President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union Address yesterday, March 1, his words repeatedly affirming his desire to stop partisan fighting and join forces as Americans.
On the heels of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden opened his address by speaking fiercely against Russian aggression. “Putin is now isolated from the world, more than he has ever been,” he said. “We are enforcing economic sanctions and choking access to technology that will weaken the Russian military for years to come.” Biden said that America is giving more than a billion dollars of aid to Ukraine and protecting NATO countries and our allies. “We will defend every inch of NATO territory,” he said, adding that western countries are coming together against Russia’s aggression. “The world is choosing the side of peace and security.”
Acknowledging rising costs, Biden went after the Trump administration, arguing that its tax structures favored the wealthy and multi-billion corporations. He cited greater job creation in the last year than in the previous 40 years. Then he addressed the importance of infrastructure improvements, thanking both parties for passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That money will be used to replace lead pipes, build electric car charging stations, and construct over 65,000 miles of highway and bridges in disrepair.
A running theme throughout his address was an emphasis on buying American products, supporting American jobs, and revitalizing American manufacturing.
“My top priority is getting prices under control, and you do this by lowering costs, not wages,” he said. He said this will happen when we make more cars and semi-conductors in America, move more goods within America, and stop relying on foreign supply chains. He also wants to crack down on businesses overcharging consumers and reiterated his plan to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr.
Addressing the state of the COVID virus, he encouraged Americans to stay protected with vaccines and boosters and to get back to work, while the government and the CDC have a responsibility to continue vaccinating the world while readying and preparing for new variants. His closing lines on the topic were, “We need to stop looking at the virus as a partisan dividing line and start seeing each other as fellow Americans.”
Biden advocated for hiring more police, stating, “The answer is not to defund the police, it’s to fund them.” He is pushing for universal background checks for gun purchases.
He got a standing ovation from both Democrats and Republicans, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, when he strongly stated, “We need to secure our border and fix the immigration system.” He referenced putting in place new border technology to catch drug and human trafficking and a more efficient legal process for immigrants. He said that providing a pathway for citizenship for dreamers “is the right and economically responsible thing to do. Let’s get it done once and for all.”
Returning to his theme of unity, he concluded, “I see the future that’s within our grasp. In America, we turn every crisis we face into opportunity. Our nation is defined by possibilities. My report is this: the state of the union is strong because you, the American people, are strong.”