While dlivering his second State of the Union address Tuesday night from the U.S. Capitol, President Biden called for political unity — and challenged Congress to pass immigration reform, protect abortion rights, ban assault weapons, and help rebuild the middle class.
Entering the House chamber to applause and a standing ovation from both Republicans and Democrats, Biden began his address by recognizing new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Said Biden: “I start tonight by congratulating the members of the 118th Congress and the new Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy. Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working together.”
During his 80-minute address, Biden touted economic accomplishments during his time as President, despite acknowledging record inflation: “As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years,” Biden said, adding, “Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 a gallon since their peak. Food inflation is coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take-home pay has gone up.”
Biden stressed that “unity” is required between Democrats and Republicans to “finish the job”: “To restore the soul of the nation. To rebuild the backbone of America, the middle class. To unite the country. We’ve been sent here to finish the job. To build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. Because when the middle class does well, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well.”
First lady Jill Biden invited multiple guests to Tuesday’s speech, including the Ambassador of Ukraine Oksana Markarova, and RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, parents of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, the Black man who died last month after he was beaten by a group of Memphis police officers during a traffic stop. Additional guests included Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was the victim of a politically motivated attack in October, and Brandon Tsay who disarmed a shooting suspect in the Monterey Park, Calif., mass shooting this past month.
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