President Joe Biden delivered his first address to a Congressional Joint Session on Wednesday just one day shy of his 100th day in office. In his speech, the President outlined what he called his administration’s progress over the last 100 days, as well as his vision for the nation going forward.
Wednesday’s joint session was certainly unprecedented, with the vast majority of the Congress and the president’s cabinet not attending to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Only one justice from the U.S. Supreme Court attended the session, Chief Justice John Roberts.
It was also the lowest viewed address for the most popular President in all of American history when compared with the previous two President’s.
Such a change in COVID-19 protocol compared to the Trump administration is surely indicative of the fundamental disagreement that runs deep between Democrats and Republicans regarding coronavirus restrictions.
President Biden, as expected, spoke on the topics most important— and most controversial— to the American people. Here is everything you need to know about Biden’s Joint Session Address:
Diversity hire extravaganza: Biden says ‘It’s About Time’, when addressing Pelosi and Harris
The Biden administration has certainly strived to establish itself as one that values racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. Therefore, it was only appropriate in the eyes of Congressional Democrats when Biden kicked off his speech by saying “It’s about time”, praising the fact that there were two women sitting behind him.
The phrase “girl power” has truly been taken to the next level, as Democrats continue to solidify diversity quotas as part of their party platform, all seemingly for the mere novelty of having females in positions of power.
Indeed, having both a female Speaker of the House and Vice President is historic. Unfortunately, though not surprising, it would appear Democrats have prioritized gender over the quality of the leadership they provide. Joe Biden has delegated many of the traditional presidential tasks to the Vice President. The task of dealing with the current humanitarian crisis at our southern border for example, was handed down to Ms. Harris, and she has still yet to even visit the border. This is also in the midst of the administration seemingly trying its best to limit press coverage in migrant detention centers, where conditions have heavily deteriorated since Biden’s reversal of Trump-era immigration policies.
Girl power at its best for sure.
Invoking the Capitol riot: Biden’s selective outrage
Biden wasted no time invoking the infamous January 6 Capitol riots to denounce hatred and bigotry, describing the attack as “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” There is no denying that the Capitol riots were a horrific display of barbarism, and the riot’s perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Indeed, 8 days after the riot 100 people were already arrested, according to FBI Director Chris Wray. The FBI has been searching and prosecuting those involved for months, doing little to nothing about the riots and release of criminals from Portland’s jail cells.
Biden’s blatant selective outrage, choosing only to focus on the Capitol riots, paints only a small fraction of America’s worsening ideological strife, further taking away from Biden’s so-called message of unity.
It would appear that the president conveniently forgot to mention all of the American cities that were set ablaze by BLM and ANTIFA agitators last summer. Of course, showing an equal amount of outrage towards both instances of barbarism would upset the far-left progressive caucus of his party, further exemplifying his profound lack of ideological autonomy.
Biden also connected the Capitol riot to voting rights, further emphasizing the patently absurd Democrat outrage, fueled by Georgia’s new voting statute that requires citizens to provide an ID when voting. To “truly restore the soul of America,” he said, “we need to protect the sacred right to vote.” Of course, there is nothing systemically racist or discriminatory about requiring an ID to cast a ballot in an American election. Such a narrative perpetuates the bigoted notion that minority voters somehow do not have, or cannot attain, an ID.
That didn’t stop Biden from urging the Senate to pass H.R. 1 “For the People Act,” which is essentially the Democrats’ unprecedented attempt at consolidating more political power for themselves. The bill, if it becomes law, would sloppily federalize all American elections, effectively excluding the states from the entire process altogether— the very hallmark of our constitution system thrown out the window. The bill would also make mail-in balloting, same-day registration, early voting, automatic voter registration, and no-fault absentee voting the status quo across all 50 states, making it easier to commit voter fraud and promoting chaos at the polls on election day through same-day registration. The bill of course, would also outlaw states legally requiring citizens to provide an ID when voting, even though the vast majority of Americans support voter ID requirements.
Biden calls for sweeping expansion of the federal government, stating, ‘We can’t stop now’
Biden called vastly to increase the size of the federal government on Wednesday, stating that “America is moving. Moving forward. We can’t stop now.” Biden, who was voted into office due to many believing that he would stick to his moderate Democrat roots, is now going full steam ahead in embracing the new far-left progressive agenda.
Biden called for Congress to pass a comprehensive reform of the U.S. immigration system, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. Such a call to action certainly echoes Biden’s desire to appease the far-left progressives within his party.
