In his State of the Union speech this evening, Joe Biden showed why he is the President of the United States.

From his opening remarks stating “we’re finally together again” and “we meet tonight…as Americans,” to his closing comments “the only nation that can be defined by a single word possibilities” and “the State of the Union is strong because you the American People are strong…this is our moment,” President Biden passionately:

  • Honored the people of Ukraine and condemned the actions of Russia.
  • Touted the many forward pieces of legislation that passed this last year.
  • Called on the passage of more progressive and sensible legislation to fight inflation including a rebranded Build Back Better Plan.
  • Discussed how to continue to combat COVID 19.
  • Offered a Unity Agenda.

Honoring the people of Ukraine and condemning the actions of Russia.

Saying “Freedom will always triumph over tyranny (Marjorie Taylor Greene was not sure whether to get up for that,)” President Biden praised the heroic efforts of the Ukrainian People and their leaders in their fight against Putin’s Russian Invasion. He talked about and honored  the Ukrainian Resistance (including United States Ambassador to Ukraine with a hugging Jill Biden) to the Russians, saying “it inspires the world” and “We the United States stand with Ukraine.”

Mr. Biden ridiculed Putin for thinking he could divide NATO and the United States. Talked about how he rallied allies and warned of how Putin would act before he invaded Ukraine.

The President boasted “Putin is isolated in the world more than he has ever been.” 

He talked about economic sanctions and how it is making Russia’s currency worthless.

Mr. Biden warned Russian oligarchs, “no more” and “we’re coming for you.”

He announced that the United States would join Allies in enforcing no airspace for Russian aircraft.

The President also injected a dose of realism, stating “our forces will not fight in Ukraine” but American  troops are going there in case Putin wants to move west.

Mr. Biden reaffirmed “we’ll defend every single inch of N.A.T.O. territory.”

Can someone say line in the sand.

To counter rising gas prices because of the crisis, the President announced the United States and Allies will release 60 million barrels of oil (30 million from the United States.) from around the world.

This article was first published on the Blog for Arizona

In closing this portion of the address, President Biden said, “we’re going to be okay. Putin will be weaker and we’ll be stronger…In the battle of democracies and autocracies, democracies are rising to the occasion.”

President Biden touted the many forward pieces of legislation that passed this last year.

The President then pivoted to discussing the American Economy and his legislative successes since taking office.

This included the American Rescue Plan which effectively provided economic relief, combatted COVID 19, cut health care insurance and battled food insecurity.

Mr. Biden said, “the American Rescue Plan helped working people and left no one behind…It worked, It worked. It created jobs, lots of jobs…more jobs in one year than any time in the history of United States of America.”

The President talked about the over five percent in economic growth this last year while also blasting the discredited Republican Holy Grail of trickle down economics, saying the best way to build the economy was “from the middle out and bottom up.”

Mr. Biden also praised the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and thanked Republicans who joined in the legislation, saying, “we’re done talking about infrastructure weeks. We’re talking about infrastructure decade.”

He reminded the American People about how this legislation will help combat climate change, build electric vehicle charging stations, get rid of lead pipes in schools, provide high speed internet for everyone, upgrade 65,000 miles of highway and repair over 1,000 bridges in the first year.

Expressing appreciation and pride for American automotive companies GM and Ford for investing in electric cars, President Biden talked about buying American and materials/projects are made beginning to end.

He also asked Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act so the nation can reclaim the edge in research and development that is necessary in order to compete with China.

Mr. Biden called on the passage of more progressive and sensible legislation to fight inflation including a rebranded Build Back Better Plan.

Saying “I get it” with regards to inflation, the President blamed it on supply chain gaps and staffing shortages around the world, noting “one third of inflation was on cars because of lack semiconductors” to install.

Mr. Biden said we “fight inflation by lowering costs, not your wages.”

He supported more manufacturing and infrastructure in America, stating “instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America.”

He also rebranded his Building Back Better Plan as legislation that will fight inflation. This included:

  • Cutting the costs of prescription drugs. Capping the cost of insulin to $35.00 a month. Mr. Biden said to thunderous applause among the Democrats “let’s let Medicare negotiate the price of prescription drugs”
  • Cut energy costs by providing a weather tax credit to invest in your home and lowering the costs of electric cars,
  • Cutting the costs of child care.
  • Home and long term care
  • Universal Pre K 3 and 4 year olds.

To pay for it, the President said:

  • No one making less than 400,000 a year will pay an extra penny.”
  • “Make corporations paying their fair share. 55 of the Fortune 500 paid no taxes while making several billion in profits.”
  • “Closing loopholes for rich taxpayers who pay less than teachers.”

Mr. Biden also said the Justice Department will name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud. The Biden/Harris Administration will also start a crackdown on companies overcharging American businesses and consumers.

He also said Medicare is going to set higher standards for Nursing Homes that have been besieged by shady private overseers.

Saying, “we have an opportunity to build a better America,” the President called for providing more training and apprenticeships, extending the child tax credit, increasing Pell Grants, investing in community colleges, passing the Pro Act, and raising the minimum wage to $15.00.

Later in his address, Mr. Biden called on Congress to pass:

  • Sensible criminal justice reform, stating, “the answer is not to defund the police but to fund them…with resources and training.”
  • Immigration Reform that secures the border and provides a pathway to citizenship.
  • Voting Rights Protections like The Freedom to Vote, John Lewis, and Disclose Acts.
  • Protections for women and members of the LGBTQ Community.

