State of the Union Overview
Cover photo from the Public Domain
On February 7th, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. In attendance were all the current and some former Supreme Court justices, all congressional representatives, and most of the cabinet secretaries, with the exception being the designated survivor, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. During his speech, Biden outlined the state of various topics, with the most notable being the current state of the economy, infrastructure, and the state of healthcare, while setting himself up for a potential 2024 presidential run.
During his speech, President Biden outlined the current state of inflation and unemployment. Biden highlighted the record low unemployment rate of 3.4% and record job growth while he was in office. This is the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, and Biden emphasized that “We’re not finished yet by any stretch of the imagination.” While many of these jobs are new jobs, it should be noted that others are simply returning after being lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He later talked about the infrastructure law and its ramifications. He highlighted that Congress “passed the bipartisan infrastructure law, the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.” He also mentioned Cincinnati’s own Brent Spence Bridge, saying that it was “Built 60 years ago” and “Badly in need of repairs.” He continued, saying that it’s “One of the nation’s most congested freight routes carrying $2 billion worth of freight every single day across the Ohio River. And folks have been talking about fixing it for decades, but we’re finally going to get it done.” He later mentioned other initiatives, like “making sure that every community, every community in America has access to affordable, high-speed internet” and creating “new standards to require all construction in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.”
Biden also discussed the topic of decreasing healthcare costs, emphasizing medication price caps. Biden accused Big Pharma of “unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars, $400 to $500 a month, and making record profits” and as a response, “capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare” and capped “out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at a maximum of $2,000 a year.” Additionally, he urged lawmakers to “cap the cost of insulin for everybody at $35,” not just for those on Medicare. His administration is also taking a bigger stand against cancer, with a goal to “cut the cancer death rates at least by 50 percent in the next 25 years.” Overall, decreasing healthcare costs and future healthcare goals made up a significant portion of Biden’s speech.
This speech is important not only because it is showing the current state of the union, but also because it is how Joe Biden is positioning himself for a potential 2024 presidential run. In his speech, he brags about his achievements and emphasizes the improvements since the Trump administration, as Trump is one of the most popular contenders for 2024. By reminding people of his strengths, he is ultimately hoping to win over future voters.