tv President Biden Addresses Joint Session of Congress CSPAN April 28, 2021 9:03pm-10:26pm EDT
and distinct honor to present to you the president of the united states. [applause] pres. biden: thank you, thank you, think you. -- thank you. it is good to be almost home, down the hall. anyway, thank you all, madame speaker, madam vice president. [applause] no president has ever said those words from this podium.
no president ever said those words and it is about time. [applause] first lady, i am her husband. [applause] second gentleman, chief justice. [applause] members of the united states congress and cabinet of distinct guests, my fellow americans. while the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is just a little bit different. a reminder of the extraordinary times we are in. throughout our history, presidents have come to this chamber to speak to congress, to the nation, and to the world.
to declare war, to celebrate peace, to announce new plans and possibilities. tonight, i come to talk about crisis and opportunity. about rebuilding the nation, revitalizing our democracy and winning the future for americans. i stand here tonight one day shy of the hundredth day of my administration. in 100 days since i took the old -- 100 days since i took the oaths of office, inherited our nation. the worst pandemic in a century, the worst economic crisis in a decade. -- since the great depression. -- now after 100 days i can report to the nation, america is on the move again.
[applause] -- crisis to opportunity. setbacks. we all know life can knock us down, but in america, we never, ever, ever stay down. americas always get up. today that is what we are doing. america is rising, choosing hope over fear, truth overlies in light over darkness. after 100 days of rescue and renewal, america is ready for a take off, in my view. we are working again. discovering again and leading the world again. we have shown each other and the world that there is no quitting in america, none.
100 days ago, america's house was on fire. had to act. and thank the -- i think the extraordinary leadership of speaker pelosi, geordie leader schumer, and the democrats. together we passed the american rescue plan, one of the most consequential rescue packages in american history. we are already seeing results. [applause] we are already seeing the results. after i promised 200 million covid-19 shots in the first 100 days, we will have provided -- over 220 million covid shots and those hundred days. thanks to the help of all of you.
with your help, everyone's help, we are marshaling every euro resource. we have gotten vaccine to nearly 40,000 -- every single resource. we have gotten actsing to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and -- where the poor can be reached. we are setting up mobile vaccination site, developing units to reach hard-to-reach communities. today, 90% of americans now live within five miles of the vaccination site. everyone over the age of 16, everyone is now eligible to get vaccinated right now, right away. go get vaccinated, america. go and get the vaccination, they are available. you are eligible now. [applause]
when i was sworn in on january 20, less than 1% of seniors in america were fully vaccinated against covid-19. 100 days later, 70% of seniors over 65 are protected. senior deaths from covid-19 are down 80% since january. down 80% because of all of you. and more than half of all the adults in america have gotten at least one shot. a mass vaccination center in glendale, arizona. i asked a nurse, i said what is it like. she said, it is like every shot is giving a dose of hope. that was her phrase, a dose of hope. a dose of hope for educators in florida who has a child suffering from auto immune disease wrote to me that she was
worried about bringing the virus home. she then got vaccinated at a large site in her car. she sat in her car and she got vaccinated and just cried. cried out of joy and relief. parents seeing the smiles on their kids bases for those who are able to go back to school because teachers, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers have been vaccinated. grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren instead of pressing hands against the window to say goodbye. it means everything. those things mean everything. you all know it better than any group of americans. there is still more work to do to beat this virus. we can't let our guard down. tonight, i can say because of you, the american people, our
progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements this country has ever seen. what else? have we done those first 100 days? kept our commitment, democrats and republicans, of sending $1400 rescue checks to 80% of americans. we already sent more than hundred 60 million checks out of the door, which is making a difference. you all know when you go home. for many people it is making all the difference in the world. the single mom in texas who wrote me, she said she couldn't work, but she had the really check edit put food on her table and saved her and her son from eviction from their apartment. a grandmother in virginia who told me she immediately took her
granddaughter to the eye doctor, something she said she put off for months because she did not have the money. from my -- one of the defining images at least from my perspective is cars lined up for miles, and not people who just barely can afford those cars, nice cars, waiting for food to be put in their trunk. i didn't think i would ever see that america. all of this is true -- through no fault of their own, these people are in this position. that is why the rescue plan is delivering food and nutrition assistance to millions of americans facing hunger. hunger is down sharply already. we are also providing rental
