President Joe Biden discussed economy, U.S. supply chains, gun violence, threats to democracy and mental health during his third State of the Union address on Feb. 7.
He began his speech by welcoming the newly elected congress and said “the story of America is a story of progress and resilience, of always moving forward, of never giving up — a story that is unique among all nations.” This is what America is doing as it recovers financially and physically from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
President Biden’s address could be summed up by his own words, “let’s finish the job.” He also addressed the bills that have been passed during his administration, the progress made and what congress would need to do to finish the job.
He said America could be defined by one word: “possibilities.”
President Biden invited and recognized many people at the address to help him emphasize certain points and agendas.
The first of many was Sara, an ironworker who told Biden she cannot wait to begin construction of a bridge over the Ohio River, which was part of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will fund over 20,000 projects across the U.S.
“These projects will put hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, bridges, railroads, tunnels, ports and airports, clean water and high-speed internet across America,” President Biden said.
He also recognized the parents of Tyre Nichols, whose son died three days after being beaten by members of the Memphis police. President Biden used this as a segue to discussing police brutality.
President Biden welcomed Brandon Tsay, the man who wrestled the gun away from a mass shooter in Monterey Park after shooting and killing 11 individuals earlier that night on Jan. 21. He called on congress to “ban assault weapons once and for all.”
The Ukrainian Ambassador was also introduced and was asked to stand as Biden claimed the U.S. would “stand with (the Ukraine) as long as it takes.”
A father named Doug was also present, whose daughter died of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 20. Biden said fentanyl kills more than 70,000 Americans a year and invited congress to help “launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sales and trafficking.”
Additionally, President Biden restated his commitment to ending cancer by telling the story of parents Maurice and Kandice, who were present at the address, whose daughter beat a rare kidney cancer with only a 5% survival rate.
The final person he acknowledged was the husband of the former Speaker of the House, and personal friend of Joe Biden, Paul Pelosi. He used the attack on Pelosi in his own house as a way to condemn political violence and the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Although the night was full of cheers, there was some backlash that could be heard on certain topics by members of Congress throughout the night. This occurred after President Biden said President Trump’s administration was responsible for 25% of the country’s national debt. “They’re the facts,” President Biden said. “Check it out.”
Biden later addressed that a large portion of government spending was used to counter the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some Republicans want Medicare and social security to sunset,” Biden said, allowing the programs to expire without reimplementing them.
Later, President Biden said “those who bet against America are learning just how wrong they are,” to which the crowd could be heard responding by chanting “USA.”
“Other nations are defined by geography and ethnicity, but we are the only nation in the world built on an idea … that all of us, every one of us, is created equal in the image of God,” President Biden said.
Biden said because the soul, backbone and people of America are strong, the whole “State of the Union is strong.”