President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address: A Look at the Interruptions, Accusations, and Proposals.
President Joe Biden delivered his 2023 State of the Union address on Feb. 7, 2023, to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill. Although the speech was largely scripted, Biden was ready to address any interruption from House Republicans, who repeatedly heckled him during the 73-minute address. Biden took the opportunity to recast their interruptions as a sign of submission, welcoming “all converts” to his cause. He also used the interruptions to reinforce his message, accusing “some” Republicans of plotting to sunset Social Security and Medicare.
In response to Biden’s remarks on Social Security and Medicare, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shouted “Liar! You lie!” at him. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) proposed an idea which was then highlighted by Biden., last year when he chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which would sunset all federal legislation – including the two entitlement programs – every five years and require Congress to pass them again. He also referenced quotes on the matter from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
Biden also boasted that his administration had cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion, the largest deficit reduction in American history. However, he left out important context. The primary reason the deficit fell so substantially was that it had skyrocketed to a record high under then-President Donald Trump in 2020 because of bipartisan emergency pandemic relief spending, then fell as expected when the spending expired as planned. Analysts who are not affiliated with the Biden administration have noted that the President's laws and executive orders have resulted in an increase to the current and projected future deficits, rather than a decrease.
Biden also referred to the low tax rate many American billionaires have paid in recent years, saying “no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.” He then proposed a “billionaire minimum tax” to address the issue.
The president also said “take-home pay has gone up,” which is true, but the rise is not as fast as inflation. Weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, have decreased in reality. However, real wages are starting to see gains over inflation as inflation has moderated. In the latter half of 2022, real weekly earnings increased by 1.4%.
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