assistance, you all know this, but the american people, i want to make sure they understand. keeping people from being evicted from their homes, providing loans for small businesses to reopen and keep their employees on the job. during these 100 days additional 800 -- 800,000 americans enrolled in the american -- affordable care act. we are making one of the largest investments ever in improving health care for americans. critical investments to address the crisis and maybe most importantly, thanks to the american rescue plan, we are on track to cut child poverty in america in half. [applause]
and in the process, while this is going on, the economy created more than 1,300,000 new jobs and 100 days, more jobs -- [applause] more jobs in the first hundred days than any president on record. [applause] the international monetary fund says our economy will grow to raise more than 6% this year. that will be the fastest pace of economic growth in this country in four decades. america is moving, moving forward, but we can't stop now. we are in competition with china and other countries to win the
21st century. we are at a great inflection point in history. we have to do more than just build back better, we have -- then build back, we have to build back better. we have to compete more strenuously than we have. drought our history, if you think about it, public investment -- about our history, if you think about it, public investment in infrastructure has transformed america. the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highways, united two oceans and brought a new age of progress to the united states of america. universal public schools and college aid opened wide the doors of opportunity. scientific growth took us to the moon and now we are on mars, discovering vaccines, gave us the internet and so much more. these are investments we made together as one country. investments that only the government was in a position to make.
time and again they propel us into the future. that is why i proposed the american jobs plan. -- the largest jobs plan since world war ii. jobs, roads, bridges, highways, railcars, transit lines. it is clean water. and today up to 10 million homes in america, more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers -- including drinking water. a clear and present danger to our children's health. the american jobs plan creates jobs replacing 100% of the
nations lead pipes and service lines so every american can drink clean water. [applause] and it will create thousands of good paying jobs. creating jobs connecting every american with high-speed internet, this is going to help our kids and businesses succeed in the 21st century economy. i am asking the vice president to lead this effort if she would because i know it will get done. great jobs building a modern power grid. our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, catastrophic failures, tragic results. as we saw in texas and elsewhere
in the winter storms, the american jobs plan to create jobs that late thousands of transmission line needed to build a resilient and fully clean grid. we can do that. [applause] the american jobs plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs and careers. too many women have dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic. and too often because they could not get the care they needed to care for their child or an elderly parent who needs help. 800,000 families are on the medicare waiting list right now for their aging parent, or loved one with disabilities.
if you think it is not important, check out -- democrat and republican voters. their greatest concern as much as the children is taking care of an elderly loved one who can't be left alone. medicaid is complicated but this plan will create jobs for caregivers and give them better benefits. continue the cycle of growth. for too long we failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis, jobs. jobs, jobs. [applause] for me, i think -- when i think
climate change i think jobs. the american jobs plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy efficient buildings and homes. electrical workers, workers installing charging stations along our highways so -- [applause] -- so we can own the electric car market. farmers planting crops so they can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it. think about it. there is no reason why that can't be built in pittsburgh instead of beijing. no reason. [applause] so folks, there is no reason why
americans -- american workers can't lead the world in the production of american vehicles and batteries. there is no reason. the american jobs plan is going to create billions of good paying jobs, jobs americans can raise a family on. as my dad would say, -- all the investments in the american jobs plan will be guided by one principal. buy american. [applause] that does not violate any trade agreements. it has been the law since the 30's, buy american. american tax dollars are going to be used to buy american products made in america and
create american jobs. that is what it is supposed to be and would be in this administration. [applause] i have made it clear to all my cabinet people their ability to give exemptions has been strenuously limited. it will be american products. i know some of you at home are wondering whether these jobs are for you. so many of the folks i grew up with feel left behind or forgotten. our economy is so rapidly changing it is frightening. i want to speak directly to you. because if you think about it, that is what people are most worried about. can i fit in? independent experts estimate the american jobs plan will add nguyen's of jobs and trillions of dollars to economic growth --
millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to economic growth. these are good paying jobs that can't be outsourced, 90% of the structure jobs created in the american jobs plan to not require a college degree. 75% don't require an associates degree. the american jobs plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build america. that is what it is. [applause] and it represents something i have always said, in this chamber and the other. good guys and women on -- there are good guys and women on wall street, wall street did not build this country, the middle built this country and unions built the middle class. [applause] in his falling on congress to
organize, and send it to my desk so we can have the right to unionize. and by the way, while you are thinking about sending things to my desk, let's raise the minimum wage to $15. no one -- [applause] no one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line. we need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women. and while we are doing this, let's get the paychecks -- paycheck gap salt as well, equal pay has been too long. and if you're wondering -- look behind me. finally, the american jobs plan will be the biggest increase in nondefense research and development on record. you will see more technological
change, and some of you know more about this than i do, we will see more technological change in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50. that is how rapidly artificial intelligence and so much more is changing. we are falling behind the competition with the rest of the world. decades ago, we invested 2% of our gross domestic product in america to research and development. today, it's less than 1%. china and other countries are closing in fast. we have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future. advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, clean energy.
those of you who work with nasa no, the defense department has an agency -- defense advanced research project agency, the people set up long before i came here, a long time ago, to develop read through's that enhance our national security. that is their only job and it is a semi-separate agency from the defense department. it led to everything from the discovery of the internet to gps and so much more. it has enhanced our security. the national institute of health, the nih i believe should create an advanced research project agency for health. [applause] that's what we are going to do.
we have a purpose to develop breakthroughs, to prevent, protect, and treat diseases like alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer. i will never forget when we passed the cancer proposal in the last year i was vice president. almost $9 million going to nih, and if you will forgive my personal -- the name of my deceased son. it meant a lot. but so many of us have deceased sons, daughters, relatives who died of cancer. i could think of no more worthy investments, i know of nothing that is more bipartisan. so let's end cancer as we know it. it is within our power to do it.
[applause] investments in jobs and infrastructure like the ones we are talking about have often had high partisan support in the past. as president harris and i met regularly in the oval office with democrats and republicans discuss the jobs plan and i report -- applaud the group of republican senators who put forth their own proposal. let's get to work. i want to lay out before congress my plan before we got into deep discussions. i like to meet those who have ideas that are different that they think are better. i welcome those ideas. but the rest of the world is not waiting for us. i want to be clear. from my perspective, doing nothing is not an option. [applause]
look, we can't be so busy competing with one another that we forget the competition we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century. secretary lincoln would tell you i spent a lot of time with president xi jinping, spent over 24 hours in private discussion with him. when he called to congratulate me we had a two hour discussion. he is deadly earnest. about becoming the most significant and consequential nation in the world. he and others, autocrats, think that democracy can't compete in the 21st century with autocracies. it takes too long to get
consensus. to win that competition of the future, in my view, we also need to make a once in a generation investment in our families and our children. that is why i have introduced the american families plan tonight. which addresses four of the biggest challenges facing the american -- american families. first is a good education. when this nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best educated, best prepared nation in the world. it is, i believe, the reason that has propelled us to where we are in the 21st century. but the world has caught up or is catching up. they are not waiting. i will say parenthetically, if we were sitting down, we are
going to decide what we do in terms of government providing for education. i wonder whether we would think as we did in the 20th century that 12 years is enough in between first century. i doubt it. 12 years is no longer enough today. to compete with the rest of the world and that when he first century. that is why my american families plan guarantees for additional years of public education starting as early as we can. great universities in this country are conducting studies of the last 10 years and it shows that adding two years of universal, high-quality preschool for every three and four-year-old matter what background they come from puts them in a position to be able to compete all the way through 12 years. it increases exponentially their
