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President Biden delivers State of the Union, gets GOP support for preserving Medicare, Social Security

APTOPIX State of the Union
Posted at 5:12 PM, Feb 07, 2023

President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address and heard directly from House Republicans during his speech who jeered several of his proposals. This was the first time Biden addressed a joint session of Congress with Republicans in the majority in the House.

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Despite the jeering, several of Biden's proposals were met with approval from both sides of the aisle. Biden will now take his message to the road as he hopes he can form agreements with a split Congress.

Things get testy

At several points during Tuesday's speech, Republicans sneered the president. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, was seen shouting at Biden during his comments on potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

"Republicans say if we don't cut Social Security and Medicare, they'll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history," Biden said to jeers from Republicans. "Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years."

Despite the catcalls, it seems Biden and the White House accomplished one of his goals going into the speech: To deliver a bipartisan message.

"So tonight, let's all agree to stand up for seniors. Stand up and show them we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare," he said.

Stand up for social security

The moment prompted both sides to stand up and applaud eagerly.

But that was not the only touchy moment.

As Biden called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, several members of Congress could be heard yelling "border." He said the issue needs a bipartisan solution.

Republicans have placed blame on fentanyl overdoses, which Biden said kills 70,000 annually. Republicans say fentanyl coming across the border from Mexico is driving the numbers.

republicans want to take the economy hostage, cut medicaire and social security

"America's border problems won't be fixed until Congress acts," Biden said. "If you won't pass my comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers."

Inflation not coming down 'fast enough'

Biden detracted from his prepared remarks when addressing falling, but still high, inflation.

"Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin's war that disrupted energy and food supplies," Biden said. "But we're better positioned than any country on Earth. We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down. Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 from their peak. Food inflation is coming down, not fast enough, but coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last months."

Biden Speech Economy

While Biden intended to discuss inflation, it appears the comments "not fast enough" were a last-minute insertion.

The consumer price index is at 6.1%, down from a June 2022 high of 9.1%. The Federal Reserve said its goal is to get inflation down to 2% annually.

Capping insulin costs at $35 a month

After Congress passed legislation last year that capped insulin costs for Medicare recipients to $35 a month, Biden called on lawmakers to limit insulin costs for all Americans.

"There are millions of other Americans who are not on Medicare, including 200,000 young people with Type I diabetes who need insulin to save their lives," Biden said. "Let's finish the job this time."

Biden added that he would veto any bill that would increase the cost of prescription drugs.

Reforming tax system

Biden said the U.S. tax system is unfair to the working class and that those making under $400,000 should not pay any more taxes. His comments come as some Republicans have proposed replacing the United States' current income tax system with a nationwide sales tax.

He has called on Congress to implement a minimum tax on billionaires of 15%. According to the Internal Revenue Service, those in the top pay income brackets pay a 35% federal income tax.

Biden: No billionaire should pay lower taxes than a teacher or firefighter"

"Let's finish the job. Reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax," Biden said.

'What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often'

Biden welcomed Tyre Nichols' parents RowVaughn and Rodney Wells to his address while calling on Congress to implement additional reforms to policing. Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after being severely beaten by Memphis Police officers following a traffic stop. Five of the officers involved in the incident were charged with murder.

Two years ago, Congress attempted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would have made it easier to prosecute officers for misconduct in uniform.

"There's too many Black and brown kids being murdered by the police. If they had passed [the George Floyd Act]... maybe my son would've come home."

Tyre Nichols family

While the bill passed the House, it could not get through the Senate due to the filibuster.

"More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime; more community intervention programs; more investments in housing, education, and job training," Biden said.

Despite the previous GOP opposition to reforms, many Republicans cheered on Biden when the topic of police reform was brought up.

Republicans listened intently

Before heading into the House chambers, newly elected Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, told Scripps News he hopes Biden addresses the economic anxiety being felt by many Americans. Although the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest level in five decades, inflation and interest rates remain elevated. A CBS News pollreleased this week indicated nearly two out of three Americans believe the U.S. economy is bad.

Vance also said he wanted to hear the president talk about plans to stop the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.

While the White House stressed bipartisanship as a major theme in the address, Vance is concerned about Biden's posture on negotiations over the debt ceiling. Republicans have wanted to negotiate to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in conjunction with spending cuts. Biden has wanted to keep those issues separate.

"One of the things I do worry about is the president's posture right now is we're not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling, we're not going to negotiate on the budgetary picture in the United States," Vance said. "That's not the right thing to do. That is not what the American people want. We need the president to negotiate with Republicans."

Huckabee Sanders offers GOP's rebuttal

Newly elected Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the Republican Party's official response to the speech. She previously served as President Donald Trump's White House press secretary.

She called Biden "unfit" to be president.

"And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day. Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight," she said.