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Monday December 6th, 2021 8:39AM

The Latest: Biden says it's his `expectation' to run again

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Joe Biden's first news conference since taking office Jan. 20 (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

President Joe Biden says it's his “expectation” that he'll run for reelection in 2024.

Biden is 78 and already the oldest president to hold office. He would be 82 at the start of a second term.

Biden was asked at the first news conference of his presidency whether he thought he could face a rematch against Donald Trump.

Biden scoffed at the question. “Oh, I don’t even think about it,” Biden said. “I have no idea.”

___

2:05 p.m.

President Joe Biden says his administration is working on getting beds and other facilities up and running so children held in Border Patrol custody can be transferred.

Biden says in his first news conference that most of the migrants who are coming to the U.S.-Mexico border are being sent back, except for children. He says his administration is working to ease delays so children can be released from government custody to sponsors.

Biden says when parents send their children alone across the border, it's a “desperate act.” The president says he wants to help change the conditions in Central American countries when the migrants are coming from, but he says there's no easy answer.

Biden is pushing back against the idea there's a crush of migrants coming to the border.

___

1:55 p.m.

President Joe Biden says he’s committed to making progress on overhauling the U.S. immigration system, bolstering gun laws and strengthening voting rights. And he's not ruling out supporting changes to Senate procedures that would help him achieve those goals.

Biden says at the first formal news conference of his term that he believes senators should have to engage in old-fashioned filibusters if they want to try to hold up legislation. That would force senators to have to stand on their feet and talk for hours, as was the case during the civil rights era and is portrayed in Hollywood movies, if they want to object to Biden's agenda.

But Biden says the rule is being abused in a “gigantic way.”

He adds: “If there’s complete lockdown and chaos, as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’re going to have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

___

1:25 p.m.

President Joe Biden is pledging to have 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered by the end of his first 100 days in office. That’s double the goal he set in December and reached earlier this month before his 60th day in office.

Biden announced the new goal Thursday at the start of his first formal news conference since his term began on Jan. 20.

Biden's goal seems ambitious, but it actually amounts to a continuation of the country's existing pace of vaccinations through the end of month. The U.S. is now averaging about 2.5 million doses per day.

A rate even greater than that is possible. Over the next month, two of the bottlenecks to getting Americans vaccinated are set to be lifted. The U.S. supply of vaccines is on track to increase and states are lifting eligibility requirements for people to get the shots.

___

11:15 a.m.

The scene is set for President Joe Biden’s first formal news conference in the East Room of the White House on Thursday afternoon.

It’ll look quite different from past presidential news conferences, given the coronavirus pandemic.

The presidential lectern is on a rug before American and presidential flags in the expansive room. Just 30 socially distanced chairs are set out, and the White House is limiting attendance at the news conference due to the virus.

Microphones will be shuttled to reporters by White House aides and will be sanitized before being passed to the next journalist. Biden has gone longer than any recent president in waiting to hold an initial formal news conference. He took office Jan. 20.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Joe Biden has been in the White House since Jan. 20., but only on Thursday, more than two months after taking office, is he holding his first formal news conference.

Biden is the first chief executive in four decades to reach this point in his term without having conducted such a question-and-answer session. The president is set to meet with reporters for the nationally televised afternoon event in the East Room.

Biden has been on pace with his predecessors in taking questions from the press in other formats. But he tends to field just one or two informal inquiries at a time, usually in a hurried setting at the end of an event or in front of a whirring helicopter.

Pressure had mounted on Biden to hold a formal session, which allows reporters to have an extended back-and-forth with the president. Biden’s conservative critics have pointed to the delay to suggest that Biden was being shielded by his staff.

West Wing aides have dismissed the questions about a news conference as a Washington obsession.

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