prospects of graduating and going on beyond graduation. research shows when a young child goes to school, not daycare, they are far more likely to graduate from high school. and go to college. or something after high school. when you add two years of free community college on top of that, you begin to change the dynamic. [applause] we can do that. we will increase pell grants and invest in historically black colleges and universities, minority institutions. the reason is they don't have the endowments, but the students are just as capable of learning about cybersecurity, just as capable of learning about metallurgy, all of the things going on to provide jobs in the future. jill was a community college professor who teaches today as
first lady. [applause] if i have heard it once, i have heard it a thousand times. joe, any country that out educates us is going to outcompete us. she will be deeply involved, thank you, jill. the second thing we need, the american families plan will provide access to quality affordable childcare. [applause]
by proposing this legislation, you guarantee that low and middle income families will pay more than -- no more than 7% of their income for high quality care or children up to the age of five. the most hard-pressed working families won't have to spend a dime. third, the american families plan to finally provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave and medical leave, family and medical leave. we are one of the few countries in the world -- [applause] no one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck or taking care of themselves and their loved ones, a parent, spouse, a child. and fourth, the american family plan puts directly in the pockets of millions of americans. in march we expanded tax credits for every child in the family, up to $3000 per child if they
are under six years of age -- excuse me, over six years of age. and 3006 hundred dollars for children over six years of age. with two parents, two children, that is seven -- a lot to help take care of your families. that will help more than 65 million children and help cut child poverty in half. we can afford it. [applause] we did that in the last piece of legislation we passed. but what if we expend extend that childcare tax credit at least to the end of 2025. [gavel] -- [applause] the american rescue plan lowers health care premiums for 9 million americans who by their coverage under the affordable care act. i know that is really popular
this side of the aisle. but, let us make that provision permanent so there premiums don't go up. [applause] when you listen to my families plan, i'm going to work with congress to address this year other critical priorities for american families. the affordable care act has been a lifeline for millions of americans, ejecting people with pre-existing can still -- conditions -- project -- protecting people with pre-existing conditions, women's health. let's lower costs for working families, let's lower prescription drug costs. [applause] we know how to do this. we all know how outrageously
expensive drugs are in america. in fact, we pay the highest drug prices of anywhere in the world right here in america. nearly three times for the same drug, nearly three times what other countries pay. we can change that and we can. let's do what we talked about for all the years i was down here in this body and congress. let's give medicare the power to save hundreds of billions by negotiating lower prices. [applause] and by the way, lower prescription drug costs for everyone and the money we save, billions of dollars, can go to expanding the affordable care act and expand medicare without
costing taxpayers an additional penny. it is within our power, let's do it now. [applause] we have talked about it long enough. this is all by a simple premise. health care should be a right and not a privilege in america. [applause] so, how do we pay for my american families plan dust jobs and family plans? i made it clear that we could do it without increasing the deficit. let's start with what i -- i will not impose any tax increase on anyone making less than 400,000 dollars, but it's time for corporate america and the wealthiest 1% to begin to pay their fair share. just their fair share.
[applause] sometimes i have arguments with my friends in the democratic party. i think you should be able to become a billionaire or millionaire. but pay your fair share. recent studies show that 55 of the nation's biggest corporations pay zero federal tax -- paid zero federal tax last year. those 55 corporations made in excess of $40 billion in profit. a lot of companies. also reviewed tax in switzerland, the cayman islands. and they benefit from tax loopholes for having offshore jobs and shifting profits overseas. it is not right. we are going to reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair
share and help pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit from as well. [applause] we are going to reward work, not just wealth. we take the top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1% of americans, those making over $400,000 or more, back to what it was when george w bush was president, 30 9.6%. that's when it was when he was president. we are going to get rid of the loopholes that allow americans to make more than a million dollars a year and pay a lower tax rate on capital gains than americans who receive a paycheck. we are only going to affect 3/10 of 1% -- white 3% -- .3% of americans.
