Vaccination, taxes, police reform: what to remember from Joe Biden’s speech to the US Congress
“After 100 days, I can tell the country: America is moving forward again.” US President Joe Biden on Wednesday April 28 painted in Congress the picture of an America once again standing up after a series of formidable crises, and displayed his reformist will, calling on the richest to “pay their fair share”.
On the eve of the symbolic milestone of his 100 days of presidency, the tenant of the White House declined his “Project for American Families”, for a total amount of nearly $ 2 trillion, which it intends to finance through tax increases. Franceinfo sums up what to remember from this speech.
A symbol: a president flanked by two women
Covid-19 requires, the presidential speech on Capitol Hill took place in a singular atmosphere. Only some 200 people, compared to more than 1,600 usually, gathered in the prestigious chamber of the House of Representatives to attend.
For the first time in history, two women had taken their places behind the president, in the field of the cameras: Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House, and Kamala Harris, who in January became the first woman to become vice-president. . “It was time !”, launched the American president, under heavy applause, just before starting his speech.
A $ 1 trillion plan to create “millions of jobs”
Posing as an advocate for the middle class, Joe Biden touted a massive investment plan to create “millions of jobs” for Americans who feel left out.
“I know some of you are wondering if these jobs are for you. You feel abandoned and forgotten in a rapidly changing economy.”, said Joe Biden, in a thinly veiled allusion to his predecessor Donald Trump who posed as the champion of “forgotten”. “Almost 90% of jobs in infrastructure (foreseen in its plan presented last month) do not require university degrees”, he insisted.
The plan, which is already angering Republicans, is ambitious: $ 1 trillion in investments, especially in education, and $ 800 billion in tax cuts for the middle class.
A tax increase assumed for the “richest 1% of Americans”
To finance his plan, the Democrat proposes to cancel the tax cuts for the richest voted under Donald Trump, and to increase taxes on capital income for the wealthiest 0.3% of Americans.
It’s time for corporate America and the richest 1% of Americans to start paying their fair share
With a promise hammered out in all tones: no American earning less than $ 400,000 a year will see their taxes increase. It remains to be seen whether this economic voluntarism will pass the test of Congress. If the $ 1.9 trillion plan to support the economy has cleared the obstacle without any real difficulty, discussions on its gigantic investment programs in infrastructure and education promise to be much more heated.
Vaccination campaign touted as “one of the greatest successes” in country’s history
From the podium, the Democratic President estimated that the vaccination plan put in place in the United States against Covid-19 was “one of the greatest logistical successes” of the country’s history.
More than 96 million people, or nearly 30% of the population, are considered fully vaccinated. And, in a decision loaded with symbols, health officials announced Tuesday that Americans who received the life-saving bites no longer needed to wear masks outdoors, except in the midst of a crowd.
A call for “courage” to reform the police
Returning to another hot topic of society, the president called on the Senate to adopt in May a vast project of police reform, on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, killed by a white policeman.
The Democratic President appealed to the “courage of Congress” to vote definitively on this text, which has already been adopted in the House of Representatives and provides in particular to fight against the wide judicial immunity enjoyed by agents. “I know Republicans have their own ideas”, he added, “we must work together to find a consensus”.
A desire to “defend American interests” against Beijing
On the diplomatic front, Joe Biden hammered home his firmness vis-à-vis Beijing and Moscow, while saying he was ready for dialogue. Assuring not “look for the conflict with China”, he insisted that he was “ready to defend American interests in all fields”.
“In my discussions with President Xi (Jinping), I told him that we were in favor of the competition” but that “we will fight against unfair business practices”. We “will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific region” and “we will not give up defending human rights”, he hammered again.