Biden says nation weary from COVID, but US in a better place

WASHINGTON (AP) — At a Wednesday news conference to mark his first year in office, President Joe Biden is admitting that the pandemic has exhausted and demoralized many Americans.

Yet Biden also struck a defensive tone as he acknowledged that he could get “big chunks” of his stalled economic agenda passed into law before the 2022 midterm elections. He stressed that voters would back him so long as they were informed, something he plans to do this year by traveling the country.

During the conference, Biden says he has called on the Federal Reserve to do more to fight inflation by pulling back on its monetary boosting of the U.S. economy. With inflation at nearly a 40-year high, public support for Biden and his administration has tumbled — even though economic growth and hiring has surged.

Regarding the situation with the Ukraine. President Biden says he believes Vladimir Putin doesn’t want a full blown war in Ukraine and would pay a “dear price” if he moves forward with a military incursion. He believes that Russia is preparing to take action on Ukraine, though he doesn’t think Putin has made a final decision. He suggested that he would limit Russia’s access to the international banking system if it did further invade Ukraine. He said: “I’m not so sure that he is certain what is he going to do,” adding, “My guess is he will move in.”