Although, a desire to give 11 million illegal immigrants citizenship is sure to be perplexing to Biden’s moderate Democrat constituents who, along with Republicans, believe that if you enter the country illegally, you are breaking the law and are therefore not entitled to reside here, let alone become an American citizen. Biden’s call to let 11 million illegals have citizenship is also sure to upset legal immigrants who worked hard to come here the right way. The Democrats’ efforts to let illegal immigrants cut the line in front of millions of legal immigrants, all the while ignoring the legal immigration system’s desperate need for reform, is not only bad policy but also flat-out insulting to those who showed respect to our country and followed the law.
Mr. Biden also stated his desire to create a new agency within the National Institute of Health, calling it a “New Darpa for health.” The agency would most likely require an act from Congress to create it. The goal of the new agency, as proponents say, would be to finance innovative research that could make significant strides from fighting Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. This proposal is supposedly deeply personal to Mr. Biden, as his son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015.
“This is personal to so many of us,” The president said in his address. “Let’s end cancer as we know it, it’s within our power.”
Biden’s ambitious domestic proposal: $6 trillion in total spending
Joe Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda is split into three components: The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate in a 50-49 party-line vote in March, the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan.
The American Rescue plan was a continuation of the $2.2 trillion pandemic relief bill that was enacted during the Trump administration. The grand jewel of the plan was that it delivered one-time direct payments of $1,400 to hundreds of millions of Americans. It also included $350 billion in emergency funding for localities, $195 billion for states, $130 billion for local governments, $20 billion for tribal governments, and $4.5 billion for territories.
The bill however, was also aimed at tackling poverty, with Democrats taking the opportunity to expand funding for federally subsidized housing by $21.6 billion. Such a move received stark outrage from Republicans, many calling it a “progressive wishlist” being disguised as a COVID relief bill.
The American Jobs Plan, which is Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan, was unveiled on March 31. It includes $621 billion for transportation projects, such as roads, bridges, tunnels, mass transit, airports, and even electric vehicle development. It would also devote $111 billion to improve the quality of drinking water infrastructure, such as replacing lead pipes, as well as upgrading and providing Americans with access to high-speed broadband internet to parts of the country who currently do not have it.
The jobs plan provides $20 billion for the restoration and renovation for 500,000 units of affordable housing, $40 billion for public housing capital improvements, and $100 billion for building and upgrading public schools.
Approximately $300 billion is allocated for assisting small businesses and improving green energy, as well as $100 billion for ‘workforce development.’
The most controversial part of this plan is Biden’s $400 billion proposal for home-based or community-based care for relatives and people with disabilities, and appears to be an attempt by Mr. Biden and Democrats to change the definition of infrastructure to increase the government’s involvement in health-related services.
This plan, according to Mr. Biden and other proponents, would be paid for by raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, after Trump lowered it when signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This would mean large corporations would be forced to pay more in taxes, the revenue supposedly going to this plan.
The American Families Plan was announced during Biden’s address on Wednesday, but the details still remain relatively vague. We do know that it would allocate approximately $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion in new tax credits. The biggest items in the plan are the $225 billion investment in child tax credits, as well as a paid family and medical leave program that is projected to cost American taxpayers $225 billion over the next decade, as well as a $200 billion reduction in premiums for those who are enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.
The program would also provide $200 billion in new education funding, which includes universal preschool for 5 million low-income or working-class families (even though the vast majority of states already offer universal preschool). In addition, Mr. Biden is also requesting that Congress throw in 2 years of free community college for all Americans, including Dreamers.
Biden proposes to pay for the plan by allocating $80 billion in enhancements to the IRS, which would supposedly enable the agency to crack down on high earners who evade taxes, with the Biden administration estimating $700 billion in revenue as a result. Biden also wants to increase the marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.1 percent for the top 1 percent, as well as to raise capital gains and dividend tax rates for those who earn more than $1 million per year.
When it comes to ‘unity,’ Biden can talk the talk— but can he walk the walk?
All of this new spending is sure to inspire staunch opposition from Republicans. Senator Tim Scott already delivered a scathing GOP rebuttal to Biden’s congressional address right after the joint session was over.
The details of Biden’s agenda are still being hashed out by his administration as well as congressional Democrats, but if one thing is for certain, it’s that Biden faces an uphill battle in uniting a Congress— and a nation— that is largely split down the middle.
So far, the Democrats have been able to ram legislation through Congress with bare, partisan majorities in each house. Such partisanship may not be the best message to send to Americans, especially with the 2022 mid-term elections looming. Republicans are just five seats away from taking back the House of Representatives, and just one seat away from tipping the balance of power in the Senate.
Whether President Biden can truly live up to his message of ‘unity,’ and truly engage in bipartisan cooperation with Republicans is still uncertain and, so far, not looking good.