Biden hails jobs numbers, gets testy with questions

President BidenJoe BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE on Friday hailed a new report showing the U.S. added 850,000 jobs in June, describing it as “historic progress” that he attributed to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package signed into law in March.

He also grew impatient while fielding several questions about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, defending it as a “rational” plan in an exchange with reporters.

“I’m not going to answer any more questions on Afghanistan. Look, it’s Fourth of July,” Bided said. “I’m concerned that you guys are asking me questions that I’ll answer next week. But this is a holiday weekend. I’m going to celebrate it. There’s great things happening.”

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Asked if he was confident he would get his agenda passed, Biden said it was impossible to be certain about the fate of his agenda.

“C’mon guys. Have you ever been confident about anything with guarantee? Who wants to put money on anything that Congress is going to do," he said.

"Look, folks, this is a process. This is a process. I love you guys, but it is a process and I don’t know what you want me to say,” Biden answered. “Look, all I know what to do — and I really mean this — is do my best to lay out what I think the country has to do, be as persuasive as I can, and hope and thus far it seems to be working a little bit.”

Biden opened his remarks by talking up the jobs report.

“This is historic progress, pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in 100 years, driven in part by our dramatic progress in vaccinating our nation and beating back the pandemic, as well as other elements of the American Rescue Plan,” Biden said in remarks from the White House hours after the jobs report was released.

“Put simply, our economy is on the move and we have COVID-19 on the run,” he said.

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The economic news offered a boost for the president, exceeding expectations and demonstrating further rebound of the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden said it was critical that his administration keep the pace of the jobs growth to return the U.S. to full employment. He also used the venue as an opportunity to push for the passage of his long-term economic agenda, the bipartisan infrastructure deal he agreed to last week and his American Families Plan.

“None of this is guaranteed to continue though, unless we finish our work,” he said. “Now is the time to accelerate the progress we have been making.”

Biden said his proposals would both create good-paying middle-class jobs and help America become more competitive against other countries in the 21st century.

The White House says that the figures give the administration new momentum as Biden tries to pass the rest of his economic agenda, something that will be difficult given the slim Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

“The president’s economic plan is working. It is clear that it is working,” White House senior adviser Anita Dunn said in an interview with Politico on Friday morning. “We feel that this gives us added momentum as we go into this next phase.”

Biden last week agreed to a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal with a bipartisan group of senators and has said he intends to pass priorities included in his families plan in a reconciliation bill that can pass without GOP votes.