The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden vows 'America is coming back’ after year of collective suffering due to pandemic

President Biden on March 11 said he's directing states to make all adult Americans eligible for the coronavirus vaccines by no later than May 1. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

President Biden, in his first prime-time address, mourned a year of Americans’ “collective suffering, a collective sacrifice” because of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 530,000 and vowed that the nation will recover.

“America is coming back,” the president said in his 24-minute address in which he said he would direct states to make all U.S. adults eligible for the coronavirus vaccine no later than May 1, aimed for small-group celebrations by July 4 and urged millions to get vaccinated.

The address was delivered hours after Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill during a brief Oval Office event.

Here’s what to know:

  • The Senate voted to allow floor debate on the nomination of Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services after the Finance Committee deadlocked last week on advancing it. The tied committee vote prompted Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to offer a motion to force the nomination of Becerra, California’s attorney general, to the full Senate.
  • The House passed a pair of bills largely along partisan lines to strengthen background checks on firearm purchases, sending them to the Senate, where the legislation faces longer odds.
  • The GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new election restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most significant contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, a Post analysis has found.