By Morgan Miles, Staff Writer
President Joe Biden expressed interest in supporting America’s middle class and tackling issues that economically impair the middle class in his second annual State of the Union Address held earlier this month.
Biden emphasized the country’s improvement in standing up for working and middle-class families. He spoke about topics such as healthcare for veterans, ending the opioid and cancer epidemics and banning assault weapons.
“That’s always been my vision of our country, and I know it’s many of yours. To restore the soul of this nation. To rebuild the backbone of America, America’s middle class, and to unite the country,” Biden said.
Beginning the speech, Biden spoke on the unemployment rate at record high percentages: In the last 50 years, the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been at 3.4%. Though Biden congratulated his administration and the people for creating 800,000 manufacturing jobs recently, he expressed concern about inflation as a global problem.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden explained that inflation has persisted and grown in percentage — until now. In the last six months, inflation has decreased in the U.S. Using inflation to segue into domestic issues, Biden mentioned his bipartisan infrastructure law, which was the largest infrastructure investment since the 1950s. The bipartisan infrastructure law supports projects such as repairing the Brent Spence Bridge, a popular freight-carrying bridge in Kentucky passing over the Ohio River that has needed repaits for decades.
“For too many decades, we imported projects and exported jobs. Now, thanks to what you’ve all done, we’re exporting American products and creating American jobs,” Biden said.
He also appealed to families by assuring the union that poisonous lead pipes in American homes, childcare centers and schools would be replaced.
Briefly, Biden targeted the national mental health crisis, urging people to do more about mental health: “When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at their schools.”
Consistent with bipartisan positive rhetoric, he followed up with concern for children having their information stolen social media platforms and how that may be solved through bipartisan legislation.
Simultaneously targeting the healthcare system, Biden accused the pharmaceutical industry of unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars for insulin that takes $10 to make per vial. So far, the Biden administration, he reports, has capped insulin costs at $35 for seniors on Medicare, but the administration wants to have the $35 cap applicable to all demographics by 2025.
Other long-term goals Biden advocated for during the address to the union were affordable childcare, paid family medical leave and granting all workers a livable wage —through, the PRO Act.
Biden used his fourth and final point to highlight a planned 25-year fight against cancer. The administration’s aim, he said, is to turn cancer into a treatable disease, with deaths by cancer reduced by 50%.
Biden ended his speech with a reminder that the union, the people and the nation are strong.
“We’re the United States of America, and there’s nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together,” Biden said.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the republican response to the State of the Union shortly following Biden’s speech.
“America is great because we are free. But today, our freedom is under attack, and the America we love is in danger. President Biden and the Democrats have failed you. It’s time for a change,” Huckabee said.