Biden to the nation and world: 'America is rising anew'

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California stand and applaud as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

WASHINGTON

President Joe Biden declared Wednesday night in his first address to a joint session of Congress that “America is rising anew” and pointed optimistically to the nation’s emergence from the pandemic as a vital moment to rebuild the U.S. economy and fundamentally transform roles the government plays in American life.

Biden marked his first 100 days in office as the nation pushes out of a menacing mix of crises, making his case before a pared-down gathering of mask-wearing legislators because of pandemic restrictions. Speaking in highly personal terms while demanding massive structural changes, the president urged 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.

His speech took place in a setting unlike any other presidential address in the familiar venue, the U.S. Capitol still surrounded by fencing after insurrectionists in January protesting his election stormed to the doors of the House chamber where he gave his address. The nationally televised ritual of a president standing before Congress for the first time was one of the most watched moments of Biden’s presidency, raising the stakes for his ability to sell his plans to voters of both parties, even if Republican lawmakers prove resistant.

“America is ready for takeoff. We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again. We have shown each other and the world: There is no quit in America,” Biden said.

“I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he said. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”

This year’s scene at the front of the House chamber had a historic look: For the first time, a female vice president, Kamala Harris, was seated behind the chief executive. And she was next to another woman, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both clad in pastel.

The first ovation came as Biden greeted, “Madam Vice President.” He added “No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.”

The scene was familiar yet strange, with members of Congress spread out, a sole Supreme Court justice in attendance and many Republicans citing “scheduling conflicts” to stay away. There was no need for a “designated survivor,” with so many Cabinet members not there, and the chamber was so sparsely populated that individual claps could be heard echoing off the walls.

“I have never been more confident or more optimistic about America,” Biden said. “We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘We the People’ did not flinch.”

Biden repeatedly hammered home how his plans would put Americans back to work, restoring the millions of jobs lost to the virus. He laid out a sweeping 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 that economic growth will best come from taxing the rich to help the middle class and the poor.

For Biden, whose moment has been nearly a half century in the making, his speech also provided an update on combating the COVID-19 crisis he was elected to tame, showcasing hundreds of millions of vaccinations and relief checks delivered to help offset the devastation wrought by a virus that has killed more than 573,000 people in the United States. He also championed his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, a staggering figure to be financed by higher taxes on corporations.

Seizing an opportunity born of calamity, Biden has embraced major action over incremental change. But he will be forced to thread a needle between Republicans who cry government overreach and some Democrats who fear he won’t go big enough.

The Democratic president’s strategy is to sidestep polarization and appeal directly to voters. His prime-time speech underscored a trio of central campaign promises: to manage the deadly pandemic, to turn down the tension in Washington in the aftermath of the insurrection and to restore faith in government as an effective force for good.

Biden also was addressing an issue rarely confronted by an American president, namely that in order to compete with autocracies like China, the nation needs “to prove that democracy still works” after his predecessor’s baseless claims of election fraud and the ensuing attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Unimpressed, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina was to say in the Republicans’ designated response that Biden was claiming too much credit.

“This administration inherited a tide that had already turned,” Scott said in excerpts released in advance. “The coronavirus is on the run.”

No American politician has more familiarity with the presidential address to Congress than Biden. He spent three decades in the audience as a senator and eight years as vice president seated behind President Barack Obama during the annual address.

Yet the desire for swift action is born from political necessity. Biden understands that the time for passing his agenda could be perilously short given that presidents’ parties historically lose congressional seats in the midterm elections, less than two years away. The Democrats’ margins are already razor-thin.

He spoke against a backdrop of the weakening but still lethal pandemic, staggering unemployment and a roiling debate about police violence against Blacks. Biden also used his address to touch on the broader national reckoning over race in America, and to call on Congress to act on prescription drug pricing, gun control and modernizing the nation’s immigration system.

In his first three months in office, Biden has signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill — passed without a single GOP vote — and has shepherded direct payments of $1,400 per person to more than 160 million households. Hundreds of billions of dollars in aid will soon arrive for state and local governments, enough money that overall U.S. growth this year could eclipse 6 percent — a level not seen since 1984. Administration officials are betting that it will be enough to bring back all 8.4 million jobs lost to the pandemic by next year.

