President Biden Calls for Unity and Progress in His Second State of the Union Address
In his second State of the Union address, President Joe Biden addressed Congress with a message of unity and bipartisanship. While some of his policies may have been met with jeers from Republican lawmakers, the President nonetheless presented an agenda of optimism and progress.
President Biden proudly stated that the 12.1 million jobs created in his first two years in office surpassed the amount of jobs created during four years of any other presidency. This is true, although it must be noted that the job growth under Biden was largely due to a post-pandemic recovery that started under his predecessor. He also called on Congress to pass legislation that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month, a measure that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act but stripped out by Senate Republicans using a parliamentary rule.
The President also addressed the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, making abortion access a matter for the states to decide. He called on Congress to restore “every woman’s constitutional right to choose” by codifying Roe v. Wade and protecting LGBTQ+ Americans by passing the Equality Act.
When Biden said “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” referring to Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) plan to let all government laws sunset after five years, he was met with loud jeers and heckling from the Republican side of the aisle. Biden went off script to clarify that it was not a majority of Republicans who wanted to do so, but the outburst was evidence of how standards of decorum in American politics have changed. It brings to mind the incident 10 years ago when Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” at President Obama during a speech to Congress.
In the end, Biden’s address was a reflection of the current state of American politics: a divided country with high tensions and a President who is trying to bridge the gap. Whether or not Biden will be successful in his efforts remains to be seen.
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