Biden’s State Of The Union Address, Annotated

Biden’s State Of The Union Address, Annotated

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Remarks as delivered

Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, our First Lady and Second Gentleman. Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Justices of the Supreme Court. My fellow Americans.

Last year COVID-19 kept us apart. This year we are finally together again.

Not only were more people in the House chamber to watch the speech in person, many of them were unmasked after the rule to wear masks on the House floor was lifted Tuesday.

Tonight, we meet as Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans.

With a duty to one another to America, to the American people, to the Constitution.

And with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.

Biden has framed his presidency as a fight between autocracy and democracy — and the war in Ukraine has only made it more so.

Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the 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 roll over. Instead he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined.

He met the Ukrainian people.

From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, literally inspires the world.

Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees to teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland.

In this struggle as President Zelenskyy said in his speech to the European Parliament “Light will win over darkness.” The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States is here tonight sitting with the First Lady.

A touching moment as the audience stood and cheered; the ambassador, Oksana Markarova, was moved.

Let each of us stand if you’re able send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world.

She’s bright, she’s strong, she’s resolve. Yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people.

It’s notable that there was standing and clapping here from both sides of the chamber.

Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos.

They keep moving.

Biden did not mention Hitler by name here, but this is likely an allusion to the notion of appeasement before World War II.

And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.

That’s why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War 2.

The United States is a member along with 29 other nations.

It matters. American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.

This could be something of a foreign policy lesson for the Americans who grew up after the Cold War and wonder what purpose NATO serves.

Putin’s latest attack on Ukraine was premeditated and totally unprovoked.

He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy.

He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. And he thought he could divide us at home in this chamber and this nation, he thought he could divide us in Europe as well. But Putin was wrong. We are ready, we are united and that’s what we did, we stayed united.

We prepared extensively and carefully.

We spent months building a coalition of other freedom-loving nations from Europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa to confront Putin.

The unity, so far, of countries imposing sanctions on Russia has devalued the ruble, sent interest rates skyrocketing and paused the Russian economy.

Like many of you, I spent countless hours unifying our European allies. We shared with the world in advance what we knew Putin was planning and precisely how he would try to falsify and justify his aggression.

We countered Russia’s lies with truth.

And now that he has acted the free world is holding him accountable.

The US intelligence community — unlike before the end of the Cold War, the US invasion of Iraq or the US pullout from Afghanistan — got it right here. Read more.

Along with twenty-seven members of the European Union including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, even Switzerland.

We are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine. Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been.

Together along our allies –we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions.

We are cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system.

Preventing Russia’s central bank from defending the Russian Ruble making Putin’s $630 Billion “war fund” worthless.

We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.

Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime no more.

The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.

We are joining with our European allies to find and seize their yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.

This is important since the oligarchs may have Putin’s ear. Several have already called on him to end the invasion of Ukraine. There is a feeling that these rich Russians and their families do not want to give up the trappings of exorbitant wealth they enjoy in Western cities like London and Miami.

And tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights – further isolating Russia – and adding an additional squeeze –on their economy.

He has no idea what’s coming.

The Ruble has lost 30% of its value.

The Russian stock market has lost 40% of its value and trading remains suspended. Russia’s economy is reeling and Putin alone is the one to blame.

Together with our allies we are providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Military assistance. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance.

We are giving more than $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine.

This is true, but it needs context. The US has given more than $1 billion in total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year. While Biden administration officials have continued to send aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion six days ago, they are not giving the total $1 billion in assistance right now.

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And we will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering.

Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and one of Putin’s main objectives is to make sure it never becomes one. The US, as with all NATO members, is bound by the organization’s charter to defend other members of the alliance.

Biden is also sending a message to Putin, who has placed his nuclear forces on high alert, that the US will not join the military fight in Ukraine.

Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO Allies – in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west.

For that purpose we’ve mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

As I have made crystal clear the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power. Every single inch.

Here’s another message from Biden to Putin: Do not move on from Ukraine to try to seize control of the small Baltic nations. The US would retaliate with its military.

And we’re clear-eyed. The Ukrainians are fighting back with pure courage. But the next few days weeks, months, will be hard on them.

Putin has unleashed violence and chaos. But while he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run.

And a pound of Ukrainian people, proud proud people, pound for pound ready to fight with every inch of energy they have, they’ve known 30 years of independence, have repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.

The Russians have been surprised by the scrappy efforts of the Ukrainians. Biden makes clear this will not be a conflict that ends soon.

To all Americans, I will be honest with you, as I’ve always promised I would be. A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world.

And I’m taking robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at Russian economy. And I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers.

Tonight, I can announce that the United States has worked with 30 other countries to release 60 Million barrels of oil from reserves around the world.

Russia produces more oil than any other country in the world except the US. Prices have already spiked because of the invasion. Be ready for them to go even higher, since Biden’s efforts will not have a massive effect on the price of oil. That has more to do with the decisions of the OPEC+ oil cartel, which includes Russia.