it will crackdown on america -- millionaires and billionaires who cheat on their taxes. -- i am not looking to punish anybody. but i will not add a tax burden, an additional tax burden to the middle class in this country. they are already paying enough. [applause] i believe what i propose is fair. fiscally responsible, and it will create millions of jobs that will grow the economy and enhance our financial standing in the country. when you hear someone say they don't want to raise tax on our wealthiest 1% for corporate america, ask them, -- look, the big tax cut of 2017.
remember, it was supposed to pay for itself, that was how it was sold. and generate vast economic growth. instead, it added 2 -- $2 trillion to the deficit. it was a huge windfall for corporate america and those of the very top. instead of raising wages and investing in research and development, it poured billions of dollars into the pockets of ceos. the pay gap between ceos and their workers is now among the largest in history. according to one study, ceos make 320 times what the average worker in their corporation makes. it used to be below 100. the pandemic is only made things worse. when he million americans lost their job in the pandemic working in middle-class americans. -- working and middle-class americans. at the same time, roughly 650
billionaires in america saw their net worth increased by more than $1 trillion, the same exact. -- exact period. they are now worth more than $4 trillion. my fellow americans, trickle down economics has never worked and it is time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out. [applause] you know, it is the broad consensus of economists left right and center, they agree that what i'm proposing will create millions of jobs and economic growth. these are among the highest values we can make as a nation. i've often said that our
greatest strength is the power of our example, not just the example of our power. i have made it known that america is back. do you know what they say? comments i hear most of all from them? they say we see america is back, but for how long? my fellow americans, we have to show not just that we are back, but we are back to stay. [applause] and that we are not going to go alone. we are going to do it by meeting with our allies. no one nation can solve the crises of our times, nuclear liberation, mass migration, cybersecurity, climate change, as well as what we are experiencing now with the
pandemic. there is no wall high enough to keep antivirus out. and our own vaccine supply as it grows to meet our needs, and we are meeting them, will become an arsenal for vaccines -- we will become an arsenal of vaccines for other countries just as america is an arsenal for the world. [applause] every american will have access, every american will have access to be fully covered by covid-19 from the vaccines we have. look, the climate crisis, it is not our fight alone, it is a global fight. the united states accounts for as all of you know, less than 50% of carbon emissions. the rest of the world accounts for the rest. that is why i kept my agreement
to join -- rejoin the paris accord because if we do everything perfectly, it will not matter. i kept my commitment to convene a climate summit in america of all the major economies in the world, china, russia, india, european union. i started doing it in my first 100 days. i want to be blunt about it. my attempt was to make sure that the world could see there was a consensus, that we are at an inflection point in history, and the consensus is if we act to save the planet, we can create aliens of jobs, economic growth and opportunity, and raise the standard of living for most everyone around the world. i'm sure they didn't have time, that is what virtually every nation said even those who are
not doing their fair share. -- we also advanced foreign policy and the benefits of the middle class. that means making sure every nation plays by the same rules of the global economy including china. my discussions with president xi jinping, i told them we welcome the competition, we are not looking for conflict, but i made absolutely clear that we will defend america's interests across the board. america will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut american workers in industries like subsidies from state to state owned operations and enterprises. i also print -- told the president of china we will maintain a strong military presence in the end of pacific justice we do in nato and europe, not to start a conflict but to provide one.
