Joe Biden has fulfilled this Tuesday his constitutional obligation to report to the Congress of the State of the Union.
The President of the United States has launched a message of resistance in the face of the pandemic and threats to democracy, of the strength of the economy and optimism for the future.
Biden has reached out to the opposition to work together now that the Republican Party has taken control of the House of Representatives.
He has defended key elements of his program and has issued a proclamation defending democracy.
In addition, he has underlined his support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's military aggression and sent a firm message to Beijing after the detection of an alleged spy balloon from the rival power: "If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country ”.
Among those present in the box of the first lady, Jill Biden, were relatives of Tire Nichols (who died in Memphis after being brutally beaten by the police);
Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, assaulted last fall at their San Francisco home for political reasons, U2 frontman Bono, and other mostly anonymous guests helping the president outline his agenda in matters of health, education, gay marriage, abortion, weapons, the fight against police violence, infrastructure, investment in microprocessors and immigration, among others.
In a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate, under the watchful eye of Democrat Kamala Harris (President of the Senate in her capacity as Vice President of the United States) and Republican Kevin McCarthy (elected Speaker of the House of Representatives after 15 voting), Biden has called for collaboration between both parties.
“To my Republican friends, if we were able to work together in the last Congress, there's no reason we can't work together in this new Congress.
The people sent us a clear message.
Fighting to fight, power for power, conflict for conflict's sake, gets us nowhere.
And that has always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America: the middle class, to unite the country.
They have sent us here to finish the job!” said the president.
Biden has somewhat exaggeratedly claimed that the United States is "the only country that has come out of every crisis stronger than when it entered it."
“That's what we're doing again.
Two years ago our economy was reeling.
As I'm here tonight, we've created a record 12 million new jobs – more jobs have been created in two years than any president has created in four years.
Two years ago, covid had closed our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much.
Today, covid no longer controls our lives.
And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War.
Today, although wounded, our democracy remains intact and unshakable," according to Biden.
The economy has been a headache for Biden in the first half of his term, especially due to inflation, which reached over 9% in the middle of last year, just a few months before the midterm legislative elections.
But the pressure of prices has subsided in the second half of last year and closed 2022 at 6.5% and unemployment has dropped to 3.4%, its lowest since 1969, at the start of 2023, so the president he breastfeeds his economic achievements: “My economic plan consists of investing in places and people that have been forgotten.
(...) We are building an economy in which no one is left behind.
Jobs are back, pride is back thanks to the decisions we've made in the last two years.
This is a project to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives, ”says the president.
china and ukraine
In foreign policy, tensions with China on account of the alleged spy balloon detected last week in the United States and the war in Ukraine have been the star issues.
“Before I came to office, the story was that the People's Republic of China was growing in power and the United States was falling in the world.
It's not like that.
I have made it clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict.
I will not apologize for investing to make America strong, investing in American innovation, in future-defining industries that the Chinese government seeks to dominate,” he said.
“Today we are in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or any other country in the world.
I commit to working with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world.
But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country.
And so we did.
And let's be clear: winning the competition with China should unite us all.
We face serious challenges around the world.
But in the last two years, democracies have grown stronger, not weaker.
The autocracies have been weakened, not strengthened, ”she has assured.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the United States was one of the White House guests.
"Putin's invasion has been a test for the United States and for the world," she said.
A test passed successfully.
We unite NATO and build a global coalition.
We opposed Putin's aggression.
We were with the Ukrainian people.”
The ambassador, she has said, "represents not only his nation, but the courage of her people."
“Ambassador, America is united in our support of her country.
We will be with you as long as it takes ”, she has promised.
These international messages have been combined with others of economic nationalism.
He has championed the Buy American motto, which, in his opinion, has been left unduly neglected.
DHis government, which has already approved aid and protectionist measures that have annoyed the European Union, now promises to give another twist: "Tonight I also announce new regulations that will require that all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects be manufactured in the United States.
Wood, glass, drywall and fiber optic cables made in the USA.
Under my mandate, American highways, American bridges and American highways will be made with American products”, he said.
Before, in internal politics, he has reviewed his agenda.
He has urged police reform following the death in Memphis of Tire Nichols from a brutal beating by police.
“I know that most police officers are good, decent people.
They risk their lives every time they put on that shield.
But what happened to Tire in Memphis happens all too often.
We have to do better."
He has also remembered the Uvalde tragedy and called for a ban on assault weapons.
He has proposed recovering the right to abortion throughout the country as a federal law (although he does not have a majority for it) and taking measures to fight cancer, the opioid epidemic and mental health problems, accusing big technology failing to protect minors.
Biden has concluded his message with a theme that he has insisted on time and time again: the defense of democracy.
It was a key slogan in his campaign for the legislative elections last November.
To introduce it, she has used the presence of Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's husband, brutally assaulted at her home last November.
Democracy, she has said, “is the most fundamental of all.
With democracy, anything is possible.
Without her, nothing is."
“In recent years, our democracy has been threatened, attacked and endangered.
Put to the test here, in this very room, on January 6 ”, he continued, in an attack on his rival in the 2020 presidential elections, Donald Trump.
“Just a few months ago, unhinged by the Big Lie, an assailant unleashed political violence at the home of then-Speaker of this House of Representatives, [Nancy Pelosi].
Using the same language that the insurgents who stalked these corridors chanted on January 6.
In this Chamber tonight stands the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but who is just as tough, strong and resilient as they are.
My friend, Paul Pelosi."
“But such a heinous act should never have happened.
We must all raise our voices.
There is no place for political violence in America.
In America, we must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right.
We must respect the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people.
We must defend the rule of law and restore confidence in our democratic institutions.
And we must not harbor hate and extremism in any of its forms”, he added.
Biden has insisted that the United States is "at a tipping point," the kind "facing only a few generations, where the decisions we make now will decide the course of this nation and the world for decades to come." ”.
“We must be the nation that we have always been in our prime.
With future vision".
And he has finished with another of the phrases that he has been repeating over and over again: “I have never been more optimistic about the future of America.
We just have to remember who we are.
We are the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing beyond our ability if we do it together."
The 2024 bid
Biden was not expected to clear up the question tonight about whether he will run for re-election in 2024. Biden, who turned 80 last November, is the oldest president the United States has ever had.
He would arrive at the 2024 elections at almost 82 years of age and a hypothetical second term could be extended until he is over 86. This Tuesday, in a tailored speech of short sentences and forceful messages, he has shown himself in shape.
He has not hesitated or had any lapses.
The problem for the Democrats is that the figure of their vice president, Kamala Harris, has not caught on and the party finds itself without a clear alternative despite the fact that the majority of its voters would prefer a new face on the ballot for the presidential elections of the year. next.
Biden plans trips to Wisconsin and Florida after his speech to sell the achievements of his presidency, which suggests that running again is on his mind.
Last November, after the legislative elections, when they asked him if he planned to run for re-election in 2024, he pointed to his wife and answered in the plural: "Our intention is to run again."
He also said it was "a family decision" and that he hoped to make it final at the beginning of this year.
An announcement to that effect is expected in the next two months.
The Constitution of the United States establishes that the president "shall periodically report to Congress on the State of the Union and recommend for its consideration such measures as he deems necessary and advisable."
It began as a written communication, but then a speech to Congress became customary.
Including this second Biden address, there have been a total of 99 annual messages or in-person State of the Union addresses.
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