America will lead that effort, releasing 30 Million barrels from our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And we stand ready to do more if necessary, united with our allies.

These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home. And I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming to all Americans.

But I want you to know that we are going to be okay, we’re going to be okay.

Biden leaned forward and whispered this like he was telling everyone a secret. For some, this is his grandfatherly charm.

When the history of this era is written Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.

While it shouldn’t have taken something so terrible for people around the world to see what’s at stake now everyone sees it clearly.

We see the unity among leaders of nations and a more unified Europe a more unified West. And we see unity among the people who are gathering in cities in large crowds around the world even in Russia to demonstrate their support for the people of Ukraine.

In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.

While he wouldn’t commit US troops for fear of upending the equilibrium with Russia — the other major nuclear power — Biden said the stakes of this fight and containing Putin couldn’t be higher.

This is a real test. It’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people.

To our fellow Ukrainian Americans who forge a deep bond that connects our two nations we stand with you, we stand with you.

Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people.

Clearly he meant “Ukrainian.” Oops!

He will never extinguish their love of freedom. He will never weaken the resolve of the free world.

We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced.

The pandemic has been punishing.

As Biden said these words, a total of 952,969 people had died in the US from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

And so many families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more.

I understand, like many of you did.

I remember when my Dad had to leave our home in Scranton, Pennsylvania to find work. I grew up in a family where if the price of food went up, and it was felt throughout the family, it had an impact.

That’s why one of the first things I did as President was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan.

Because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did.

Few pieces of legislation have done more in a critical moment in our history to lift us out of crisis.

This legislation, unlike previous Covid-19 measures, was passed without help from Republicans. Many of the provisions, such as large tax credits to people with children, have now expired.

It fueled our efforts to vaccinate the nation and combat COVID-19. It delivered immediate economic relief for tens of millions of Americans.

Helped put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads, and cut the cost of health insurance.

And as my Dad used to say, it gave people a little breathing room.

And unlike the $2 Trillion tax cut passed in the previous administration that benefitted the top 1% of Americans, the American Rescue Plan helped working people—and left no one behind.

Awkward TV moment alert. Republicans booed when Biden disparaged their tax cuts. Cameras showed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer prematurely standing to applaud during their boos. But the fact of help provided for people during the pandemic is important.

And it worked. It created jobs. Lots of jobs.

In fact—our economy created over 6.5 Million new jobs just last year, more jobs created in one year than ever before in the history of United States of America.

This is true. The US added 6.6 million jobs in the first 12 months of Biden’s term, more than the US added in any year going back to 1939, when this data series was first published. However, the Biden-era gains should be viewed with contextual caution. Biden inherited an economy that had been crushed by unprecedented pandemic-related job losses.

Read more

Our economy grew at a rate of 5.7% last year, the strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the first step in bringing fundamental change to our economy that hasn’t worked for the working people of this nation for too long.

That is correct. But it also needs some more context because the economy is still recovering from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Read more

For the past 40 years we were told that if we gave tax breaks to those at the very top, the benefits would trickle down and everyone else would benefit.

But that trickle-down theory led to weaker economic growth, lower wages, bigger deficits, and the widening gap between those at the top and everyone else in nearly a century.

Here, Biden threw shade at the Ronald Reagan school of economics and argued the government can help the country help its citizens and create a more equitable society.

Vice President Harris and I ran for office, and I realize we had fundamental disagreements on this, but we ran for office with a new economic vision for America.

Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.

Because we know that when the middle class grows, the poor have a way up and the wealthy do very well.

America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on Earth.

Now our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world.

We won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century if we don’t fix that.

That’s why it was so important to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—the most sweeping investment to rebuild America in history.

This was a bipartisan effort, and I want to thank the members of both parties who worked to make it happen.

We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks.

We’re now talking about an infrastructure decade.

It was hard to do, but it is true: Democrats and Republicans came together to pass this large infrastructure bill. Many progressives were frustrated, feeling it still wasn’t large enough. Most Republicans opposed it. But it’s here, and it was bipartisan. And that’s something.

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.

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.

And we’ll do it all to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.

A much larger effort to combat climate change died when Republicans would not allow a vote and two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, would not agree to change Senate rules to jam it through with a simple majority.

We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin to replace poisonous lead pipes—so every child—and every American—has clean water to drink at home and at school, provide affordable high-speed internet for every American—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities.

This needs context. For a few reasons, it’s questionable whether the Biden administration will be able to meet its goal of installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations on US roads.

Read more

4,000 projects have already been announced.

And tonight, I’m announcing that this year we will start fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair.

Folks, when we use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America – we are going to do it by Buy American: buy American products to support American jobs.

The federal government spends about $600 Billion a year to keep this country safe and secure.

There’s been a law on the books for almost a century to make sure taxpayers’ dollars support American jobs and businesses.

Every Administration, Democrat or Republican, says they’ll do it, but we are actually doing it.

We will buy American to make sure everything from the deck of an aircraft carrier to the steel on highway guardrails is made in America from beginning to end, all of it, all of it.

