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Biden’s speech to Congress: five main conclusions

The President presented his $ 1.8 trillion plan to invest in America, financed by increasing the rate of capital gains for the wealthy

The coronavirus pandemic has cast a strange cloak over the annual political tradition

When Biden took the podium, he passed a sparse, masked crowd. He banged his fists and elbows on lawmakers and members of his cabinet – greeting a crowd that was physically distanced and ideologically divided.

As fewer people were present, due to coronavirus security protocols, applause and shouting were silenced – as seemed appropriate for a dark moment in history. Although Biden’s speech signaled hope – there was no denying that the country was still struggling with huge losses and suffering.

After a long, dark year, the vaccine offered a light, Biden said. “Grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren instead of pressing their hands against the window to say goodbye,” he said.

But, he added: “There is still more work to do to beat this virus. We can’t let our guard down now. “

It was a historic night for women in government

As soon as he stepped onto the podium, Biden recognized Kamala Harris, stood behind him, as “Madam Vice President”, and then reflected: “No president has ever said those words behind this podium. And it was time. “

For the first time in the history of the United States, two women were sitting behind the president at a joint session of Congress. Nancy Pelosi, the mayor and the third person in the chain of command, after Biden and Harris, also flanked Biden.

In 2007, Pelosi was the first woman to sit behind a president during a joint speech in Congress after becoming the first woman to serve as mayor. Harris is the first black and South American American woman to be elected vice president. Asked about the importance of the occasion, Harris told reporters that it was simply “normal”.

Vice-president Kamala Harris gives Joe Biden a fist bump as House speaker Nancy Pelosi looks on.
Source: theguardian

‘Jobs, jobs, jobs’

Biden’s populist and direct appeal to working-class Americans could be summed up in a four-letter word: jobs. At each stage, Biden explains that his proposals – to improve water infrastructure, increase Internet access, build highways, increase childcare options for working families – will boost jobs.

He used the word 43 times throughout his speech.

“When I think about climate change, I think about jobs,” he said. “There is no reason why wind turbine blades cannot be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.”

Biden ushered in a new era of great government and great government spending

“Our government still works – and it can help people,” said Biden.

The president presented his broad $ 1.8 trillion plan, which would invest billions in a national daycare program, universal preschool, free community college, health insurance subsidies and tax breaks for low- and middle-income workers.

The vision would be financed by reversing Trump-era tax cuts, raising the rate of capital gains for millionaires and billionaires and closing the tax loopholes for the wealthy.

“The drip economy has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and in the middle, ”said Biden. “We are going to reform corporate taxes to pay their fair share – and help pay for the public investments that their businesses will benefit from.”

The message was a clear example of how much Biden embraced and embraced progressive ideas and policies – even though many of the government’s proposals are more modest, or toned down, than the leading progressive legislators advocated.

The president introduced reforms that have bipartisan support – among voters, if not legislators

Biden proposed major reforms for arms control and policing, and made a major speech to protect the right to vote. Republican lawmakers fought against the government and its Democratic colleagues on all three issues. But polls indicate that while the country remains deeply divided on many issues, there is, in fact, broad bipartisan support among voters for the president’s proposals.

About two-thirds of Americans support tougher gun laws, a USA TODAY / Ipsos poll found after the shootings in Atlanta and Boulder this year. “The country supports reform and Congress must act,” said Biden.

A March Morning Consult poll found that about 7 out of 10 voters, including most Republicans, support the House’s comprehensive electoral reform measure. And while Republicans have many reservations about George Floyd’s Law on Policing Justice, the reform bill put forward by Democrats in Congress, polls indicate that they largely support many provisions.

Republicans, who routinely denigrated and voted against Biden’s proposals, including his widely popular coronavirus relief plan and the proposed infrastructure plan, found themselves in a strange position of having to convince voters that they don’t really want what they want .

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