only area in which Wood offered criticism.

“President Biden has made tremendous progress in getting vaccines out to everyone, and if I had one criticism, it was not being strong enough on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines to address those who may be hesitant to get one,” Wood said.

Biden also called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ people by banning discrimination in employment and housing.

“To all the transgender Americans watching at home — especially the young people who are so brave — I want you to know that your president has your back,” Biden said.

A previous version of the Equality Act passed in the House in 2019 but stalled in the Senate. Huffman called Biden’s words “a big deal.”

“When he said to the trans community, ‘this president has your back,’ I think that was pretty direct and we’ve never heard anything like that in my memory … this was the president of the United States saying those words in a joint address to Congress. That’s a big deal,” Huffman said.

State Sen. Mike McGuire’s office did not respond to a request for comment by the publishing deadline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

Source: Eureka Times Standard