“America is moving. Moving forward. And we can’t stop now.”
After spending nearly three decades in the audience listening to the president’s annual message to Congress, this time President Joe Biden himself delivered an annual address to a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi flanking him.
Biden’s speech to Congress once again pitched for unity among the divided Congress. The president became vocal about his economic agenda comprising the American Jobs Plan, popularly known as the infrastructure plan, and spending $1.8 trillion for paid leaves, education, and child care programs under the American Families plan.
The event was one of a kind, as, for the first time in history, both the people accompanying the president were female.
As he addressed Congress for the first time, he implored Americans to get vaccinations so the virus can be dodged quickly.
What did Biden say in his first speech to Congress, and what does it mean for the United States going forward? Let’s see.
Ambitious Economic Agenda: The Ultimate Plan to Move the United States Forward
His economic plan remained the core of Biden’s address as he continued his speech, mainly along the economic lines.
Two plans specifically, including the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and $1.8 trillion families plan, were the talk of the town as President Biden linked the United States economic growth with these plans.
The primary motive of the American Families plan is to increase educational access, reduce child care costs, and support working women.
Although the destructuring of the plan remains unannounced, almost $1 trillion is intended for the new spending, along with tax credits worth $800 billion.
The $1 trillion spendings will further be divided into the following domains.
- Investing $225 billion for child care subsidy and medical leave programs.
- $200 billion subsidies for those registered in the Affordable Care Act.
- $200 billion investment in education, including absolutely free schooling for five million children from low-income families.
- Probable funding for the community college centers for every American and Dreamers, the young unaccompanied immigrants.
However, raising revenue for this much economic funding will only become possible by increasing the taxes on wealthy Americans, for which Biden announced increasing corporate taxes.
As Biden related his economic agenda with these underlying plans, another tussle is on its way in Congress, as Republicans were already resisting the infrastructure plan.
Having the American families plan waiting in the queue will make the matter more complex.
In totality, three economic plans of Biden’s presidency, including a $ 1.9 trillion COVID relief package, $2.3 infrastructure package, and now a $1.8 trillion, are aiming to bring the United States back to normalcy, for which he was highly vocal in his speech.
Biden’s Denouncement of White Supremacy
Biden’s speech to Congress involved the reiteration of George Floyd’s tale, as he said,
“We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black American (George Floyd).”
While Biden did defend the police officers working honestly, he rebuked the white supremacy movement and labeled it the “most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland.”
As Derek Chauvin’s verdict is out, Biden’s approval of the verdict was also seen in his first speech to Congress.
As he is now the holder of the authoritative chair, acting instead of talking is the need of the hour for President Biden.
No doubt that Biden has been talking too much about white supremacy lately; this is the time of walking the talk for him, as he has not taken any conclusive measure for police reforms to save lives yet.
Trump, COVID, and China: Things which Biden did not Forget to Mention in his Speech to Congress
While delivering his first speech to Congress, President Joe Biden did not forget to blame the former president for damaging the United States. Calling the January 6 Congress invasion the worst attack on democracy since the cold war, Biden reiterated the inherited mess that put the country to a standstill due to the egoistic attitude of Donald Trump.
Stressing upon his administration’s efforts to curb the coronavirus, Joe Biden reiterated the steps taken to curtail the virus, including the rapid vaccination drives.
Furthering the notions of his Green New Deal was also part of Biden’s speech to Congress. As he talked about the increasing need for green energy, Congress’s response was along the party lines, where Republicans preferred not to approve the wording.
However, when Biden spoke Trump’s language about safeguarding the American market from Chinese products, the applause for the President was seen by both the Republicans and Democrats.
For the Biden administration, walking on the anti-Chinese foreign policy is the easiest thing to do in the government, as he receives no opposition on this matter.
The first 100 days of the Biden administration have entirely shown that the United States’ relations with China are not going towards normalcy any time soon, which the president also depicted in his first speech to Congress. Portraying his will for the favorable policies for the US markets, he said,
“There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.”
Seeking unity with Republicans time and time again is not an alien phenomenon for President Biden anymore.
Amid the equally divided Senate, this unity becomes even more important. Making the closing remarks of his first speech to Congress, Biden said,
We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy – of pandemic and pain – and ‘We the People’ did not flinch. At the very moment, our adversaries were certain we would pull apart and fail; we came together, we united.”
Then came the Republican rebuttal, for which the only Black Senator of the GOP, Tim Scott of South Carolina, was nominated by Republicans.
As the president delivered his first speech to Congress, Tim Scott blamed the Democratic policies for further dividing the nation and not entertaining bipartisanship.
Despite Biden’s vocalness about increasing the minimum wage, Tim Scott accused Democratic policies of decreasing the minimum wage while destroying the economy.
As Biden pressed on his role in sidelining the pandemic, Scott appreciated Donald Trump’s effort in tackling the coronavirus.
The economic agenda of the Biden administration seems ambitious and holds the answers to many questions.
However, it is useless until or unless Democrats can harness Republican support for the legislation, which seems highly improbable after the Republicans refuse Biden’s economic agenda, owing to the pervasive taxation present in it.
Now it up to Biden to determine how he actualizes his plans at a time when Republican lawmakers are in no mood of supporting him.
Walking the talks of eliminating white supremacy, ending voter suppression efforts of the Republicans, wrapping up the gun violence, and doing police reforms will also remain a challenge for the president, as the speech seem ambitious. Still, the challenges to actualize the speech are greater than ever.