-- endo pacific just as we do in nato and europe not to start a conflict but to prevent one. [applause] i said to world leaders that america will not back away from our commitments to human rights and fundamental freedom -- freedoms and our alliances. i pointed out to them, no responsible american president could remain silent when basic human rights are being so be -- blatantly violated. american president -- an american president has to represent the essence of what our country stands for. america is an idea. the most unique idea in history. we are created, all of us, equal. it is who we are. and we can't walk away from that principle. we are dealing with the american idea. with regard to russia, i know it
concern some of you but i made very clear to putin that we are not going to seek -- excuse me, escalation. but there actions will have consequences if it turns out to be true and they turned out to be true so i responded directly and proportionally to russia's interference in our elections and cyber attacks on our government and businesses. they did both of these things and i told them we will respond and we have. but we can also cooperate when it is in our mutual interest. we did it when we extended a new treaty in nuclear arms and we are working to do it on climate change but he understands we will respond. on iran and north korea, nuclear programs that present security threats to america and the world, we are going to work closely with our allies to
address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence. american leadership means ending the forever war in afghanistan. [applause] we have, without hyperbole, the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. i am the first president in four years who knows what it means to have a son serving in the war zone. today we have servicemembers serving in the same or zone as their parents did. we have servicemembers in afghanistan who are not yet born -- who were not yet born on 9/11. war in afghanistan were never meant to be multigenerational -- we wanted to get terrorists who
attacked on 9/11 and we said we would follow some of them to the gates of hell to do it. and we delivered justice to bin laden. we degraded the terrorist threat of al qaeda and afghanistan, and after 20 years of valor and sacrifice it is time to bring those troops home. [applause] even as we maintain the right to capacity to suppress threats to the homeland, make no mistake that meant -- terrorism has metastasized. it's way beyond afghanistan. those of you in committees, foreign affairs, defense, we
have to address threats to the united states wherever they come from. al qaeda and isis, syria, somalia, other places in africa and the middle east, we won't ignore what our agents have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat today. white supremacy is terrorism. you're not going to ignore that either. we're going to come together to heal the soul of this nation. it was nearly a year ago before my father's funeral when i spoke with jonah -- her father's funeral when i spoke with jonah floyd, george floyd's daughter, -- gianna floyd, george floyd's daughter. she looked at me and said my daddy changed the world. after the conviction of george floyd's murderer we can see how right she was if we have the
courage to act as a congress. we have all seen the knee of justice on the neck of black americans. -- of injustice on the neck of black americans. now is the opportunity to make real progress. the vast majority of those w earing the badge serve our communities honorably. [applause] i know them. [applause] i know they want to help meet this moment as well. my fellow americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. to root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system and enact police reform in george floyd's name that has passed the
house already. i know republicans have their own ideas and are engaged in productive discussions with democrats in the senates. we need to work together to find a consensus but let us get it done next month by the first anniversary of george floyd staff. -- george floyd's death. [applause] the country supports this reform and congress should act. we have a giant opportunity to bend the mark of the moral universe toward justice, real justice. and with the plans outlined tonight we have a real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues america, american lives in other ways. the chance to deliver real equity, good jobs, good schools, affordable housing, clean air, clean water, able to generate wealth and pass it down to generations because you have access to purchase a house.
real opportunities in the lives of black, white, asian americans, native americans. i also want to thank the united states senate for voting 94-one to pass the covid-19 hate crimes act to protect asian americans and pacific islanders. we acted decisively. [applause] you can see on television the viciousness of the hate crimes over the past year, and for too long. others in the house can do the same and send that legislation to my desk which i will gladly, anxiously sign. also congress can get to my desk the equality act to protect lgbtq americans. for all transgender americans watching at home, especially
young people, you want to know your president has your back. another thing, let's authorize the violence against women act which has been law for 27 years. 27 years ago i wrote it. it will close the boyfriend loophole to keep guns out of the hands of abusers, the court order said this is an abuser, you can own a gun. to close that loophole that has existed. it is estimated that 50 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner every month in america. 50 a month. let's pass it and save some lives. [applause]
i need not tell anyone this, but gun violence has become an epidemic in america. the flag at the white house was still flying at half-mast for the eight victims of the mass shooting in georgia, when 10 more lives were taken at a mass shooting in colorado. and in the week in between those two events, 250 other americans were shot dead in the streets of america. 250. shot dead. i know how hard it is to make progress on this issue. in the 1990's we passed universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and magazines that can be fired off in seconds. we beat the nra. mass shootings declined over 10 years. but in the 2000's the law expired, and we have seen daily