A significant amount proposed Wednesday would ensure that eligible families receive at least $250 monthly per child through 2025, extending the enhanced tax credit that was part of Biden’s COVID-19 aid. There would be more than $400 billion for subsidized child care and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds.

Another combined $425 billion would go to permanently reduce health insurance premiums for people who receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act, as well a national paid family and medical leave program. Further spending would be directed toward Pell Grants, historically Black and tribal institutions and allow people to attend community college tuition-free for two years.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(39) comments

Robert Braeking

Platitudes and promises. None with the intention of following through. Such a contrast with his predecessor. Promises made - Promises kept.

Jennifer Lance

Yes!

Paula Flinn

A welcome contrast from his predecessor. President Biden restores sanity to the office and the country. Hope the Republicans can find it in their shriveled up hearts to pass some necessary legislation by putting the middle class and poor of this nation first, before their “petty party politics.”

Keith Gray

Paula you offer a wish from the Republicans, yet insult them in the same line. Please think about that.

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

Paula posts, " President Biden restores sanity to the office and the country." The Super moon is still out?

Gary Scoggin

Very constructive post, Carlos.

Robert Braeking

Biden replaced it with dementia.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin posts, "Very constructive post, Carlos."

Thank you, Gary Scoggin. There's hope for you yet!

Jack Reeves

[thumbup]

Theresa Elliott

Instead of more “stimulus’ hand outs and unemployment benefits (that incentivize people to not go back to work) why not give working people and tax payers a reprieve from their tax bills. Give a deep discount on property taxes and income taxes and let workers and property owners keep more of their hard earned dollars.

Jack Reeves

[thumbup]

David Schuler

Because the last thing that the Democrats want is a nation of independent, self-sufficient motivated citizens who don't see the Government as the Source of All Things and who are not so easily swayed by the the divisive and partisan rhetoric spewing from pretty much everywhere these days.

Paula Flinn

The Government is made up of people who are proposing helping all people, making their lives easier. Isn’t that what a “good” government should do? These are not “giveaway” programs because most of us work and pay taxes (and other fees) just to exist.

Robert Braeking

Paula Finn, You are so wrong in your thinking. The federal government is NOT a source of income and assistance. Their purpose is to protect our country from invaders and enemies, both foreign and domestic, and to promote trade and commerce between the various states. The Biden administration is doing neither.

Jack Reeves

[thumbup]

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup][thumbup]

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup][thumbup]

Gary Scoggin

I'm still in sticker shock from the price tag of this and the other programs President Biden is proposing. I've said all along that the Democrats, just like the Republicans, are there own worst enemy, mistaking a thin majority for a mandate. I can support reasonable spending plans on Covid, economic growth and infrastructure. But I have a lot of trouble supporting a definition of infrastructure that includes almost anything and a program that is essentially an expanded version of FDR's New Deal.

Of course, if the Republicans were willing to negotiate in good faith (and not mug for the TV cameras by trying to appear disinterested and bored), we, as a nation, could probably reach compromise solutions that address the real problems without plunging the nations deeper and deeper into the debt hole.

Carlos Ponce

I saw a GREAT speech on television last night. It wasn't Biden's. Senator Tim Scott gave a thought provoking speech and was not treated well by Liberals. Must be Liberal racism.

Robert Braeking

Carlos Ponce, I agree. Tim Scott was great. Hannity had some guests on his show yesterday. The consensus of the guests is that less than 10% of Americans are racist. That being the case more than 90% are not racist. Interestingly, less than 10% of Americans are in government. Is there a correlation here?

Gary Scoggin

While I am often doubtful of “Hannity facts”, I would agree that the number of Americans that are openly and intentionally racist is pretty low. However, the number of people that have misperceptions about the quality of race relations in this country is much higher. These misperceptions often manifest themselves in harmful policies and practices which do nothing to help racial relations. A number of these folks are regular posters here.

Bailey Jones

Gary, I agree with you.

