Biden Joint Session speech to Congress summary: covid, American jobs

Greg Heilman

COMMENT
Biden Joint Session speech to Congress summary: covid, American jobs

Biden address Congress - live

President Biden laid out his legacy in first address to a joint session of Congress 

In a State of the Union-style address to Congress, President Biden presented what he has accomplished in his first 100 days in office and where he wants to take the nation going forward. He talked about taking the reins of a country that was in crisis, from the destruction wrought by the pandemic and the division that led to the Capitol riot. But at the end of his introductory statements, he said “America is on the move again!” 

Peril into Possibility, Crisis into Opportunity 

“In America we can get knocked down, but we never ever, ever stay down,” Biden said when addressing the challenges that the nation has faced over the past year. The President lauded the administration’s vaccination program taking the nation from about 1% of seniors vaccinated to over 70% now vaccinated and that the vaccine is now available to anyone over 16 that wants it. Still, he said that there is work to be done and that those that haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, should do so. 

The President talked about how the American Rescue Plan has made a difference already in Americans lives, keeping families from being evicted to a grandmother who was able to visit the eye doctors finally. How enrollment in health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act had increased by 800,000. And that since taking office over 1.3 million jobs have been created.  

“The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America” 

Biden moved onto where he wants to take the nation with his American Jobs Plan. How through this generational investment opportunity the nation can get back to work through cleaning the US water supply and energy production. “For too long we haven't used the most important word when talking about the climate crisis, ‘jobs, jobs, jobs,’" Biden said. He challenged the idea that we need to offshore our production of clean energy components. The millions of jobs that could be created will benefit everyone across the country. 

“Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us” 

As for his proposals to help American families through the most sweeping revamp of social programs since the 1960s he covered what was expected. Biden wants Congress to extend free education by four years so that child start sooner and have an opportunity to get a start in higher education. To help with healthcare costs he said that Congress should tackle prescription drug prices this year.  “Healthcare should be a right not a privilege in America” 

“You should be able to become a billionaire or a millionaire in America, but pay your fair share” 

To pay for all of the spending that he is suggesting Biden put forth his view on increasing taxes for the wealthiest and corporate America “Trickle-down economics has never worked, it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle,” he said.  

“American is an arsenal for democracy for the world” 

Biden talked about foreign policy, that the challenge of the 21st century is whether democracy can compete with autocracy. Biden said that the US would not backdown to foreign aggression and that everyone must play by the same rules.  The choice to pull out of Afghanistan is not out of weakness but out of leadership to stop a “forever war”. Biden said that terrorism has metastasized and that the most pressing terrorist threat is white supremacy. 

“Gun violence has become an epidemic in this country” 

Biden called for sensible gun control laws, acknowledging that it is a constitutional right but comparing it to how we limit other core rights. One can’t walk into a theatre and shout “fire”. He wants Congress to pass legislation to close loopholes in background checks as well as ban high-capacity magazines. The latter he said most hunters will tell you that you don’t need “You think deer are wearing kevlar vests?” 

“For 30 years we've talked about immigration reform, but done nothing about it” 

On immigration, Biden said “The country supports immigration… let’s act.” He wants to create a pathway to citizenship not just for Dreamers, but also for those that work the fields to produce the food that feeds Americans. In order to tackle the issue of immigration he wants more to be done to tackle the root causes of migration in the first place. 

Watch Biden Joint Session address

President Joe Biden gave an upbeat speech to the Joint Session of Congress, focusing both on his achievements so far, and talking up his bold plans for the future. 

The actual coverage starts at the 31 minute mark:

Biden made 7 in 10 who listened feel optimistic

Chris Wallace gives high grades on Biden speech

8 out of 10 viewer also had a favorable opinion of the Presidents speech to Congress on Wednesday according to a CBS News Poll of speech watches.

GOP rebuttal to Biden's congressional address

Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, used his speech tonight in rebuttal to President Biden's address to Congress to discuss the racial progress the US has made.

He went on to say that "America is not a racist country."