bloodshed sense. i am not saying if the law continued we would not see bloodshed. more than two weeks ago in the rose garden, surrounded by some of the bravest people i know, you survivors and families who lost loved ones to gun violence, i laid out several of the department of justice actions that are being taken to impact this epidemic. one of them is banning so-called ghost gun's. these are homemade guns built from a kit that includes directions on how to finish the firearm. the parts have no serial numbers, so they show up at crime scenes and they cannot be traced. the buyers of these ghost gun kits are not required to pass any background check. anyone, whether criminal or terrorist, could buy this kit and within 30 minute have a weapon that is lethal. but no more. i will do everything in my power
to protect the american people from this epidemic of gun violence, but it is time for congress to act as well. [applause] i don't want to become confrontational, but we need more senate republicans to join the overwhelming majority of democrats and colleagues and close the loopholes in brack on checks for guns. we need a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. don't tell me it cannot be done. we did it before and it worked. talk to most responsible gun owners and hunters. they will tell you there is no possible justification for having 100 rounds in a weapon. you think they are wearing kevlar vests? they will tell you that there are too many people a day who
are able to buy a gun who should not be able to buy a gun. these kinds of reasonable reforms have overwhelming support from the american people, including many gun owners. the country supports reform, and congress should act. this should not be a red and blue issue. and no amendment to the constitution is absolute. you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater. from the very beginning there are certain guns, weapons that could not be owned by americans. certain people could not own those weapons ever. we are not changing the constitution. we are being reasonable. i think this is not a democrat or republican issue. i think this is an american issue. and here's what else we can do. immigration has always been essential to america. let's end our exhausting war with immigration. for more than 30 years,
politicians have talked about immigration reform and we have done nothing about it. it's time to fix it. on day one of my presidency, i kept my commitments on a comprehensive immigration bill to the u.s. congress. if you believe we need to secure the border, pass it, because it has a lot of money for high-tech border security. if you believe in a pathway to citizenship, over 11 million undocumented folks, the vast majority are overstating visas, pass it. if you actually want to solve a problem, i have sent a bill to take a close look at it. we also have to get at the root problem of why people are fleeing, particularly to our southern border. the violence, the corruption, the gangs, the political instability, hunger, natural disasters. when i was president, -- when i was vice president, the
president asked me -- it helped people -- it helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave. the plan was working but the last administration decided it was not worth it. i'm restoring the program, and i asked vice president harris to lead us on this. i'm absolutely confident she will get the job done. [applause] if you don't like my plan, let's at least pass what we all agree on. congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for dreamers. [applause] people who have only known america as their home. and permanent protection for immigrants who are here on temporary protected status and came from countries beset by
man-made and natural disasters. as well as a pathway for citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our table. [applause] look, immigrants have done so much for america during this pandemic, and throughout our history. the country supports immigration reform. we should act. let's argue over it, let's debate it, but let's act. and if we truly want to restore the soul of america we need to protect the sacred right to vote. most people -- [applause] more people voted in the last presidential election than any time in american history. in the middle of the worst pandemic ever. it should be celebrated. instead, it is being attacked. congress should pass hr-1
and the john lewis voting act and put it on my desk right away. the country supports it, and congress should act, now! [applause] in conclusion, as we gather here tonight, the image of a violent mob assaulted this capital, desecrating our democracy, remain vivid in all of our minds. lives were put at risk, many of your lives. lives were lost. extraordinary courage was summoned. the insurrection was an existential crisis, a test on whether our democracy could survive. and it did. but the struggle is far from over. the question of whether our democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent. as long as our republic. still vital today. can our democracy deliver on its promise to all of us?
have a chance to lead lives of dignity, respect and possibility? can our democracy deliver on the most pressing needs of our people? can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate and fears that pull us apart? america's adversaries, the autocrats of the world, are betting week can't -- we can't. i am promising you, they are betting we can't. they look at the images of the mob that assaulted the capitol as proof that the sun is setting on american democracy. but they are wrong. you know it. i know it. but we have to prove them wrong. we have to prove that our government still works and we can deliver for people. in our first 100 days together we have acted to restore people's faith in democracy to deliver. we vaccinated a nation. we're creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. we are delivering real results to people. they can see it and feel it in
their own lives. opening doors of opportunity. guaranteeing more fairness and justice. that is the essence of america. that is democracy in action. our constitution opens with the words, "we the people." it's time to remember that we the people are the government. you and i. not some force in a distant capital. not some powerful force that we have no control over. it's us. it's we the people. in another era when our democracy was tested, franklin roosevelt reminded us, in america, we all do our part. that's all i'm asking. that we do our part, all of us. because if we do that, we will meet the center challenge of the age i proving that democracy is durable and strong. autocrats will notw in t -- not win the future. we will, america will.