I tend to agree with the statement "The American people are not racist", although certainly we still have some overt racists and many more Americans walking around either unaware or in denial of their own biases. But I also agree with the statement, "America is racist". Our institutions - all of them - evolved during times of overt, government-enforced segregation and racism. Banking, insurance, health care, homeownership, education, employment opportunity, law enforcement, the justice system, and on and on. It takes a desire to acknowledge the bias and a desire to remove the bias. I'm afraid that too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge this blight on our nation - I suspect out of a fear that it reflects badly on them. Or because they simply don't want to acknowledge that their success (or lack of success) in life was aided by racial privilege.

But I think that's the wrong way to look at life. My race has afforded me a very privileged life - the schools in the all-white suburb I grew up in were the best in the state at the time. The education and job opportunities that were available to my white parents in the 40s and 50s afforded us a comfortable middle-class life including state college tuition. Texas Tech gave me and 1000s of other white guys a great education. The whites-only engineering companies I worked at in the 70s and 80s gave my career a tremendous boost and the opportunity to accumulate a certain amount of wealth over a lifetime. I don't feel guilty about any of this - rather, I feel gratitude. And that gratitude makes me want to provide the exact same opportunities - excellent education and employment options - to every American, regardless of race, creed, or zip code. Americans should be able to succeed or fail based only on their own capacity and initiative - not limited (or rewarded) by the racial biases inherent in the system. That these biases still exist is evidenced by any number of studies and statistics. Every engineer knows that the first step in fixing a problem is to acknowledge that it exists. We have the data, but we lack the courage to act on it.

Wayne D Holt

When you say harmful policies and practices, would that also include blacks randomly curb stomping elderly Asians? The recent wave of anti-Asian violence has been largely a phenomenon perpetrated by people of color.

What are we to think when the mote of white racism in this country is endlessly lamented while the beam of violent black racism against Asians is demurely ignored?

David Hardee

YEP! Gary stay skeptical. But Not just about Hannity. The others especially LGBT crowd are automatic inciters of intentional denigrations and self-centered reporting. The intentional racist disturbance is the forte of the Sharptons and Waters and BLM since their nothing without holding shepherd ship positions over their brethren. Martin and Woodson's movement is the way that will meld racism into the humanity of respect and tranquility. Harmful policies will always come from a power base that can push society. Who is harmed by their policies depends on who is benefiting and who is not. So today you win tomorrow maybe not. That will never change.

And Bailey, who evidently stands in good sted among all those he proclaims as are being downtrodden by the "white skin currency of superiority" is the example of an achiever despite those conditions. He should relinquish his constant blame of that what was a despicable feature (slavery and the era of subordination) and begin to herald the way he took as a model for ignoring the yoke that so many uses as the reason/excuse for their not achieving, Certainly the road of a minority is more difficult as is for the every but those privileged by wealth, or intelligence, or physical superbness, or some feature that makes them a privileged individual. The world is a picnic or very few. If Bailey could do it why not everybody.

Gary Scoggin

“ However, the number of people that have misperceptions about the quality of race relations in this country is much higher. These misperceptions often manifest themselves in harmful policies and practices which do nothing to help racial relations. A number of these folks are regular posters here.”. Thanks, David for proving my point.

David Hardee

Gary, YEP! means a resounding approval. Maybe I should have not embellished your posting and confused whether I am a misperception-ist. Tho my perfections are few, but, the effort in diagnosing I expend seldom is without a forceful and balanced critique of the person or issue I am responding to or making a presentation on. Note Gary that you isolated Hannity which is a proponent of one side of perceptions and you ignored the much more inclined to create misperceptions for the opposition to Hannity. Consequently, lacking balance in your proclamation deserved the response I gave.

Thanks for acknowledging my assistance. Glad to Help.

David

Bailey Jones

I'm not one to much blame or credit presidents for what the stock market does, but I know some of you are, so here it is:

"In the 100 days since President Joe Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, the stock market has risen 9.3%, making it the best first-100-days stretch for stocks under a new president since President Franklin D. Roosevelt's astronomical gains in 1933, per LPL Financial data. (That's based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average's close the day prior to the inauguration through Wednesday's close.) The S&P 500, meanwhile, is up over 10% since Biden assumed office."

https://fortune.com/2021/04/29/stock-market-performance-under-biden-first-100-days-sp-500-spx-nasdaq-dow-jones-djia-april-2021-update/

In the first quarter of this year, GDP grew by 1.6% (6.4% annualized). That's the COVID recovery talking no doubt - the economy shrank 3.5% last year - but compared to the EU (which has slipped back into a recession) it's worth celebrating.

