President Joe Biden used his first joint address to Congress to tout his administration’s success at fighting COVID-19 with an unprecedented vaccination program, as well as pitch America on his multi-trillion dollar investment in jumpstarting the economy.
The night was historic for a number of reasons, but none bigger than seeing a female Vice-President next to a female Speaker of the House. The President made note of it right at the start of his speech when he said, “Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President… no president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.”
Biden set the tone for the speech almost right from the start.
He talked up his administration’s success in getting nearly 30% of the U.S. population, more than 95 million people, fully vaccinated. He urged the rest of America to get the vaccine, something which drew even drew applause from one of Biden’s biggest political foes, Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
even Ted Cruz applauds after Bides urges Americans to get vaccinated from Covid-19 pic.twitter.com/zpfvREYSkU— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 29, 2021
He talked about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which delivered $1400 stimulus checks to millions of American families. He discussed the nearly 1.3 million jobs created in his first 100 days, which Biden said was more than any other president had done before. He also discussed one of the more overlooked aspects of the Rescue Plan, how it is helping combat child poverty by cutting it in half. The tone of this speech was starkly different from the confrontational, self-congratulatory demeanor former President Trump carried during his speeches, and many viewers picked up on it.
Biden also looked ahead to the next plank in his massive spending strategy, the infrastructure bill. Biden is rolling the dice that his massive spending spree will help the U.S. economy make a full recovery from the pandemic and and surge forward into a new era of prosperity that will help all Americans, not just the wealthy. The White House is betting that economic adrenaline shot will have no side-effects.
He took his case for the next phase of his infrastructure plan, the American Families Plan, directly to the American people. The plan calls for free preschool for 3 and 4-year-old children, a $200 billion investment in early education. The White House says the Families Plan would offer universal free two-years of community college, and up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.
Biden also touted how focusing on combating climate change will be an engine for creating well-paying American jobs, and build products made in America.
The president promised to not raise taxes on any household making less than $400,000 a year. He said it was time for corporate America and the mega-rich to start paying “their fair share.”
He also framed the Families Plan as a necessary step in deciding whether democracy can win out over the autocratic movement that’s been gaining momentum internationally in countries like Russia and China.
It was clear from the moment President Biden walked into a socially-distanced House Chamber that this would be a presidential address unlike any we’ve ever seen.
In yet another contrast to his predecessor, President Biden let it be known in no uncertain terms that the greatest threat we face on American soil comes not from outside our borders, but within.
Biden didn’t shy away from one of the biggest issues America is facing at the moment. He called gun violence an epidemic that Congress cannot ignore any longer.
The president made it a point to note that common sense gun law changes such as stronger background checks and closing the “Charleston” loophole are popular with the majority of Americans. Bills that would accomplish both of those actions have been languishing in the Senate, where there is an even 50-50 party-line split.
As he wrapped up his hour-long speech, Biden once again reiterated his optimism belief that it is never a smart move to bet against the United States.
“Autocrats will not win the future; America will.”