On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union address, an annual meeting of US politics, with which the president addresses Congress and the country to take stock of his activity and the state of the nation. It is the second of his presidency (in the first year after the election is not held): the first was very focused on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which took place a few days earlier.
This year the president’s speech concerned more domestic politics, albeit touching international issues such as the war in Ukraine and the recent tensions with China: Biden wanted to underline the results obtained, also in the economy, and has repeatedly reiterated the concept of wanting to “finish the job” of economic reforms begun after his election.
The state of the Union is one of the most watched political appointments by television audiences and the speech was an opportunity to reiterate his vision for the future of America, which should be at the center of the re-election campaign. Biden hasn’t announced her candidacy yet, but it seems increasingly likely that she will soon.
The president also announced ambitious plans, which he will hardly be able to complete in this legislature, including the desire to finance investments for the economy and for environmental policies against the climate crisis with a tax increase for the wealthiest:
Finally, we need to get the wealthiest and big business to start paying what’s right. I am a capitalist, but each must pay his share. I think many Americans agree with me: as it stands, the tax system is not fair.
Biden delivered the speech in front of a divided Congress: in the midterm elections the Democrats retained a majority in the Senate but lost it in the House. The most aggressive members of the Republicans contested and interrupted several times during the speech, which is not common in US politics. The president responded to the howls and buzz of disapproval from Republicans, as far-right Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene yelled at him “liar” during the speech.
However, one of the central points of Biden’s speech was the invitation to collaborate. Recalling the laws approved with the support of the two parties, he said: «Fighting for the sake of fighting, conflict as an end in itself gets us nowhere. Over the past two years we have proved the cynics and skeptics wrong when they said we couldn’t work together.”
At the same time, however, Biden denounced the attitude of the tougher opposition, announcing that he would veto any attempt to weaken public health programs for the less well-off, to deny the right to abortion and to eliminate the measures recently introduced setting maximum prices for certain medicines. Regarding the political stalemate on raising the public debt ceiling, which risks affecting economic growth, you said: «Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage, unless I stick to their economic plans. It is right that everyone knows. Not all Republicans, but some of them: out of politeness I won’t mention names ».
With regard to domestic economic issues, Biden underlined the importance of investments in infrastructure, the “most important since Eisenhower’s highway plan” and reiterated his intention to continue to encourage the growth of the manufacturing industry in the United States, also to recover other jobs.
As for foreign policy, Biden underlined his commitment to supporting Ukraine: “In the last two years, democracies have become stronger, not weaker, autocracies weaker, not stronger”. And he returned to the shooting down of the Chinese spy balloon: “We have made it clear that whenever China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our nation”.
Invited to attend the speech were singer Bono Vox, for his work in the fight against AIDS, Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently suffered a hammer attack, and the parents of Tire Nichols, the African American man killed after suffering a beating by police in Memphis. Addressing the latter, Biden reiterated the need to reform the police and the way they are trained. You then called for a ban on assault weapons, used in most of the mass killings.
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