State of the Union: A combative Biden defends his record and challenges Republicans


President Biden opened his State of the Union address by appealing to Republicans for bipartisan cooperation. But that hardly summed up the mood Tuesday night as Biden aggressively defended his economic record and pointedly challenged Republicans not to undo it.

Most through 72 minutes Speaking, Biden was sharp, energetic and combative. He plowed through the clap lines to keep up his pace. He sparred with Republicans in the House chamber over tinkering with Social Security and Medicare, drawing heckling and catcalls from some — and a “liar” chant from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) — as That he created a contradiction between his agenda. And what he said was his. Rarely has a State of the Union address featured such give-and-take so prominently.

President Cast himself as a populist with ideas to help blue-collar workers and restore America’s manufacturing power. He went after big drug companies and big energy companies. More than once he threatened to veto potential Republican measures and declared that he would not hold the economy hostage to raising the debt ceiling.

“Let’s get things done,” he repeated over and over again as he ticked off the accomplishments of his first two years in office and offered new proposals. If not a re-election campaign, this was as close as the state of the union could get to that kick-off. Many of the proposals he’s talked about have little chance of being enacted in a narrowly divided Congress, but the job-ending message will nonetheless be a cornerstone of his anticipated 2024 campaign. .

Biden began the second half of his first term wrestling with the same questions that plagued him for much of his first two years — only now. With Republicans in control of the House and determined to thwart his agenda. Biden passed and signed all the legislation during his first two years in office It has received little credit from the American public. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 62 percent of Americans say they have “not very much” or “little or nothing”

His speech was designed to address this issue. It was a defense of what he did, an outline of the president’s priorities And a signal to Republicans, whether in Congress or those who might want to challenge him in the general election, that they are ready, perhaps eager, to seriously examine competing ideas.

Biden can point to major accomplishments during his first two years: a mega-stimulus package, a bipartisan infrastructure bill, bipartisan legislation to revive domestic semiconductor manufacturing and, on a party-line vote, the climate in history. The biggest initiative to deal with change. .

Ambitious legislation now seems unlikely with a divided government, but a major test of whether the two sides can work together will come later this year when the government needs to raise its borrowing limit. To avoid a default that could send the economy into a tailspin. Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who often sat impassively behind the president during the speech, have been fencing with each other on the issue. Right now, the shock has been modest. That will likely change as the deadline approaches, but the question is whether the two sides can find an equitable path.

As much as he emphasized economic progress, Biden also had to acknowledge that many Americans are not feeling very positive about the state of the country. “Amidst the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated as if they were invisible,” he said. “Maybe it’s you watching at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder if there’s a way for you and your kids to move forward without being moved. I understand.”

Biden’s advisers are desperate. Aware that most Americans know little about what passes through Congress and feel little of its impact. But he believes voters are open to hearing the president’s case, that many Americans can still be persuaded by what they will see in their own lives and communities. What Democrats may not be sure of is whether Biden has the salesmanship and persuasion to make the case on their behalf.

Biden’s allies argue that what was abstract last year or so — the passage of large pieces of legislation — will become more concrete over the next two years as roads and bridges begin to be built or the cost of insulin drops. Or companies will start investing. Local economic development projects, with Govt Funding

The country has changed since Biden took the oath of office in January 2021, as he noted in his speech. Two years ago, he inherited from former President Donald Trump a still-spreading pandemic, a struggling economy, racial divisions in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and a nation in the wake of Trump’s attack on the Capitol on January 6. was found followers

The epidemic has eased, although hangovers have negatively affected public mood. The economy is in a different place but still not without problems. Inflation remains a top concern for most Americans, while the threat of a recession remains despite a strong job market. Racism and antisemitism persist, as do systemic concerns about the use of force by law enforcement, as evidenced by the shooting death of Tyr Nichols by five Memphis police officers last month. With Nichols’ parents in the audience, Biden pushed for police reform legislation. Later, he called for a ban on assault weapons, citing ongoing mass shootings in the country.

Threats to democracy still exist. Despite a midterm election that defeated some of the most visible and dangerous election deniers and no Serious claims of fraud. As Biden noted Tuesday, “Two years ago, our democracy faced the greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy is intact and unbreakable. Without mentioning Trump, he ” Big Lie” as he paid tribute to Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was brutally attacked in his San Francisco home last fall. By an attacker who Biden said was “unfazed” by false claims of a stolen election. Paul Pelosi was in the audience as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden.

There hasn’t been a president in decades. Like Biden, he won his first midterm election, but in the end, the Democrats still lost their majority in the House. It changes the terms of engagement that will affect the next two years, which is The presidential campaign cycle

House Republicans are determined to test their powers, push their agenda and resist the president’s actions. They are also planning an investigation into the administration and Biden’s son Hunter. It is a flammable mixture. When Democrats held slim majorities in both chambers, it wasn’t easy for Biden to do the job. Now everything will become even more difficult. – And More Controversial

The president’s advisers are already gearing up to take on congressional Republicans. Clashes with Republicans are guaranteed. Each side sees points of difference that favor them politically, Biden on abortion and Republicans on the border and immigration. The President made some of these choices in his speech.

Biden began his speech by talking about unity. He said that the people have sent us a clear message. “Fighting for fighting, power for power, strife for strife, get us nowhere.”

By all accounts, Biden believes in those appeals, which have been building up in the Senate for more than three decades. Told by friends and allies two years ago that his appeals for unity represented false hope in such a polarized country, he now looks at bills that passed with Republican support and believes that much can be done even with a Republican majority in the House.

But after the president spoke for more than an hour in the House chamber, the realities of what lies ahead became clearer. Republicans are ready to challenge Biden, and he’s ready to challenge back. There may be cooperation in some areas, but both sides know that the stakes of the 2024 elections are high.

As Biden works through his challenges, his focus will always be on convincing the public that he is the better choice to continue leading. The nation comes in January 2025, regardless of whether their opponent is Trump or another Republican. This election is far away and much that cannot be predicted will happen before November 2024. Still, Tuesday’s State of the Union will be remembered as Biden’s first step in making his case.

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