WASHINGTON — The State of the Union 2023 took place Tuesday with President Biden’s plans of rebuilding the economy, banning assault weapons, fixing America’s border issues, working to restore access to reproductive health care, and many other plans.
Key issues were at the forefront of President Biden’s second State of the Union speech and his first one in front of a split Congress. The theme overall was “finish the job.” From medical costs to gun control to infrastructure plans, Biden covered a vast variety of topics Tuesday.
“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never giving up. A story that is unique among all nations,” Biden said. “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again.”
In his 73-minute speech Tuesday he sought to show that the nation has improved drastically over the last two years with the creation of new jobs and rebuilding after the COVID-19 pandemic. “A democracy that has survived its biggest test since the Civil War,” according to The Associated Press.
Biden appealed to bipartisanship during his speech Tuesday to find a way to come together to find a solution and make some changes for both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Biden invited Tyre Nichols’ parents RowVaughn and Rodney Wells to his speech Tuesday. Both were seated with first lady Jill Biden and they received a standing ovation. Nichols died days after he was beaten by officers in Memphis, Tennessee last month.
“There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child,” Biden said.
“What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better,” Biden said.
Biden spoke about the difficult conversation that Black parents have to have with their children now at a young age which was something he acknowledged he didn’t have with his own children.
“Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car,” he said, according to the AP. “I’ve never had to have the talk with my children — Beau, Hunter, and Ashley — that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.”
Guests Tuesday night of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first lady which included mothers, fathers, and other loved ones who were victims of police violence, with hope of putting pressure on Washington to address police reform, according to the AP. Also in attendance was George Floyd’s brother, Eric Garner.
Biden said he signed an executive order for all federal officers to ban chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other parts of the George Floyd Act as a step to continue police reform.
Joining us at the State of the Union are the parents of Tyre Nichols.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 8, 2023
When I asked RowVaughn how she finds the courage to speak out, she shared her son “was a beautiful soul and something good will come from this.”
That's up to all of us. pic.twitter.com/HfPTbQMXpL
Biden paid tribute to Ukraine during his speech and address a guest, Ambassador Oksana Markarova who was there representing her county. According to the AP, he applauded Congress for assisting the country with nearly $30 billion in security assistance since the start of the war.
“Ambassador, America is united in our support for your country,” Biden said to Markarova, according to “Ambassador, America is united in our support for your country,” Biden said looking toward Markarova in the gallery. “We will stand with you as long as it takes.” “We will stand with you as long as it takes.”
Some of the other big key topics from Biden’s speech Tuesday included lowering the cost of medications such as insulin so people could afford it, universal preschool for 3-and 4-year-olds, an assault weapons ban, and forcing companies to stop doing stock buybacks, according to the AP.
The AP said that initiatives may not happen over the next two years but the hope is that the ball gets rolling on them.
Biden brought back the idea from last year about taxing billionaires at a minimum so that they don’t end up paying less than middle-class households, according to the AP. He also pitched a 20% tax on the income and unrealized financial gains of households worth over $100 million. This would likely help to fund some priorities and could possibly reduce the deficit.
Reproductive healthcare was another key issue Biden mentioned sharing that if Congress were to pass a national abortion ban, he would veto it.