Robert Braeking

One cannot credit a President who inherited a roaring economy, albeit somewhat stifled by the COVID. Everything this President, Biden, is proposing will serve to cause massive inflation, business retraction, and business operations to move off shore. Like New Yorkers and Californians, businesses tend to locate where the cost of doing business is more favorable.

Bailey Jones

"One cannot credit a President who inherited a roaring economy" lol - where have I heard that before?

Carlos Ponce

" where have I heard that before?" That happens every time a Democrat in office takes credit for what a Republican has done.

Carlos Ponce

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-post-pandemic-boom-11619736069

"The Post-Pandemic Boom -Biden inherited a very strong economic recovery, not a house ‘on fire.’"

"The economy was poised to accelerate as vaccines rolled out no matter who was President."

Robert Braeking

The boom was paused by the pandemic. It's potential is being stifled by the Biden mistakes......and that is everything he does.

David Hardee

What a guy like Biden can achieve if he will simply place his nose in the proper place.

In the Biden tradition of plagiarizing he is mimicking the accidental president Lyndon (biggest nose always in the proper place) in Johnson's Great Society program. Using Johnson’s favorite patronizing phrase “my fellow Americans'' Biden will give us, - American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan, American Families Plan, or as embodied in the GREAT SOCIETY the federal bureaucracies of Health, Education and Welfare. Reflect on how well our society fared with the feds in charge for the past 60 years under the Great Society. Education is disastrous and the health programs are still in chaos and once benevolent private charities have become 501-C government-funded (no taxing) community programs. 501-C’s are the fastest-growing job producers and socialist seedlings. Reverends, abortions, addicts, homeless, etc. tho the targets of these 50-C’s are all still growing in our society - another Big Tent hoax.

Several improvements during the Biden speech. Evidently, the larger letters on the teleprompters were successful in keeping Joe from drastically squinting and much slower reading of the manuscript helped him not garbel or mispronounce as usual.

It was thrilling, to know again, that Joe’s administrators Harris, AOC, Schumer, and Pelosi intend to have those that work give more money to the government that spends wildly and wastes what they can’t spend, some more money can be given to enable those that by their own dereliction are illegal. addicted, unemployed, have mounted obligations of child support, college loans, and other debts they will never pay. All these government enabling are couched in BS to the public as benevolent charity. What Biden's administrators do is determine the sufficient amount to achieve the proper impression and get the most votes. Pandering.

The most successful Biden execution of policies and procedures of warp speed accomplished inoculating millions with the vaccines that Trump was told would take years to develop but miraculously appeared and were approved in warp speed of 10 months. Thankfully Joe followed the plan Trump left him.

Biden had no comments on the border for the understandable reasons that he made non-disaster into a disaster of his making. Instead, racism was loudly proclaimed as the number one threat, and the central cause, and out of the mouth of a President, came, these words “white superiority.” Forever forward Biden is the enemy of - “out of many one. (E Pluribus Unum).” Forever forward the ilk of “white superiority” belligerents has its champion, Biden. With those words, “white superiority, Biden epitomizes the slimy politician who has achieved the pinnacle while he is carrying so much racist baggage. It exemplifies how shallow and how much these members of the swamp will swallow to maintain their status as swampers. Ask Harris, who called him racist during the campaign and prostituted herself for the VP award, if Biden is and has a record that proves him a racist/segregationist.

Well, Biden does get the courtesy of turning the other cheek, the one he can kiss, For Biden and his ilk of, Waters, Farrakhan, Sharpton, BLM, etc. in the future they will get, the deserved uncivil rhetoric, on every occasion that there is a denigration of skin color or the partiality for skin color. Tolerance for these malcontent’s insults of white people by the cabal of Big Tent minorities who themselves are flush with the most undignified, addicted, lawless, dependent, and depressed under-achievers that are cooking in the caldron of socialism and anarchy which is overflowing and polluting a society, that was the best hope of humanity. Tolerance and apathy for the “white skin is currency” and “systemic white superiority” have been exhausted.

