Has Biden promised too much?

Summary and analysis of Biden’s State of the Union

(from left to right) Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union address

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

(from left to right) Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union address

Annelise Latham, Copy Editor

What is the State of the Union Address?

Here’s what you need to know.

The State of the Union, which was originally called the “Annual Message” is a constitutionally mandated address that the President is to give from time to time on the condition of the country to Congress, usually given once a year in Jan. or Feb.

The address’s main goal is to discuss important issues facing Americans and offer ideas on solving the nation’s problems and suggestions for new laws and policies. 

On State of the Union night, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate gather together in the House chamber, along with the Speaker of the House and the Vice President. The Speaker then introduces the President, and the speech commences.

During his speech, the President introduces several American citizens who’ve done extraordinary acts which caused them to be invited to the House chamber for his State of the Union message. 

After the message, there is an opposition response, which gives the opposing political party a chance to express their views on what the President said and will usually offer suggestions different from the President’s on how to improve America.

In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union, he had a lot to say, maybe too much?

According to the official White House website, Biden opened the speech by speaking on the situation in Ukraine, announcing that US airspace would be closed to Russian aircraft and stating very clearly that “We, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people.” 

He moved on to talk about the Russian Oligarchy (a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution), and discussed how “the United States Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of the Russian oligarchs.” 

After focusing on the situation in eastern Europe, he switched to domestic issues and continued to call on Congress to pass various elements of the Build Back Better bill including the extension of the child tax credit, which can reduce the Federal tax that you owe by $1000 per child under 17 years old, universal preschool and paid family leave (longer-term leave to care for ill family members, as well as when a parent has a new child). 

Biden also advocated that Congress increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but since this has not been a major part of the President’s agenda; he didn’t push back after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the American Rescue Plan could not include a provision for that type of increase. Biden does see potentially increasing wages as critical to ending the inflation crisis, as he sees it as the company’s responsibility to attract and hire workers in the US to reduce our dependence on global supply chains.

Then, President Biden spoke about the pandemic and detailed how within the coming weeks most areas of the country will meet the CDC requirements to remove mask requirements.

The President ended by focusing on his “Unity Agenda” which contains four key points, beating the opioid epidemic, taking on mental health, supporting our veterans and ending cancer as we know it.

Biden’s Unity Agenda is a big enough goal by itself, but then attempting to take on global supply chain dependence issues, universal preschool and more?

Personally, I think that Biden is biting off more than he can chew, especially with the present conflicts in Ukraine.

For example, in former President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address in 2010, according to CNN, he called for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal,  which, according to britannica.com, is a bill that states that “homosexuals serving in the military were not allowed to talk about their sexual orientation or engage in sexual activity, and commanding officers were not allowed to question service members about their sexual orientation.”, he talked about the war in Afghanistan, he stated that he would push to increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit rate from 20% to 35% for families making under $85,000 a year, and families making from $85,000 to $115,000 also would see an increase in their tax credit, stimulating the economy and some other odds and ends.

My point is, in comparison to Obama and just in general, Biden set some very lofty goals and it just doesn’t seem like it’s probable to attempt all of his points, even without the raging war in Ukraine.