President Biden laid out his legacy in first address to a joint session of Congress 

In a State of the Union-style address to Congress, President Biden presented what he has accomplished in his first 100 days in office and where he wants to take the nation going forward. He talked about taking the reins of a country that was in crisis, from the destruction wrought by the pandemic and the division that led to the Capitol riot. But at the end of his introductory statements, he said “America is on the move again!” 

Peril into Possibility, Crisis into Opportunity 

“In America we can get knocked down, but we never ever, ever stay down,” Biden said when addressing the challenges that the nation has faced over the past year. The President lauded the administration’s vaccination program taking the nation from about 1% of seniors vaccinated to over 70% now vaccinated and that the vaccine is now available to anyone over 16 that wants it. Still, he said that there is work to be done and that those that haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, should do so. 

The President talked about how the American Rescue Plan has made a difference already in Americans lives, keeping families from being evicted to a grandmother who was able to visit the eye doctors finally. How enrollment in health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act had increased by 800,000. And that since taking office over 1.3 million jobs have been created.  

“The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America” 

Biden moved onto where he wants to take the nation with his American Jobs Plan. How through this generational investment opportunity the nation can get back to work through cleaning the US water supply and energy production. “For too long we haven't used the most important word when talking about the climate crisis, ‘jobs, jobs, jobs,’" Biden said. He challenged the idea that we need to offshore our production of clean energy components. The millions of jobs that could be created will benefit everyone across the country. 

“Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us” 

As for his proposals to help American families through the most sweeping revamp of social programs since the 1960s he covered what was expected. Biden wants Congress to extend free education by four years so that child start sooner and have an opportunity to get a start in higher education. To help with healthcare costs he said that Congress should tackle prescription drug prices this year.  “Healthcare should be a right not a privilege in America” 

“You should be able to become a billionaire or a millionaire in America, but pay your fair share” 

To pay for all of the spending that he is suggesting Biden put forth his view on increasing taxes for the wealthiest and corporate America “Trickle-down economics has never worked, it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle,” he said.  

“American is an arsenal for democracy for the world” 

Biden talked about foreign policy, that the challenge of the 21st century is whether democracy can compete with autocracy. Biden said that the US would not backdown to foreign aggression and that everyone must play by the same rules.  The choice to pull out of Afghanistan is not out of weakness but out of leadership to stop a “forever war”. Biden said that terrorism has metastasized and that the most pressing terrorist threat is white supremacy. 

“Gun violence has become an epidemic in this country” 

Biden called for sensible gun control laws, acknowledging that it is a constitutional right but comparing it to how we limit other core rights. One can’t walk into a theatre and shout “fire”. He wants Congress to pass legislation to close loopholes in background checks as well as ban high-capacity magazines. The latter he said most hunters will tell you that you don’t need “You think deer are wearing kevlar vests?” 

“For 30 years we've talked about immigration reform, but done nothing about it” 

On immigration, Biden said “The country supports immigration… let’s act.” He wants to create a pathway to citizenship not just for Dreamers, but also for those that work the fields to produce the food that feeds Americans. In order to tackle the issue of immigration he wants more to be done to tackle the root causes of migration in the first place. 

Biden rubs elbows with the audience

President Biden after finishing his speech join the audience on the floor to shake hands with Bernie Sanders and Rosa DeLauro before moving on to other attendees.

US democracy;

Never bet against America! It a bad bet.

It’s never been a good bet to bet against America and it still isn’t

Joe Biden, US President

US democracy;

Autocrats will not win the future...

...the future belongs to America.

The future belongs to America

Joe Biden, US President

21st century democracy;

The insurrection was a test.

Can our democracy deliver to the most pressing needs. 

We need to prove that our democracy still works.

You think deer are wearing kevlar vests?

Joe Biden, US President

Election reform;

Congress should pass HR1 and the John Lewis Act.

Immigration;

A pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and for farm workers who help feed America.

The country supports immigration… let’s act

Joe Biden, US President

Immigration;

We need to tackle the root causes of migration.

VP Harris will be in charge of the Biden administration program

Immigration;

For 30 years we've talked about immigration reform, but done nothing about it.

If you want to solve a problem I sent a bill to you, tae a look at it.

Gun legislation;

It is time for Congress to act as well.