Some things are universal. Former President Donald Trump could have said these very words. Note: You didn’t hear that name — Donald Trump — from Biden in his address.

But folks, to compete for the best jobs of the future, we also need to level the playing field with China and other competitors.

That’s why it is so important to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act sitting in Congress that will make record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing.

We used to invest almost 2% of our GDP in research and development. We don’t now. China is.

Let me give you one example of why it’s so important to pass it.

If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll find 1,000 empty acres of land.

It won’t look like much, but if you stop and look closely, you’ll see a “Field of dreams,” the ground on which America’s future will be built.

This is where Intel, the American company that helped build Silicon Valley, is going to build its $20 billion semiconductor “mega site”.

Up to eight state-of-the-art factories in one place. 10,000 new good-paying jobs.

In those factories, they average job about $135,000 a year. Some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world to make computer chips the size of a fingertip that power the world and our everyday lives.

Smartphones. The Internet. Technology that is yet to be invented.

Amid the pandemic-induced supply chain issues, it would have been nice to have more computer chips made in the US.

But that’s just the beginning.

Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who is here tonight. I don’t know where Pat is, oh there you go, Pat, stand up.

Pat came to see me and told me they are ready to increase their investment from $20 billion to $100 billion.

That would be one of the biggest investments in manufacturing in American history.

And all they’re waiting for is for you to pass this bill.

So let’s not wait any longer. Send it to my desk. I’ll sign it.

And we will really take off in a big way.

And Intel is not alone.

There’s something happening in America.

Just look around and you’ll see an amazing story.

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 gone overseas.

Biden would love nothing more than to get Rust Belt states in his corner. They are a key to the political map.

That’s what is happening. Ford is investing $11 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 11,000 jobs across the country.

GM is making the largest investment in its history—$7 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 4,000 jobs in Michigan.

All told, we created 369,000 new manufacturing jobs in America just last year.

Powered by people I’ve met like JoJo Burgess, from generations of union steelworkers from Pittsburgh, who’s here with us tonight. Where are you JoJo? Thanks buddy.

As Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says, “It’s time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt.’ ”

It’s time to see what used to be called the “Rust Belt” become the home of significant resurgence of manufacturing.

Biden lost Ohio in the 2020 election. He won Pennsylvania. He’d love to figure out how to win Pennsylvania again. Here’s the argument from a White House economist that American manufacturing is making a comeback.

But with all the bright spots in our economy, record job growth and higher wages, too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills.

Inflation is robbing them of the gains they thought otherwise would be able to feel.

I get it. That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.

Inflation is higher than it’s been in 40 years and is starting to concern a lot of economists. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot presidents can do about it.

Look, our economy roared back faster than most predicted, but the pandemic meant that businesses had a hard time hiring enough workers to keep up production in their factories.

So you didn’t have people making those beams that went into buildings because they were out, the factory was closed.

The pandemic also disrupted global supply chains.

When factories close, it takes longer to make goods and get them from the warehouse to the store, and prices go up.

Look at cars.

Last year, one third of all of the inflation was because of automobiles sales. there weren’t enough semiconductors to make all the cars that people wanted to buy.

And guess what, prices of automobiles went up, especially used vehicles as well.

President Biden said the pandemic disrupted global supply chains and in turn boosted inflation. A third of last year’s inflation was due to higher car prices, he said. That’s roughly correct.

Read more

So—we have a choice.

One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer.

I think I have a better idea to fight inflation.

Lower your costs, not your wages.

These are not quick fixes.

Make 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.

My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit.

17 Nobel laureates in economics say my plan will ease long-term inflationary pressures. Top business leaders and I believe most Americans support my plan. And here’s the plan:

First – cut the cost of prescription drugs. We pay more for the same drug produced by the same company in America than any other country in the world. Just look at insulin. One in ten Americans has diabetes. In Virginia, I met a 13-year-old boy, the handsome young man standing up there, named Joshua Davis.

If only it were that easy to simply cut the cost of drugs without 60 votes in the Senate. Every recent president has tried.

He and his Dad both have Type 1 diabetes, which means they need insulin every single day. Insulin costs about $10 a vial to make, that’s what it costs the pharmaceutical company.

But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his Dad up to 30 times more. I spoke with Joshua’s mom.

Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin to stay healthy and have no idea in God’s name how you’re going to pay for it.

What it does to your dignity, your ability to look your child in the eye, to be the parent you expect to be. I mean think about that, really think about that, that’s what I think about.

Joshua is here with us tonight. Yesterday was his birthday. Happy birthday, buddy, by the way.

A sweet moment on TV. The kid wore a suit and glasses.

For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.

Drug companies do very very well, their profit margin. And while we’re at it, I know we have great disagreements on this floor with this, let’s Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, they already set the price for VA drugs.

Look, the American Rescue Plan is helping millions of families on Affordable Care Act plans save $2,400 a year on their health care premiums. Let’s close the coverage gap and make these savings permanent.

Second – cut energy costs for families”>cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combatting climate change.

Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit for it

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Biden’s State of the Union address, annotated

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