Biden Delivers First Address to Joint Session of Congress: Pitches $1.8 Trillion Spending Plan, Expansive Government

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AP reported: President Joe Biden declared Wednesday night that “America is rising anew” as he called for an expansion of federal programs to drive the economy past the pandemic and broadly extend the social safety net on a scale not seen in decades.

In his first address to Congress, he pointed optimistically to the nation’s emergence from the coronavirus scourge as a moment for America to prove that its democracy can still work and maintain primacy in the world.

Speaking in highly personal terms while demanding massive structural changes, the president marked his first 100 days in office by proposing a $1.8 trillion investment in children, families and education to help rebuild an economy devastated by the virus and compete with rising global competitors.

Biden repeatedly hammered home that his plans would put Americans back to work, restoring the millions of jobs lost to the virus. He laid out an extensive proposal for universal preschool, two years of free community college, $225 billion for child care and monthly payments of at least $250 to parents. His ideas target frailties that were uncovered by the pandemic, and he argues that economic growth will best come from taxing the rich to help the middle class and the poor.

Highlights of Entire Address:

 Biden, who often touts the importance of unity, takes veiled shot at former President Donald Trump, saying: “America is rising anew. Choosing hope over fear. Truth over lies. Light over darkness. After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff in my view.”

Biden falsely claims the Capitol riot on January 6 was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

“There’s still more work to do to beat this virus. We can’t let our guard down,” Biden says. “But tonight, I can say, because of you, the American people, our progress these past 100 days in one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements in history.”

Biden says of his “infrastructure” bill: “There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing. No reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.” — Biden refers to his “infrastructure” package as a “once in a generation investment in America.” “This is the largest jobs plan since World War 2,” he adds. 

Biden calls for the minimum wage to be raised to $15. “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line,”  — “Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions build the middle class,” says Biden.

Biden says of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping: “He and other autocrats think that democracies can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies.” Then says his enacting his spending plans are how the U.S. will combat Beijing’s rise. 

 — Biden calls for an increase in federal funding to defeat cancer. “I know of nothing more bipartisan. So let’s end cancer as we know it,” he says. 

Biden says of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping: “He and other autocrats think that democracies can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies.” Then says his enacting his spending plans are how the U.S. will combat Beijing’s rise. 

 Biden calls for an increase in federal funding to defeat cancer. “I know of nothing more bipartisan. So let’s end cancer as we know it,” he says. 

 Biden pitches more spending: “The American Families Plan will finally provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave … No one should have to choose between a job and paycheck or taking care of themselves and a loved one – or a parent, spouse, or child.”

Biden says: “Sometimes I have arguments with my friends in the Democratic Party. I think you should be able to become a billionaire or a millionaire but pay your fair share.”

“I will not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000. But it’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share. Just their fair share,” he adds. 

“We’ll become an arsenal for vaccines for other countries,”Biden says, before pledging that the U.S. will play a leading role in inoculating people in other countries. 

Biden says: “The vast majority of men and women who wear our uniform and badge, do so honorably,” before urging police reform be enacted in Congress in honor of George Floyd.

Biden, who faces a growing crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, urges immigration reform: “For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and we have done nothing about it. It’s time to fix it.” He then calls on Congress to pass reform allowing DREAMers to stay in the country. 

 Biden declares the U.S. must ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines again. “Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done it before and it worked,” he says. 

“To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back.”