Here are nine questions Biden may face at his first presser

President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE will hold his first formal press conference on Thursday, more than 60 days after taking office.

The presser comes as Biden faces a burgeoning crisis at the southern border, mass shootings that have reenergized a debate over gun control and internal battling among Democrats over whether to get rid of the filibuster and how much to even try to work with Republicans.

Here are nine questions he’s likely to face.


Should Democrats gut the filibuster? And are you really interested in bipartisanship?

Biden ran as a centrist candidate promising to return Washington to normal. He also said he could work with Republicans.

So far, the only major legislation signed by Biden is the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that was moved through the Senate with budget reconciliation rules that sidestepped the filibuster. Not a single Republican voted for it.

The White House and Democrats see the GOP opposition as proof that Republicans aren’t really interested in working with Biden — even on tackling the pandemic. Republicans say it shows Biden doesn’t really care about bipartisanship.

In the last few weeks, Democrats have been riven with debates over what to do with the filibuster as liberals grow frustrated that big agenda items could be stymied in the Senate.

On Thursday, Biden will have a chance to signal what direction he wants his party to take.

Last week, he told ABC that he would be open to bringing back the talking filibuster, which would require senators to go to the floor and speak to halt legislation.


The president is certain on Thursday to be asked to elaborate and to say whether he supports ending the filibuster to pass legislation on voting rights, gun control and statehood for Washington, D.C.

What can your administration do to stem the wave of migrants at the border?

And how will your administration ensure those arriving are treated fairly and humanely?

Biden is facing pressure from the left and the right on the border, where images of crowded groups of migrants in holding facilities have provoked questions about how migrant children are being treated.

Republicans accuse Biden of sending the message that the U.S. is completely open to migrants with his reversal of Trump-era policies.

It’s a problem that threatens to overtake Biden’s presidency if the White House isn’t careful, even as Biden enjoys solid approval ratings as vaccinations step up and aid from the coronavirus relief package circulates through the economy.

Biden may also be asked when he plans to visit the southern border himself; he indicated he would do so at some point in the future, but the White House has not offered details on when that could take place.  

Are you going to raise taxes?

The most likely next big package from Biden is an infrastructure and climate change measure that would fit into his Build Back Better agenda.

Reports circulated earlier this week that $3 trillion in spending proposals were being drawn up.

Infrastructure is an issue where Biden could work with Republicans, but the leaks about the spending suggest such a massive amount that it is difficult to imagine GOP lawmakers working with Democrats.

Biden has made no secret of the fact that he is interested in raising the corporate tax rate slashed under Trump and taxes on wealthy households to pay for his initiatives — another non-starter with the GOP.

The White House has emphasized that no decisions are final, and Biden will meet with members of his economic team this week to discuss the matter. He is expected to lay out the proposal in a speech in Philadelphia next week. 

Can you change the debate on guns and get something done?


Biden called for Congress on Tuesday to swiftly pass legislation approved by the House to tighten background checks, as well as a bill to reinstate a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

But there are doubts about whether anything will be done in an environment where stalemates on gun measures has been a reality for decades.

Biden witnessed the difficulty of doing anything on guns as vice president, when former President Obama failed to win meaningful reforms even after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the end of 2012.

Winning real reforms is likely impossible without an end to the filibuster, but Democrats face divisions in their Senate caucus on guns and the filibuster itself.

Biden could be asked Thursday whether he’s going to take any steps to try to push his party forward on the issue.

Why don’t you have more Asian Americans in your Cabinet?

Two Democratic senators this week briefly said they would not back Biden Cabinet picks unless he added more Asian American or Pacific Islander representation to his government.


The move by Sens. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthBipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief Duckworth says food stamps let her stay in high school If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (Ill.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoMore than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (Hawaii) was reversed after a Biden concession but points to the frustration in that community over what they see as a lack of progress on the issue.

Biden pointed to the overall diversity of his Cabinet when asked on Tuesday about the lack of representation, but he is likely to face additional questions on Thursday about why he didn’t pick an Asian American to run an executive agency in the Cabinet and whether his administration truly reflects the country if it lacks high-level Asian American representation given it is the fastest growing demographic in the nation.

How are you going to respond to China's aggression? And what punishments will Russia face for its interference in past elections?

Biden has signaled a tough line with both China and Russia, and relations are at a new low.

Biden is likely to get questions on his approach to relations with both nations  what his administration will do to try to change their behavior, and whether he is trying to lower the temperature. 

There are also other pressing foreign policy matters  including a forthcoming decision on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, efforts to rejoin the Iran nuclear accord and recent missile launches by North Korea — that are sure to come up at the press conference.