President Biden Delivers His First State Of The Union Address
By Bill Galluccio
March 2, 2022
President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday (March 1) night. Biden's speech comes amid an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, rising inflation at home, concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, and his stalled domestic agenda.
Biden started his address by blasting Russian Vladimir Putin and praising the heroic citizens of Ukraine.
"Six days ago, Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to shake the very foundations of the free world. Thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine, and the world would rollover. Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people," Biden said.
"To every Ukrainian — their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world," Biden added. "Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone — from students to retirees to teachers — turned soldiers defending their homeland."
Biden used the State of the Union to announce that he would be closing U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft.
"Tonight I'm announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy," the President said.
President Biden vowed that U.S. troops would not be involved in the fighting in Ukraine but said that he is sending soldiers to Europe "to defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west."
Biden said that Putin will pay a heavy price for invading Ukraine, detailing the global sanctions that have been put in place to prevent Russia from having access to financial markets to fund and profit off of the war.
President Biden also spoke about his plans to combat inflation and keep the U.S. economy growing. He touted his infrastructure plan, which he called "the most sweeping investment to rebuild America in history."
It is going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st Century that we face with the rest of the world—particularly with China," Biden said. "As I've told Xi Jinping, it is never a good bet to bet against the American people."
"We'll create good jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing roads, airports, ports, and waterways all across America," he promised.
He then called on Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which will result in "record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing."
"There's something happening in America. Just look around and you'll see an amazing story," Biden said. "The rebirth of the pride that comes from stamping products 'Made In America.' The revitalization of American manufacturing. Companies are choosing to build new factories here, when just a few years ago, they would have built them overseas."
Biden then laid out his plan to get the historic rise in inflation under control.
"I think I have a better plan to fight inflation," Biden said. "Lower your costs, not your wages. That means making more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let's make it in America."
"Economists call it 'increasing the productive capacity of our economy.' I call it building a better America."
President Biden also discussed how his administration plans to move forward battling the coronavirus pandemic, telling Americans that "we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines."
Biden laid out his administration's plan to combat COVID-19 in the months ahead.
"Thanks to the progress we have made this past year, COVID-19 need no longer control our lives. I know some are talking about "living with COVID-19". Tonight – I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19. We will continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases. And because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard," he said.
Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated and boosted and touted some of the antiviral treatments available to treat people who get sick. He announced a new initiative to ensure that people who test positive get the treatment they need, free of charge.
"And we're launching the "Test to Treat" initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they're positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost," Biden said.
He vowed that the government will be prepared to act if a new variant emerges.
"I cannot promise a new variant won't come. But I can promise you we'll do everything within our power to be ready if it does."
He also said it is time to "end the shutdown of schools and businesses."
"It's time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office," Biden said. "We're doing that here in the federal government. The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person."
"Our schools are open. Let's keep it that way. Our kids need to be in school," he added.
Biden also called on Congress to pass his domestic agenda, which has been held up by the Republicans in the Senate and infighting amongst the Democratic party.
"Tonight. I call on the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And while you're at it, pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who is funding our elections," he said.
Biden then went on to laud his Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
"A former top litigator in private practice. A former federal public defender. And from a family of public school educators and police officers. A consensus builder. Since she's been nominated, she's received a broad range of support—from the Fraternal Order of Police to former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans."
Biden closed out his speech by announcing that America is strong.
"And my report is this: the State of the Union is strong—because you, the American people, are strong. We are stronger today than we were a year ago. And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today. Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. And we will, as one people. One America. The United States of America."