The low-rated, kinda sleepy and quietly radical speech

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President Joe Biden fist bumps Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) as he arrives for his the address to a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the dais behind him, on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Biden spoke to a nation seeking to emerge from twin crises of pandemic and economic slide in his first speech to a joint session of Congress. Photo by Melina Mara/Reuters.

President Biden made his first address to a joint session of Congress. It didn’t get big TV ratings, but the content reflected big changes to what he’d have the government do, with trillions of dollars in new spending on infrastructure and social programs. So is Joe Biden a quiet radical? Or is he just showing that a left agenda was never that intensely controversial if you did it quietly? And how did Republican Senator Tim Scott do in his response to Biden’s address? His speech drew a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. Josh Barro, Rachel Bovard, Gustavo Arellano and Keli Goff talk through the speeches, what Biden said about his agenda, and where Republicans might oppose it. 

Plus: three stories about whether the government will tell you what to do in your own personal consumption behavior. Should there be a federal ban on menthol cigarettes? What about marijuana? And what’s the beef with beef?

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Sara Fay