Biden deserves castigation as the champion of hypocrisy for oscillating on segregation (racism) whenever it is self-serving but:

include nepotism, Joe's brother and son have received positions in the government and both have made millions from his influence, and reportedly kicked back.

Include plagiarizing - 1988 Biden drops out of the presidential campaign and admitted plagiarizing, and again, in 1965 college accusation and 2014 accused of copying Pence,

Include Abuse of office, by coercion in the best interest of son Hunter by withholding a billion dollars from Ukraine unless Hunter’s prosecutor was fired, is recorded for historical evidence of coercion.

Joe had failed twice in an attempt to be elected president and third try with aiding and abetting, of media, abnormal election practices, and suspicion gathered more votes than any candidate in history. Joe’s accomplishments are always surrounded by peculiarity.

Biden is the first non-lawyer-lawyer president. Joe graduated 76th out of 85 and never practice law and has been on the taxpayer’s tit for 38 years.

Even the Religion Biden claims has gone against him to the extreme of denying him participation in communion.

Here are a few of the excerpts from those that know Biden the chameleon well, - In 1974 Biden said, “What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son, that is racist” How do we reconcile Biden’s considerable complicity in racial injustice with his enviable popularity among his party’s African-American base? One answer is that Biden’s apparent strength with such voters is illusory. The (likely) candidate is coasting off of his name recognition and association with Barack Obama. Once the primary campaign puts the history summarized above under the spotlight — along with Biden’s myriad other heresies against progressivism, including his support for bankruptcy reforms that hurt low-income consumers, his shoddy treatment of Anita Hill, and his advocacy for the Iraq War — black voters will see through his “malarkey.” This is quite plausible.

But a recent focus group conducted by Democratic consultant Danny Barefoot of Anvil Strategies offers some limited evidence that it is nonetheless mistaken. Another explanation is that black voters find Biden’s heresies against racial liberalism forgivable. The man might have played a leading role in opposing busing, but he was ultimately responding to mobilized, majoritarian opposition that was all but certain to prevail no matter what position he chose to take. As for mass incarceration, the crack epidemic was truly a scourge, and even many African-American community leaders embraced the logic of “tough on crime” in its wake. It’s also conceivable that some portion of black Democratic primary voters agrees, to this day, with Biden’s Clinton-era views on criminal justice. A significant minority of African-American Democrats identify as conservative and indicate a broadly positive view of the police.

As is the case in so many American communities, the most prominent black activist groups and public intellectuals tend to be both more ideological — and more ideologically left-wing — than the median black voter. The average American votes less on the basis of ideology than identity. Black Democrats identify strongly with Barack Obama, and Obama spent eight years vouching for Biden’s fitness for high office. That might count for more than the misgivings of elite progressive commentators like myself.

Taking into consideration all of the historical, and recent oscillation and chicanery from this charade drive political animal it is reasonable to conclude effectively Biden’s collective results qualify as amoral when it is self-serving.

Voting is not a popularity contest. Voters are not qualified by simple respirations. A headstone is not a right to vote. A vote that requires nothing is worth nothing. Voting in the presence of a congregation, picnic, or any environment other than the isolation where you are in the booth and the only one responsible for what you perpetrate on society is a true democracy.

Wayne D Holt

Biden is the emptiest of empty suits. Led around like a poodle by Nurse Jill, he is the perfect mascot for the vacuous cultural wasteland the In Crowd has led us to. Spouting nonsense that sounds like he bought a copy of Empty Rhetoric for Dummies, he manages to mouth the words while convincing no one of his sincerity. He managed to throw in every tired trope but "Better Living Through Chemistry!"

Gary Scoggin

“Better Living through Chemistry” is one of my favorites. I wish more people would embrace it.

Wayne D Holt

Gary, you're either a chemist or you have extremely good memories of the 60s [beam]

Gary Scoggin

[beam] Well, I’m not a chemist.

Carlos Ponce

Duluth, Georgia

Joe: I can't find my mask! Looking for my mask! I'm in trouble!

Jill: It's in your pocket, Joe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTdF6fZ72EY

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