President Biden Delivers State of the Union to Fiery Audience

February 7, 2023

President Biden delivered the 2023 State of the Union before Congress Tuesday night, touting the achievements of his first two years in office with one resounding message: “Let’s finish the job.”

As Biden spoke on a number of topics, he received the usual applause and standing ovations from the Democratic side of the chamber. But from Republicans, he received an uncommon amount of jeers and shouts—to the point where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) felt compelled to “shush” the crowd several times. 

Rather than ignoring the hecklers, Biden addressed them and even challenged them to fact check his statements. 

The topic that received perhaps the largest portion of Biden’s speech was a scorecard on the bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Biden signed in November 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act, which he signed into law in August.  The President referred to the legislation as “the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisnenhower’s interstate highway system.”

Biden ticked off a number of the projects underway thanks to the Infrastructure law, including replacing poisonous lead pipes and making sure every community in America has access to high speed internet. He also announced new standards that will require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.

He noted that the Inflation Reduction Act had capped insulin for seniors at $35 a vial, quickly adding that there are others who need that price break. “Let’s finish the job this time, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35,” Biden said. “Big pharma is still going to do very well, I promise you all.”

He went on to say that the Inflation Reduction Act is also “the most significant investment ever to tackle the climate crisis.” The projects underway in that regard, Biden said, included new electric grids that can weather major storms, clean energy to cut pollution and create jobs, and a goal to build 500,000 electrical charging stations for electric vehicles.

However, Biden got a laugh when he he said we’re going to need oil “for at least another decade”—quickly responding to his audience’s reaction by adding, “And beyond that.”

The subject of the debt ceiling drew some of the loudest jeers from Republicans, particularly when Biden said, “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.”

Biden turned their protests around by saying, “We all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now, right?” He got a standing ovation by adding, “Let’s stand up for seniors.” 

He noted that during his first two years in office, the government had cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion, adding, “Under the previous administration America’s deficit went up four years in a row,” yet Congress “lifted the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or crisis.”

A somber moment came when Biden noted that sitting with the First Lady were the parents of Tyre Nichols, who died last month after suffering a beating from Memphis police officers, five of whom have been charged with murder.

“As many of you personally know there are no words to describe the heartache or grief of losing a child, but imagine if you lost that child at the hands of the law,” Biden said. He then pressed for police reform, stating that he had signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other key elements of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which had passed the then-Democratic-led House in March 2021 but failed in the Senate.

Another rousing response came when Biden spoke of ” investing to make America stronger” by modernizing our military and making investments in innovation and industry that “China’s government is intent on dominating.”

A chant of “USA! USA!” burst from the chamber when Biden insisted, “It’s never been a good bet to bet against America, never.” 

He then returned to the theme of the evening, saying, “There’s so much more to do, and we can do it together.”

Biden spoke of tackling the fentanyl crisis, stopping big tech from collecting personal data and targeting ads to kids, helping veterans and spouses with job training, and reigniting the “Cancer Moonshot” program he’d started during the Obama Administration. 

Democracy makes all this possible, he insisted, invoking the January 6, 2021 insurrection and then pointing out Paul Pelosi, also in the chamber with the First Lady, whom he said, “bears the scars of that brutal attack” that was politically motivated.

“We must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor,” Biden declared.

Biden concluded with a crescendo, “Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong…We are the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”

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