We need Republicans to join Democrats and close the loopholes in background checks and high-capacity magazine.

We need a ban on assault weapons with high-capacity magazines

Joe Biden, US President

Guns;

In the 90s... we beat the NRA. It made a difference, look at the decade afterward.

Guns;

Gun violence has become an epidemic in this country.

White supremacy is terrorism. We’re not going to ignore that either.

Joe Biden, US President

Policing;

Now is our chance to make a change. Most of the people wearing the badge serve honorably, I know them. 

Let's get it done by the first anniversary of George Floyd's death.

Terrorism;

White supremacy is terrorism.

After 20 years of sacrifice and valor, it’s time to bring those troops home

Joe Biden, US President

Afghanistan:

American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan.

Russian;

I responded directly and proportionally.

He understands we will respond.

China;

Every nation plays by the same rules.

America will stand up to unfair subsidies, and the theft of intelectual property.

American is an arsenal for democracy for the world

Joe Biden, US President

Trickle-down economics has never worked, it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle

Joe Biden, US President

Tax reform;

We're going to get rid of the loopholes that allow people who earn over a $1 million but pay less in taxes than those earning less.

You should be able to become a billionaire or a millionaire in America, but pay your fair share

Joe Biden, US President

How to pay;

I will not put a tax increase on anyone earning under 400K.

It's time for corporate America to pay their fair share.

Healthcare should be a right not a privilege in America

Joe Biden, US President

Prescription drugs;

Let's do it now. Let's get it done this year.

Prescription drugs;

We pay the highest price in the world, nearly three times what other countries pay.

Let's negotiate lower drug prescriptions.

Child Tax Credit;

Let's extend it to 2025.

Healthcare AFP;

Low income families will only pay 7% of their health insurance premiums. The lowest will pay nothing. and 12 weeks of paid leave.

Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us

Joe Biden, US President

Education;

Biden says  that two extra years of preschool will aid young children to go on to college and succeed in life. As well two years of free community college will help the US compete.

Education;

In the 21st Century 12 years is not enough.

Global competition;

President Xi is deadly serious, (about establishing China's place in the world).

The American Jobs Plan is simple. It’s jobs, jobs, jobs.

Joe Biden, US President

Negotiating;

I wanted to lay out my plan before I sent it to Congress...

...but the rest of the world is not waiting for us.

Reseach and development;

It's in our power to end cancer.

American Jobs Plan;

A new research and development agency for health, (along the lines of DARPA)

Change;

There will be more change in the next 15 years than in the last 50 years.

American Jobs Plan;

If you're looking for something to send to my desk. Let's raise the minimum wage to $15. No one working 40 hours a week should live in poverty.

The American Jobs Plan is a blue collar blueprint to build America 

Joe Biden, US President

American Jobs Plan;

Nearly 90% of the jobs in the AJP don't require a college degree.

American Jobs Plan;

All the parts of the AJP will be guided by one principle, buy American. There is nothing in any trade agreement that prevents that.

American Jobs Plan;

There's no reason the blades for wind turbines can't be built in Pittsburgh rather than Beijing.

American Jobs Plan;

For too long we haven't used the most important word when talking about the climate crisis, "jobs, jobs, jobs"

American Jobs Plan;

2 million women left the workforce because off the pandemic. The AJP will help get them back into the workforce.

How America does not provide clean, drinkable water to every single citizen in the 21st century beggars belief and is a sad indictment of a country that aims to be the most advanced nation on the planet. Biden's plan here is to be applauded.

American Jobs Plan;

Broadband, VP Harris will led the effort.

Green energy grid

American Jobs Plan;

A once in a generation opportunity. 

400,000 schools and child care facilities have lead piping. The AJP will replaced 100% of them.

Winning slogan? You're going to hear a lot of it...

Infrastructure:

Has transformed America, our attitude as well as opportunities.

Job creation:

The US economy has created 1.3 million jobs in Biden's first 100 days.

 

Health care:

800,000 more enrolled under Affordable Care Act

$1,400 Stimulus checks

Biden talking up the effect of sending out $1,400 stimulus cheques, of which he says they've sent out 160 million so far. He says a single mom in Texas wrote to him saying the the relief cheque "put food on the table and saved her and her son from eviction".