President Biden discussed how to continue combatting COVID 19.

Recognizing that severe Coronavirus cases are down to what it was in July of 2021 and most people can now go mask free, the President said that while “COVID 19 no longer need control our lives…we have to stay on guard.”

Mr. Biden said that people will stay protected with vaccines and treatments.

He talked about the Pfrizer Pill and how its effectiveness was at 90 percent.

He reminded the people that hundreds of millions of free tests available.

He reaffirmed that schools should be kept open, saying “our kids need to be in school.”

The President also said the United States would continue to help vaccinate the world.

He also told the people that we “must prepare for new variants” and asked Congress to fund future pandemic/endemic expenses.

Mr. Biden offered a unity agenda.

Calling for unity, the President said, “let’s use this moment to reset…Let’s stop seeing each other as enemies. Let’s start seeing each other for what we are: fellow Americans.”

Stating that “we can change how to move forward,” the President first saluted the life of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer and praised his probable successor, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Noting that he signed 80 bipartisan bills last year and will sign the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, Mr. Biden offered a unity agenda that focuses on:

  • Beating the opioid epidemic.
  • Taking on mental health especially on children whose lives have been turned upside down. Strengthen privacy protections especially for children.
  • Supporting our veterans.
  • Ending cancer as we know it. Called on Congress to pass ARPA so the government could better fund attacks against diseases.

Initial Arizona Democratic Reaction to President Biden’s Home Run at the State of the Union. 

Reactions to President Biden’s State of the Union have already started to come in.

Arizona Democratic Party Chairperson Raquel Teran wrote:

“What President Biden and Democrats in Congress have been able to deliver for Arizonans cannot be understated. From direct payments through the American Rescue Plan, to expanded broadband access and water security through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Arizonans have felt the support of the Biden Administration right here at home. We look forward to what is to come from such leadership and are excited to continue working for all Arizonans.”

Senator Kyrsten Sinema posted:

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued several posts on social media including:

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero also issued several posts praising President Biden’s State of the Union, including:

CD-7 Representative Ruben Gallego posted:

CD-Three Representative Raul Grijalva made several posts as well, including:

CD-One Congressman Thomas O’Halleran wrote:

“Tonight, President Biden spoke about what we can do, as one nation, to build a better America.”

“This week, Americans from all political backgrounds have watched as a democratic, sovereign nation across the globe was invaded, civilians killed, a city destroyed. But, in the wake of pain and shock, we have also witnessed an entire country coming together in the face of violence and unrest. In times of crisis, we are all stronger together.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, we have worked to come back together as a nation. We passed our American Rescue Plan—groundbreaking legislation that helped Arizonans get vaccinated, schools re-open, small businesses keep their doors open, and whole communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also passed our Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan package that finally funds much-needed improvements to our roads, electric grids, wildfire resiliency, broadband programs, and water systems. These investments are already improving the structures Arizonans rely on, creating jobs, and uplifting our rural economies.

“Tonight, I was also pleased to hear the president’s plan of action to address comprehensive immigration, pay down the deficit, and address supply chain issues and lower costs for families by investing in American goods, manufacturing, and jobs.

“However, I was disappointed not to hear a mention of the importance and role of rural America in the president’s remarks. In rural communities like Arizona’s First District, hardworking families feel more acutely the issues the president discussed tonight—rising prices, the need for new, good-paying jobs, and the desperate desire to bounce back from this pandemic better than before. We must ensure rural communities are prioritized in the legislative actions we take to better our country for all.

“I’ll always do what’s right for Arizonans, regardless of party and no matter who the president is. While President Biden and I may not agree on everything, we agree that the State of our Union is stronger when we come together as Americans, not politicians, and put aside our differences to improve the lives of our constituents.”

CD-9 Representative and former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton posted:

The new Congressional District One Candidate, Ginger Sykes Torres, wrote:

“I applaud President Biden’s state of the union address. The truth is, President Biden is directly responsible for the unification of our allies in Europe and leading the sanctions charge against Putin’s regime. We should continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable. Supporting Democracy in Ukraine is not a partisan issue.

“Here at home, inflation is hurting Americans across this country and in CD1. This has been a building problem for several years and while our economy was rescued by the Biden Administration last year — and we have seen historic levels of job growth — the transitory inflation is causing pains.

“Exacerbating that issue is corporate price gouging, large companies are driving up prices amidst inflation, which hurts small businesses and families. None of this is good for the people of CD1 in the short or long term. I encourage current efforts to curb inflation and ensure that the economy is working for everyone.

“I echo the President’s calls on Congress to send him legislation combating environmental challenges that impact the economy. The President called for cutting energy costs for families, providing investments and tax credits to weatherize homes and businesses to be energy efficient and so much more. This will be a major priority when I serve in the US House.

“As someone who has been on the front lines of helping to protect our communities and first responders from the ravages of Covid-19, I am hopeful that due to the administration’s efforts we are moving towards endemic vs. pandemic. That being said, we should remain vigilant and do everything necessary to keep our communities safe by continuing to follow the science and not let politics dictate our response to this evolving disease.

“Our country and the world face many challenges but through strong leadership, we can prevail. In Congress, I will be a leader who works across the aisle to tackle these challenges and I will get common-sense legislation passed that benefits all Arizonans.”