Biden delivers second State of the Union address to nation


Joseph Zuloaga '23

President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address to a divided Congress on Feb. 7, declaring that the State of the Union is strong.

Joseph Zuloaga '23, Editor in Chief

Last night, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union, amidst low approval ratings and a newly divided Congress, with the GOP now controlling the House. 

In his speech lasting about 73 minutes, Biden touted his legislative accomplishments, using them as fuel to tee up a possible 2024 run, as the Republican field of challengers begins to take shape.  

On the domestic front, Biden spoke on the bipartisan laws he passed in his first two years, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Respect for Marriage Act. 

These laws are the most significant investments in U.S. infrastructure in many years and the biggest investment to curb climate change. In addition, they promote and jumpstart the semiconductor industry, and codify gay and interracial marriage into law. 

Furthermore, he addressed the record low unemployment level–3.6 percent–declining inflation and called for more of his campaign promises to be fulfilled, like capping insulin at $35, taxing corporations, and more. 

“We’re just getting started,” Biden told Congress. “We’re not finished yet by any stretch of the imagination.

Let’s finish the job, there’s more to do.

— Joe Biden, President of the United States

He added, “Let’s finish the job, there’s more to do.”

On foreign policy, the President highlighted the continued U.S. support of Ukraine, as the one year mark of the start of Russia’s invasion approaches on Feb. 24.

He did not directly mention the Chinese spy balloon that hovered over the United States in the days leading up to the State of the Union, but rather he stated, “If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did” after some Republican lawmakers criticized Biden for not acting faster in shooting the balloon down. 

The balloon was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet on the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4 after entering Alaska on Jan. 28, passing through Canada, then crossing the continental U.S. The incident seems to have punctured any hopes for more amicable U.S-China relations.

Throughout the speech, Biden took swipes at the GOP, but stayed clear from generalizing the entire party as “ultra-MAGA Republicans.” He called out Republicans who were fiercely opposed to the infrastructure law, but now ask for funding for infrastructure projects in their districts. 

“But don’t worry, I promised I’d be a president for all Americans. We’ll fund these projects. And I’ll see you at the groundbreaking,” chirped Biden, with Democrats cheering. 

The most chaotic moment of the night came when Biden said, “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” This was said under the larger context of government spending and the debate over the debt ceiling. Republicans do not want to raise the debt ceiling, which could lead the U.S. to default for the first time in history its $31 trillion national debt.


— Majorie Taylor Greene, Representative from Georgia

Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene loudly called Biden “Liar!” as more boos came from other Republicans. Democrats have criticized the GOP for hinting at the possibility of eliminating Social Security and Medicare in their quest for cuts on “reckless spending” to not raise the debt ceiling, and seek an end to the era of “big government.”

To this, Biden replied, “As we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right? They’re not to be touched?” This led to thunderous applause from both sides. “All right! We got unanimity!” he said.

Watching over the entire message–other than VP Kamala Harris and Speaker Kevin McCarthy–were guests invited by First Lady Jill Biden. They included the parents of Tyre Nichols, a man who was beaten by Memphis police officers. The incident was captured by officer body-worn cameras and a police surveillance camera mounted on a pole. Nichols died three days later. 

To quell the constant bickering between funding or defunding the police, Biden struck a middle ground saying, “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.”

Brandon Tsay, who is credited with saving many lives at the Monterey Park mass shooting on Jan. 21 by wrestling the gun away from the perpetrator, was also in attendance. Biden renewed calls for more comprehensive gun safety laws, including banning assault weapons.

In Biden’s entire address, there was no mention of his classified documents scandal, with the GOP ramping up investigations on the “weaponization” of the FBI, the chaotic Afghanistan removal, and the crisis at the southern borders.

If we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress

— Joe Biden, President of the United States

Despite all this, the President hopes to work with Republicans. “To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress. The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere.”

President Biden laid out his case for the Democratic agenda in the State of the Union and reported to the nation, “Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong.” 

But, during these next two years of divided government, he and Democrats will have to work with Republicans if he wants his agenda to become a reality.