Updated: Mar 12
By: ELIAN GOMEZ / STAFF REPORTER
March 1 saw the first State of the Union address for President Biden’s term. After a year as the Executive of the United States, it's his responsibility to give an update on the current state of our country, while exhorting further action from congress. Here is a look at the President’s speech:
With the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine President Biden made the introductory focus of his speech on this very issue which many global citizens have weighing on their mind.
He vehemently condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions and praised the efforts of the Ukrainian people in defending their territory saying, “Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the very 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.”
He went on to juxtapose the isolation of Russia from the global front of the European Union in punishing Russia’s actions. With help from major countries like France, US, Germany, and Italy, the economic sanctions have been affecting the Russian economy in a worst way possible.
The President stated, “Together, along with our Allies, we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions…. We’re choking Russia’s access, we’re choking Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.”
The speech followed with western policy attacking Russian oligarchs and their foreign assets. These businessmen and women are believed to have contributed a lot to the inner economy on Russia.
He exhorted the Justice Department to go after and seize the assets of the oligarchs in foreign countries, like houses in UK and other EU countries, as well as banks assets, yachts, etc.
In terms of the pressure the US faces to act or not on this war, President Biden made it clear that US forces will not engage with Russian troops. He stated plainly that their job is to, “defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west.”
President Biden was able to get bipartisan cheer for his condemnation of Russia, as both Republicans and Democrats have historically formed a united front when dealing with wars, especially one involving Russia.
Economy and Legislation
The Executive has been under a lot of scrutiny from the American people over our economy, more specifically, over the rising inflation.
Before touching on that note, the President highlighted the American Rescue Plan that was passed in March of 2021. This COVID-19 Stimulus Package provided eligible Americans with $1,400, increased child tax credits, and extended unemployment insurance. More notably, President Biden highlighted that the stimulus package 'helped working people' and added 6.5 million jobs to the economy.
He went on to note the bipartisan approval of the Infrastructure Law. The President thanked members of both parties for moving towards creating what he called, “good jobs for millions of Americans — modernizing roads, airports, ports, waterways — all across America.”
In terms of inflation, he said, “I get it. That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.”
For what he will do to combat inflation, the first step is to cut the cost of prescription drugs that will allow it to be more affordable for the American people.
Second is cutting energy costs for families at an estimated cost of $500 a year by investing and providing tax credits that support clean energy usage in homes and vehicles.
The third and last step is to lower the cost of childcare, a price he seeks to cut in half. Biden’s campaign has had a lot of focus on making childcare more affordable, and he seeks to gain that approval in order to complete his promise to his constituents.
One of the more striking statements made by President Biden during SOTU was his support to fund law enforcement. With calls to defund the police from protesters, the President's remarks might have come as a surprise.
“We should all agree: the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with the resources and training — resources and training they need to protect our communities,” said the President.
This provoked an uproar of applause from both Republicans and Democrats who agree with the increased funding of law enforcement.
Not everyone kept civility during his speech. While speaking about fallen soldiers and the effects combat has on their neurological health, he was heckled by Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert when she yelled out “You put them in there, 13 of them.”
Representative Boebert referenced the 13 fallen soldiers in Afghanistan by ISIS-K bomb attack during US withdrawal.
As for the main course, where the US is headed, President Biden envisions continuing progress in all sectors of life, noting that America is stronger and will continue to get stronger with time.