Biden pitches ‘once in a generation investment’ to Congress

US President Joe Biden has laid out a sweeping investment plan for jobs, education and social care in his first speech to a joint session of Congress.

Delivered on the eve of his 100th day in office, the Democrat pitched plans involving some $4 trillion (£2.9tn) in spending – the largest overhaul of US benefits since the 1960s, analysts say.

He called it a “once in a generation investment in America itself”.

But the proposals face strong opposition from the Republican Party.

Republican Senator Tim Scott called Mr Biden’s agenda a “liberal wish list of big government waste” while senior Republican official Ronna McDaniel said his first 100 days had been an “unqualified failure”.

Despite slim Democratic control of both houses, the plans face a battle in Congress before they can become law.

In a historic moment, US Vice-President Kamala Harris – the first woman to hold that office – and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi both sat behind Mr Biden during Wednesday night’s primetime address. It is the first time two women have appeared behind the president during a speech to Congress.

After addressing Ms Harris in his opening remarks as Madam Vice-President, Mr Biden added, “No president has ever said those words from this podium. And it’s about time.”

The event was far smaller than for past presidents, due to restrictions imposed to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

National Guard troops remain in force around the Capitol after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the building in January.