Joe Biden said America is “on the rise again” in his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night as he said the country was experiencing a revival after a devastating pandemic and economic crisis.
“After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready to take off,” Biden said. “We are working again. Dreaming again. Discover again. Rule the world again. We have shown ourselves to each other and to the world: there is no stopping in America, ”he said. “A hundred days ago the American house was on fire. We had to act.
Biden began delivering his remarks on Capitol Hill shortly after 9 p.m. in Washington without the usual audience of lawmakers and senior officials, as attendance was limited due to coronavirus precautions.
But the setting was familiar to the 78-year-old, who served as a Delaware senator for decades and vice president for eight years under Barack Obama. Prior to delivering his speech, Biden noted that he was the first president to deliver the speech accompanied by two women – Kamala Harris, vice president, and Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House.
Biden touted the economic recovery in the United States and urged Congress to pass his broad spending program. “America is on the move. Moving forward. And we can’t stop now. We are competing with China and other countries to win the 21st century. “
After adopting a $ 1.9 billion stimulus package in March, Biden focused on persuading Congress to pass a Infrastructure spending of $ 2.3 billion bill and a $ 1.8 billion expansion of the social safety net, which he wants to fund with higher taxes on businesses and the wealthy.
“It’s time for corporate America and the richest 1% of Americans to pay their fair share,” Biden said. “You just have to pay their fair share.”
The president described his infrastructure plan as a “blue collar plan to build America” and took a hit on Wall Street, sections of which have launched a lobbying campaign to thwart its tax hikes.
“He recognizes something I’ve always said: Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And the unions have built the middle class.
Biden’s speech came on the eve of his 100th day in office. He also highlighted the rapid roll-out of vaccination as proof that he kept his election promise to restore competence and decency to the White House after four years of Donald Trump.
“At a mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona, I asked a nurse what it was like. She said “every hit feels like a dose of hope.” “
The President’s criticism of Wall Street echoes his presidential campaign, in which he promised to “reward work, not wealth»By giving priority to low- and middle-income households over richer families.
However, presidents giving prime-time speeches to Congress and the nation tend to choose their words carefully. Biden’s focus on the financial services industry and its richest clients underscored his belief that he can win public support for billions of dollars in investment as long as they are funded by taxes earmarked for big business and the rich.