He says a Grandmother was able to book an appointment to get eye care as soon as she received her check. 

 

Vaccines;

There is still more work to be done. People still need to go out and get the vaccine.

Actions;

When I took office less than 1% of senior were vaccinated, now 70% are vaccinated.

Actions; 

American Rescue Plan, we're already seeing results

Covid shots, 220 million shots in arms. 90% of Americans are within 5 miles of a vaccination site. Anyone over 16 can get a vaccine if they want.

In America we can get knocked down, but we never stay down.

Intro; America is on the move again.

It's good to be back!

Joe Biden, US President

President Joe Biden enters the chamber

The Sergeant in Arms announced President Joe Biden's entrance to general applause from the chamber. 

President Biden greeted those along the aisle with fist bumps. before ascending the dais.

Biden fist bumping...

Catchphrase to watch for: Peril into Possibility, Crisis into Opportunity

Biden's Annual Address to a Joint Session of Congress

As you've probably seen around the web, this is NOT a State of the Union address from the president, as since 1977, the first speech a president gives before a joint session of Congress is not referred to as a State of the Union address - Jimmy Carter in his 1977 speech devoted his time to energy policy. Instead of being a State of the Union speech it is refereed to as an annual message or a message on a particular topic.

Talking of terminology, this is a Joint Session of Congress, which means it's an official working session of Congress. You also get joint meetings of Congress, which are less formal and do not count as official working sessions. 

Additional attendee enter pt. 3

First Lady Jill Biden has now taken her seat in the chamber.

Additional attendee enters pt.2

Chief Justice Roberts has entered the chamber. He will be the only Justice to attend Biden's speech this evening.

Additional attendees enter

The diplomatic corp enters the chamber.

 

Biden is at the US Captiol

President Biden is in the holding room awaiting his moment to enter the chamber.

Gerry Connolly is Congressman for Virigina's 11th district.

Pictures from Biden's address to a joint session of Congress

The first female Vice President Kamala Harris walking to the chamber where Biden will address Congress.

HERstoric, has also been spotted on Twitter...

Aisle seats are actually 3 seats from the aisle

Due to covid-19 restriction and spacing those sitting on the aisle will really be a few seats away. 

The audience is taking their seats

The around 200 in-person spectators have begun taking their seats in preparation for President Joe Biden's arrival to the US Capitol shortly.

Biden is on the move to the US Capitol

Biden's motorcade has left the White House and is en route to the US Capitol. He will start his speech at 9 pm ET.

A preview of what Biden will say tonight

DC under heavy security in preparation for Biden's address to Congress

With security fences still surrounding the Capitol and continuing concerns over extremist threats, President Joe Biden's first joint address to Congress will take place under heavy guard. 

250 DC National Guard personnel are in place near the Capitol to support law enforcement and assist police with street closures "as needed" until 9 May, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a briefing.

Klobuchar invites virtual guests to Biden's joint session of Congress address

Only 58 Senators were given invites to attend Biden's State of the Union-style address that were split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats handed their spots out via lottery according to AXIOS.

Schumer wants Biden to use address to Congress to cancel student debt

Biden has express an interest in cancelling student debt, but not to the tune that more progressive Democrats are calling for. There have been calls for up to $50,000 of student debt to be erased for those who are indebted. Biden has spoken of perhaps $10,000, but will he make that part of his Build Back Better plan that will be on display tonight.

A more inclusive address to a joint session of Congress

In a historic first, the livestream of a President’s address to a joint session of Congress will include American Sign Language interpretation.

The White House on Twitter said it will be providing an ASL interpreter for Biden’s first address to Congress Wednesday night to “make this historic moment accessible for all Americans.”

US NEWS

Biden raises minimum wage: how has it changed throughout history?

Biden signs latest executive order in run-up to addressing Congress

President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive actions in his first 100 days in office, primarily aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of former President Donald Trump’s policies.

The latest executive order raises the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 per hour. The increase will boost the wage of an estimated 390,000 low-wage employees of the federal government, roughly half of who are lack or Hispanic.

