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In an address to the Nation on Capitol Hill, President Joe R. Biden delivered his second State of the Union.
Biden Acknowledges Tyre Nichol’s Family and the need for Police Reform
In attendance and invited by First Lady Jill Biden were the parents of Tyre Nichols.
“Public safety depends on public trust. But too often that trust is violated.”
Joining us tonight are the parents of Tyre Nichols, who had to bury him just last week. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child.
But imagine what it’s like to lose a child at the hands of the law.”
Nichols’ family was welcomed with a bi-partisian standing ovation. Nevertheless, Republicans refused to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last September, which would have restricted qualified immunity for law enforcement and may have deterred the five Memphis police officers from beating Tyre Nichols to death.
“I know most cops are good, decent people. They risk their lives every time they put on that shield. But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better,” POTUS said.
“With the support of families of victims, civil rights groups, and law enforcement, I signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other key elements of the George Floyd Act.
Let’s commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre’s mother come true, ‘something good’ must come from this. All of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment. We can’t turn away. Let’s do what we know in our hearts we need to do. Let’s come together and finish the job on police reform. Do something,” Biden pleaded.
POTUS proposed Congress to pass Universal Pre-K
President Biden mentioned how 12 years wasn’t enough to compete in today’s 21st century global economy and proposes that Congress pass Universal Pre-K. According to studies, academic Universal Pre-K is most effective at accelerating pre-literacy and math skills for Black children from low-income families and a path to closing learning disparities between racial groups.
“When we made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world. But the world has caught up,” the president said. “Jill, who teaches full-time, has an expression: “Any nation that out-educates us will out-compete us,” he declared.
“Studies show that children who go to pre-school are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree, no matter their background,” Biden said.
He also encouraged congress to give teachers a raise. The House Chamber erupted in cheers, but Republicans didn’t flinch.
Biden Calls for Congress to Reinstate Parent Relief in Child Tax Credit
As inflation continues to make ends meet a kitchen table issue, a National Parents Union poll found that 74% of families want the expanded Child Tax Credit reinstated, which would give those eligible monthly checks of $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child age 6 or older.
The Child Tax Credit expired at the end of 2021 sending 3.7 million American children back into poverty. Hence, Biden called for Congress to reinstate this section of his American Rescue Plan in hopes of bringing relief to parents.
“Let’s also restore the full Child Tax Credit, which gave tens of millions of parents some breathing room and cut child poverty in half, to the lowest level in history,” POTUS demanded.
Student Loan Debt
The Biden administration’s federal student debt cancellation plan has been halted as millions of Americans await the Supreme Court’s ruling on its legality. Leading up to his State of the Union Address, 138 House Republicans and nearly all Republican senators filed amicus briefs with a Republican-friendly Supreme Court opposing it. The President, however, is seemingly preparing the alternative by increasing Pell Grants.
“We’re making progress by reducing student debt and increasing Pell Grants for working- and middle-class families,” the Biden stated.
Biden Advocated for the American consumer and called out Billionaires for not paying taxes
POTUS spoke directly to middle America, calling out billionaires for paying lower taxes than those in the middle class and corporations for mistreating the American consumer.
“My administration is also taking on “junk” fees, those hidden surcharges too many businesses use to make you pay more. For example, we’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is canceled or delayed,” the President promised.
“We’ve reduced exorbitant bank overdraft fees, saving consumers more than $1 billion a year. We’re cutting credit card late fees by 75%, from $30 to $8. Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month.”
A minimum tax for billionaires is being revisited by the president, in order to ensure they do not pay lower taxes than middle-class households. Households worth $100 million or more would have to pay a 20% tax on their income and unrealized financial gains. Approximately $360 billion will be generated over the course of 10 years, according to the administration.
“No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.”
“I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair. The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal income taxes? That’s simply not fair. But now, because of the law I signed, billion-dollar companies have to pay a minimum of 15%.”
Caping Insulin Coast and Expanding Medicaid
As part of his efforts to improve health care affordability, the President announced a $35-per-month limit on insulin, which took effect in January. However, the price cap was only applicable to Medicare beneficiaries under last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
“Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every American who needs it. This law also caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at a maximum $2,000 per year when there are in fact many drugs, like expensive cancer drugs, that can cost up to $10,000, $12,000, and $14,000 a year.”
Currently, there are 40 states that have expanded Medicaid (including DC) and 11 states that haven’t.
“Let’s finish the job, make those savings permanent, and expand coverage to those left off Medicaid,” the President asked.
For the full transcript of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address click here.