Elizabeth Boyle, Staff
This past week, President Biden gave the annual State of the Union address. The Speech is given in front of all of Congress. In the speech, the current President will address the state of the country, talk about the administration’s accomplishments of the past year, and speak about his upcoming plans for the next year. On Feb. 7 President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address and three important points he talked about were bipartisanship, the economy, and healthcare.
Biden talked about wanting the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work together. After the historic election of Kevin McCarthy to Speaker of the House, which took 5 days and 15 rounds of voting, Biden repetitively mentioned that he wants to continue to work with this new Congress as it starts a new chapter with McCarthy as Speaker of the House. Biden emphasized that his administration was working to end the zero-sum political game by saying, “and, in fact, I signed over 300 bipartisan pieces of legislation since becoming President, from authorizing the Violence Against Women Act to the Electoral Count Reform Act.” Biden continued “And to my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last congress, there is no reason we can’t work together and find consensus on important thing in this congress as well.”
President Biden talked about the economy and the historically low unemployment rate. He started off by talking about the importance of the middle class in America. He said, “that’s always been my vision of our country, and I know it’s many of yours: to restore the should of this nation; to rebuild the backbone of America, America’s middle class; and to unite the country.” Biden said that working to fix the economy is a large reason why he ran for President. He explained, “[He wanted] to make sure the economy works for everyone so we can all feel that pride in what we do.” Biden went on to talk about his administration’s employment record and his future plans to improve the economy. Biden said, “We’re not finished yet, by any stretch of the imagination. But the unemployment rate is at 3.4 percent – a 50-year low.” He referred to the inflation and high gas prices and supply chain shortages, vowing that it cannot happen again which was why he proposed and passed the CHIPS and Science Act that has “already created 800,000 new manufacturing jobs.”
Biden talked about how his efforts to improve the economy are also a push for improved healthcare prices. He stated, “With the Inflation Reduction Act that I signed into law, we’re taking on a powerful interest to bring healthcare costs down so you can sleep better at night with more security. Biden says he will be working over the next year to bring down the prices of prescriptions in the US. He says, “We pay more for prescription drugs than any major nation on Earth.” Biden used insulin as an example saying that under Medicare, insulin prices will have a price cap of $35 per month for seniors. Biden emphasized his priority of making sure everyone is able to get the healthcare and prescriptions they need at an affordable price.
Based on the State of the Union address it looks as though in the next year the American public will be seeing some increased efforts to bring down inflation which could include some adjustments to the tax code. Many viewers saw the State of the Union address as a signal of President Biden’s campaign strategy should he decide to run for a second term. In particular, Biden tried to draw a distinction between Democrats and Republicans concerning the handling of Medicare and Social Security. His claim that Republicans want to end/or limit both entitlement programs for seniors was met with jeers by the Republicans in the House chamber. Biden used the verbal outrage expressed by Republicans to claim that it looked like both programs would therefore remain untouched since both parties agreed on their ultimate importance. That was a rhetorical moment for the crowds watching on TV that was belied by the President’s actions on subsequent days when he claimed Republicans want to “sunset,” i.e., place an end date on Medicare and Social Security. The race for the 2024 Presidential election may have started at the State of the Union.