Biden to call for sweeping social plan

Biden will call on Congress to pass his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan when he addresses the joint session of Congress this evening. The plan will include paid leave for families, an extra four years of free education and an extension of the Child Tax Credit among other measures to help Americans.

First time a president will address both chambers with two women behind him

President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday will be noteworthy not because of the COVID-restricted audience but because he'll stand before two women in the House Chamber, a first in history.

What Biden told reporters before the address: The challenge of the 21st century is whether democracy can compete with autocracy

Meeting with reporters prior to addressing a joint session of congress President Biden told them that history will talk not of the people at this juncture in time but about whether or not democracy can function in the 21st century.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will give rebuttal

A rising figure in the Republican party Senator Tim Scott is a unique voice in the GOP. His speech is expect to say in his remarks "Our best future won't come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you — the American people." 

US NEWS

Fourth stimulus check live updates: child tax credit date, plus-up payments in third check, how to claim

Stimulus news

If you're looking for news on the stimulus checks and other government assistance in the pandemic, check out our other dedicated feed to that. 

Rep. Gohmert expresses frustration at not being invited to Biden's  joint sessions address

Many people will not be in attendance at tonight's event, only 200 people were allowed to attend due to covie-19 safety protocols. There will be only two none governmental guests the First Lady and the second gentleman Doug Emhoff. 

Others in attendance include Chief Justice John Roberts, who will be the only Supreme Court justice present. Only two members of the Cabinet, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be there.

US News

Biden to address Congress at State of the Union 2021: Speech time, how to watch online

As a Senator and Vice-President, Joseph R. Biden has watched eight presidents deliver the annual State of the Union address, and tomorrow night he will deliver his first joint address to Congress.

Here is all you need to know to tune in and watch the speech live.

President Biden wants you to join him tonight

President Joe Biden will be addressing a joint session of Congress with around 200 people in attendance as opposed to the normally 1,600 guests.  

Like you those who cannot attend in person can do so from home.

On eve of 100th day in office President Biden will address a joint session of Congress 

Speaking in a State of the Union-style address to both chambers of Congress, President Biden will tout his achievements in office so far. As well, he will sell his infrastructure investment and call for the most sweeping revamp of US social benefits since the 1960s.  

In his first 100 days he got his sweeping $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Though Congress, sending every eligible American a $1,400 stimulus check as well as a raft of tax benefits.  

He has already presented his vision for a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Plan, that re-envisions the US economy and how the US will produce energy over the next decade. 

He presented his American Families Plan earlier in the day which includes $1.8trillion of spending on education and family leave. It will provide four more years of free education, two for pre-K and two post secondary, as well as 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents.  

The White House says both of his new proposals if passed by Congress would be "fully paid for" by tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. 

Biden will give a State of the Union-style address 

The first year a president is in office the event is not called a State of the Union since the new president hasn’t had time to accomplish much or put into place any policies. However, President Joe Biden’s address was pushed back giving his administration time to get much needed work done. 

On the eve of his 100th day in office President Biden has many accomplishments under his belt to tout. His original goal of 100 million shots in arms, was met twice and a some over, nearly 30% of the US population is now fully vaccinated. He also got his first legislative covid-19 package through weeks after he entered office. The $1.9 trillion stimulus and relief package passed on party lines, but got through Congress almost unchanged.

State of the Union-style address will be historic 

Normally the State of the Union address takes place at the end of January or in February. However, this year due to the covid-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden’s address was pushed back to the end of April. In attendance will be a much smaller gathering of lawmakers and government officials.  

Around 200 people in all are expected at the speech, instead of the roughly 1,600 who typically attend. Since just two Cabinet positions will be represented there was no “Designated Successor” chosen for this joint session address. 

This evening will be historic in another way. Behind him will be seated US Vice-President Kamala Harris and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For the first time during a speech to Congress two women sit behind the president.  

Hello! Welcome to our live coverage of President Joe Biden's joint session of Congress. 

The address begins at 9 pm ET, we'll be keeping you up to date on what the President says and reactions from the audience and the world.

.