the future belongs to america. as i stand here tonight and a new and vital hour of democracy in our nation, i can say with absolute confidence, i have never been more confident or optimistic about america. not because i am president, but because of what is happening with the american people. we've stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy, pandemic and pain, and we the people did not flinch. the very moment our adversaries were certain we would pull apart and fail, we came together and we united. we've summoned a new strength, new resolve, to position us to win the competition of the 21st century. on our way to a union more perfect, more prosperous, and more just. as one people, one nation, and one america. folks, as i've told every world
leader i've ever met with over the years, it is never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against america, and it still isn't. we're the united states of america. there's not a single thing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity. we can do whatever we set our minds to if we do it together. so let's begin to get together. god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. thank you for your patience. [cheers and applause] thank you. thank you.
gentleman from maryland seek recognition? [indiscernible] announcer: the president covered several topics, including the economy, the coronavirus, infrastructure, bipartisanship, race in america, along with gun violence, foreign policy, terrorism, policing, democracy and unity, and he also talked about his american family splint, a $1.8 trillion proposal, which includes universal prekindergarten and free community college. and in fact, the president will travel to atlanta tomorrow, where he will hold a drive-in rally to promote this american families plan. on friday he will be in
philadelphia to talk about his infrastructure proposal. vice president harris will also be out on the road. tomorrow she is in baltimore, friday in cincinnati, to talk about the infrastructure and family benefits proposals. and second gentleman doug emhoff also travels to raleigh, north carolina friday. all told, the four primary members of the administration are expected to travel to about a dozen states by the end of next week. coming up in just a minute is senator tim scott with the gop response to the president's address. first, what did you find out about the speech? >> it was a lot of rare moments, a lot of first two nights. -- firsts tonights. this shot over the shoulder, this is a rare angle, one you do not get to see a lot. you can see for the first time
two women on the dais sitting behind the president. look how few members of congress are in the room. carl from the new york times, longtime reporter noting joe biden sat through 36 of these as a senator and eight as vp. now he is finally getting one himself in very different surroundings from all the others he attended. president biden spoke for about 64, 65 minutes. there were four breaks for applause before he started his speech and he was interrupted by applause 57 times. the associated press noted, biden's prepared text was 1000 words longer than trump's first address to a joint session, 150 words longer than obama's first, 1700 words longer than bush's first, and 1000 shorter than clinton's first. and cnn notes, one of the questions would be how biden
would approach speaking to a man -- to a mostly empty chamber. crisp about conversational. it is not the kind of oratory we typically see. it is a more intimate fireside chat style. that was retweeted by white house chief of staff ron klain. >> if you are interested in hearing from members of congress and their reaction to president biden's speech you can go overdue c-span 2. we're going to be hearing from members of congress in just a few minutes as they make their way over there. and in just a fee minutes as it is the republican response. tim scott, republican from south carolina, will be delivering that. a little more about the center, he was appointed to the senate in 2012 by then-governor nikki haley to replace jim dement who went over to the heritage foundation. he was reelected in 2016 and he
is up for reelection in 2022. he's the top republican on the aging committee and he also serves on the banking, finance, health education labor and pensions committee, as well as the small business committee. got anything else? >> this is from paul cain who has also been covering capitol hill. he noted this about the chamber tonight. he said it is so quiet that we have heard a senator's phone ring and a sneeze. lawmakers were approaching the president, pitching ideas, wanting to exchange cards with him. also shared this with you. she noted the president took a point of personal privilege. he revered off his