Published On: Thu, Apr 29th, 2021

Biden Presidential Address To Congress: Standing Ovations, Commitment to Americans

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By Janet Ekstract

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – In U.S. President Joe Biden’s first Presidential Address to the joint session of Congress, he reported on his first 100 days in office that Biden said served as a reminder that America can withstand hardship and come out on top. In his address on Wednesday night, Biden spoke to members of Congress, highlighting some crucial areas where he pointed out it’s time for a major change in the U.S.  Among the important issues he highlighted include the American Family Plan, the George Floyd Bill, the Equal Pay Act, the Violence Against Women Act and the HR One bill related to voting rights. The president also said it was high time to provide equality for the LGBTQ communities and citizens throughout America by proposing to sign a new act into law while letting them know “I have your back.” Another crucial issue Biden highlighted was the issue of gun violence. He said: “Gun violence has become an epidemic in America” and he vowed to create a law to eliminate ‘ghost guns’ – homemade guns without serial numbers that can’t be traced at crime scenes. Biden commented on the gun issue: “This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue this is an American issue.”

The U.S. president also emphasized that America needs to play catch up with the rest of the world on infrastructure, technology and a whole host of other sectors where the U.S. – Biden said, has “fallen behind.” Biden stressed: “The question of whether a democracy can occur is both ancient and urgent,” as he referred to the January 6 “insurrection” on Capitol Hill that he pointed out, tested America’s ability to stand steadfast for democracy. The challenge Biden said is in making sure that the autocrats of the world know that America will not back down on issues such as human rights and basic freedoms. Another issue Biden referred to is the infrastructure bill and he said many countries are way ahead of the U.S. in terms of infrastructure. The $2 trillion bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to get passed by August – would not only provide a host of jobs Biden said, but will also modernize America’s transport system to include a nationwide bullet train, roads, bridges and other structures.

Meanwhile, Biden praised the Senate for passing a hate crimes bill to protect Asian Americans with a vote of 94-1.  The president added that “systemic racism” can be eliminated and that now is the time to make sure laws are put in place that address that issue. Biden referenced his desire to get the George Floyd Law passed and said he had spoken to George Floyd’s daughter who told him: “My daddy changed the world.” Biden added: “Now is the right time to make real progress. We have to come together to rebuild trust and better law enforcement and the people they serve.” Biden said he has plans to sign a police reform bill. On the immigration front, he reiterated how crucial immigration reform is and that Vice-President Kamala Harris will spearhead diplomatic efforts related to the immigration issues by working with the leaders of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Biden also said it was time to “finally secure protection for dreamers,” referring to the Dream Act proposal that if passed, would grant legal residency and work permission to young people who grew up in America and graduated from high schools in the U.S. but whose legal status remains uncertain due to current immigration laws.

In addition, a mainstay of Biden’s programs is the American Family Plan and he commented: “We need to make a once in a generation investment in families and our children.”  The plan which would serve those most in need, includes four major areas that includes universal Pre-K, free community college, paid family and medical leave, childcare assistance and an education fund. The U.S. president also mentioned revamping the Affordable Care Act so Americans can get back on track with their healthcare and stressed that the $15 per hour minimum wage is absolutely necessary and added: “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line.” Biden also said workers have the right to organize in unions and praised America’s farmers for their continued hard work and sacrifice.

A crucial point that Biden made is that autocrats would like to see democracy in America fail and that the events taking place over the last six months in the U.S. have brought America to the point of reckoning. Referring to China and Russia, Biden reiterated that he let both those nations know that America will stand its ground. Biden said: “America’s adversaries, the autocrats of the world, are betting our democracy can’t make it but they’re wrong. You know it and I know it and I know it but we’ve got to prove them wrong.” Biden added: “I’ve never been more confident about what’s happening in America because of the American people.” The president highlighted that “we the people are the government – you and I, it’s us, we, the people.” Biden added: “Its never been a good bet to bet against America.” In referring to repressive governments, Biden said: “Autocrats will not win the future, America will.” The U.S. president added: “People say America is back but for how long, we need to show America is back to stay.”

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