Biden speech takeaways: More conciliation than conflict
That would in theory help fund some priorities and possibly reduce the deficit.But Bidens tax plan might be more about scoring political points, as he couldnt get it past West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin in the Senate last year.He was straightforward in saying he would stop airlines from charging fees in order to sit families together, saying that children were being treated like luggage.
- United States
The State of the Union address tends to have a ritual rhythm. Grand entrance. Applause. Platitudes. Policies. Appeals for Unity, real or imagined.
President Joe Biden checked those boxes, and a few more, during his speech to a joint session on Congress on Tuesday. In part, he seemed to be laying the foundation to run for a second term. “We've been sent here to finish the job,” he said.
Biden made calls for unity and tried to emphasize conciliation over conflict, easier to do in this rarefied setting, seemingly impossible to sustain in such divided times.
Takeaways from the president's State of the Union address: MORE CONCILIATION THAN CONFLICT Biden's speech almost defiantly ignored the bitter divisions between Republicans and Democrats and his own low standing with the public. He returned repeatedly to common ground, making the case that both parties can back U.S. factories, new businesses being formed and the funding of 20,000 infrastructure projects. When Biden hit each of these themes, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy politely clapped, evening standing to applaud at one point.
It's a sign that Democrats and Republicans can at least agree to a shared set of goals, even if they have very different views of how to get there.
In the midterm election campaign, Biden warned of Republican extremists. On Tuesday night, he portrayed them as partners in governance during the first two years of his presidency.
But then came a Biden comment that generated boos and hoots from Republicans: Biden said some in the GOP were bent on cutting Social Security and Medicare.
That sparked a raucous back and forth that seemed more in line with the reality of the actual relationship between the parties.
REGULAR JOE Biden used the speech to highlight his focus on the common man, calling out billionaires who pay lower tax rates than the middle class and airlines that treat their passengers like “suckers.” It amounted to a dare to Republican lawmakers who increasingly claim to represent blue-collar workers.
“No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter,” Biden said in one of the bigger applause lines of his speech.
The president brought back an idea from last year to put a minimum tax on billionaires so they don't pay a lower rate than many middle-class households. Biden had pitched a 20% tax on the income and unrealized financial gains of households worth $100 million or more. The administration estimated it would generate $360 billion over 10 years. That would in theory help fund some priorities and possibly reduce the deficit.
But Biden's tax plan might be more about scoring political points, as he couldn't get it past West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin in the Senate last year.
He was straightforward in saying he would stop airlines from charging fees in order to sit families together, saying that children were being treated like luggage. He wants to ban hidden resort fees charged by hotels and penalties charged by cell service providers.
“Americans are tired of being played for suckers,” Biden said. FEELING THEIR PAIN Among Biden's guests were the parents of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old black man whose beating death at the hands Memphis, Tennessee, police has reignited a national debate on policing.
Efforts to reduce police excesses have been sharply restricted by resistance in Congress, and there's little prospect of federal action.
Still, Biden expressed awe at the grace of Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, who following his death has talked of her son's “beautiful soul” and hopeful certainty that “something good will come from this.” Biden, 80, also acknowledged in plain terms that as a white man he's enjoyed a privilege that Nichols' parents — and Black parents writ large — do not.
“Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car,” he said. “I've never had to have the talk with my children — Beau, Hunter and Ashley — that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.” FINISH THE JOB Biden uttered the phrase “finish the job” at least a dozen times during his address. It sounded like the makings of a slogan he might employ for a re-election campaign. But it is highly unlikely he will be able to finish the job on many of the things he referenced, like an assault weapons ban, universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and forcing companies to stop doing stock buybacks. At least not during this term.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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