Ayesha Rascoe

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Updated October 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM ET

It has been a couple of years since world leaders have been able to get together at the G-20. And like most gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there were some awkward moments in Rome on Saturday as people tried to figure out when they should wear masks, whether to shake hands and how close they should get to one another.

On his very first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order meant to begin unraveling the systemic barriers that have magnified economic inequality in the United States.

Now months later, as Congress haggles over the size and scope of Biden's proposals to transform the social safety net, advocates for equity are worried that the final product may leave out too many who need help.

Updated September 20, 2021 at 12:40 PM ET

As President Biden prepared for his maiden speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, his White House was reeling from a trifecta of bad news stories — headlines that underscored questions about U.S. leadership in the world.

Updated September 15, 2021 at 9:33 PM ET

In a rare step, President Biden announced on Wednesday that the United States plans to share its nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia as part of a new defense partnership with that country and the United Kingdom.

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President Biden had high praise for the U.S. service members who lost their lives in the attack, calling them heroes. In a speech at the White House, the president also pledged the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would press on.

Vice President Harris on Friday will travel to Singapore and Vietnam with the goal of cementing U.S. relationships in the region against the rising influence of China.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 5:59 PM ET

The White House says a new offer on an infrastructure package from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is insufficient as the search for middle ground between President Biden and Republicans remains elusive.

Biden and Capito spoke on the phone Friday, the latest in a series of talks between the two. Capito is leading the group of GOP senators working with the White House on a potential agreement, and is tasked by her leaders to head the negotiations.

Updated June 2, 2021 at 2:49 PM ET

President Biden says the "incredible intensity" of focus behind recent Republican state voting laws is an "unprecedented assault" on U.S. democracy, rallying voting rights groups to redouble their efforts to register voters and urging the U.S. Senate to pass new legislation.

Signaling the importance he puts on voting rights, Biden is putting Vice President Harris in charge of the administration's campaign.

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Updated June 1, 2021 at 5:12 PM ET

President Biden traveled to Oklahoma on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre amid a renewed reckoning over a long-overlooked attack that left as many as 300 people dead in a community once known as Black Wall Street.

Updated May 26, 2021 at 2:37 PM ET

When Karine Jean-Pierre stepped behind the lectern to take reporters' questions in the briefing room Wednesday, she was the first Black woman to speak for the White House in that capacity in three decades.

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When President Biden hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, the new White House approach to North Korea will likely be top of the agenda.

Biden is the latest United States president forced to contend with a nuclear-armed North Korea that is bombastic and hostile toward the U.S. and its allies in the region.

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On Wednesday night, President Biden will propose a plan for billions of dollars of new spending for childcare, education and paid leave, and he'll ask Congress to help pay for it by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans when they sell stocks and other types of investments.

The proposal, which is certain to face resistance from Republicans and even some Democrats, calls for hiking capital gains taxes for those who make more than $1 million a year to fund what the White House is calling the American Families Plan.

When President Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to the White House on Friday, concerns about the competition posed by China will be front and center in the talks.

It is Biden's first in-person visit with a foreign leader at the White House since he took office, and it sends a signal about how Biden plans to work through alliances to counter China.

The U.S. economy added more than 900,000 jobs last month. For most White House officials, that would be considered a banner number. For Janelle Jones, the top economist at the Labor Department, there is much more work for the Biden administration to do.

Jones, the first Black woman to ever hold her position, says it would take a year of similar jobs reports just to get back to where the economy was before the pandemic. But even then, she says, getting back to the status quo is not enough.

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The pandemic worsened economic equality. So what does the Biden administration plan to do about it? NPR's Ayesha Rascoe talked with Janelle Jones, the chief economist at the Labor Department and the first Black woman to hold that job.

North Korea tested short-range missile systems over the weekend, but the Biden administration is keeping its door open to talks, a diplomatic effort that officials said won't be easy.

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Updated at 8:38 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations.

"The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian officials to the White House virtually on Tuesday – saying the U.S. has "no closer friend" than its neighbor to the north.

There was no handshake between leaders or stroll down the White House colonnade during the session that was virtual due to COVID-19 constraints. But, the White House attempted to recreate some of the ceremonial flourishes of an in-person visit to Washington.

The federal government plans to release new guidance next week about how to safely reopen schools in the midst of the pandemic — guidelines that could add new grist to a debate over whether schools should wait until teachers are vaccinated before requiring their return to the classroom.

As the United States has struggled to get the spread of the coronavirus under control, many schools have turned to virtual learning. President Biden has pledged to get most students back to in-person learning by the end of April, but there are questions about how to do so safely.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

President Biden signed an executive action on Monday that administration officials say will close loopholes in "Buy American" policies for the federal government.

The measure is part of Biden's promised push to boost U.S. manufacturing and continues his efforts to sign a slew of executive actions, covering an array of issues, during his first days in office.

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Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Biden signed a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirussteps that he and his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden has signed 15 executive actions, part of a flurry of steps he plans to take in the coming days to address his top policy priorities — and to roll back some of former President Donald Trump's initiatives.

White House officials had originally told reporters there would be 17 actions signed, focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, racial justice and climate change.

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