Biden Faces Fresh Challenges on Covid-19, Economy


WASHINGTON—President Biden took office with the goals of overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, spurring economic growth and winning legislative approval for trillions in new spending.

Six months in, all three of his major objectives are being tested.

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, spurred by the Delta variant and vaccine resistance from a slice of the population. Concerns over the spread of the pandemic have caused some turbulence in the financial markets and consumer prices are ticking up, prompting warnings about long-term inflation. A bipartisan infrastructure deal and a broader Democratic spending bill remain deep in negotiations and a long way from Mr. Biden’s desk.

During a cabinet meeting last week, the president in his public remarks highlighted his work so far but acknowledged some of the current pressure points. “I know it seems like a constant uphill climb…we’re making progress, but we’ve got a way to go yet,” Mr. Biden said of the vaccination effort.

He emphasized the need for “constant vigilance” against the virus, asserted that his economic program would “generate significant continued economic growth” and defended his infrastructure and antipoverty legislative plans as popular.

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