United States President Joe Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, telling Americans that the country is “moving forward” again, after the coronavirus pandemic claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives and crippled the country’s economy.
“After just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength,” Biden said.
Biden said that after promising 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days, his administration will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in his first 100 days in office.
He said that the coronavirus vaccines are being made available to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centres.
He also said that in the first 100 days of his office, his administration created more than 1.3 million new jobs – more than any president on record in their first 100 days in office.
Touting his $1.9 trillion stimulus package for Americans, Biden said that it has helped the country’s economy grow at a rate of more than six percent this year.
On climate change, Biden said climate crisis requires a global effort. He declared that “the climate crisis” is not just a fight that the US can fight alone, but a “global fight”.
“The United States accounts for less than 15 percent of carbon emissions. The rest of the world accounts for 85 percent.
“That’s why – I kept my commitment to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement on my first day in office.
“And I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit right here in America, with all of the major economies of the world – from China and Russia to India and the European Union in my first 100 days.
“I wanted the world to see that there is consensus that we are at an inflection point in history.”
Biden talked tough on adversaries making some eye-catching lines on China, Russia and North Koria
The United States welcomes competition with China, President Joe Biden said, as he stressed that Washington DC is “not looking for conflict” with Beijing.
Biden said that he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he “will defend American interests across the board.”
“America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut American workers and industries, like subsidies for state-owned enterprises and the theft of American technologies and intellectual property.
“I also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe – not to start conflict – but to prevent conflict.
“And, I told him what I’ve said to many world leaders – that America won’t back away from our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Biden said that he was not seeking to escalate tensions with his Russia and its leader, Vladirimir Putin, after imposing an array of sanctions against Moscow.
“I made very clear to Putin that we don’t seek escalation but their actions have consequences,” Biden said.
Again, President Biden made some bold statements: He called on Congress to send to his desk key legislations, including the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the Equality Act, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
His ambitious agenda during his speech torched on sensitive domestic issues in the United States.
President Joe Biden argued in his first speech to Congress on Wednesday that he had restored Americans’ faith in democracy nearly 100 days after he succeeded Donald Trump in office, and was set to unveil a $1.8 trillion spending and tax-credit plan.
He said that the Top 1 percent of country’s wealthiest people should pay their “fair share” in the country’s economy.
“20 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic – working- and middle-class Americans. At the same time, the roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion.”
President Biden has urged Congress to pass legislation that would end what he described as the “epidemic of gun violence” in the country.
“I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence. But it’s time for Congress to act as well.”
He pleaded to Senate Republicans to join Democrats “to close loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun.”
“And we need a ban on assault weapons and high – capacity magazines again. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done it before … and it worked.”
Biden as well declared that “white supremacy is terrorism” and said that it is time to address racism in the US.
“My fellow Americans, we have to come together. To rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. To root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
“And to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already,” he said as he pleaded for Congress to pass the legislation into law by May, the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, an African-American whose killing by a white police officer triggered protests across the country.
And while Congressional Democrats praises Biden’s first address to Congress, rebuttal was the response from Republicans.
The only African-American Republican in the US Senate has delivered his party’s rebuttal to US President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
South Carolina Sen Tim Scott said that the US is more divided under the Biden administration while criticising the Democratic president’s response to the pandemic.
Scott also drew a contrast between Biden’s agenda and the Republicans on the issue of race, adding that “America is not a racist country.”