The President stated his plans to carry out actions discussed in the March 1 speech.
By Emily Faith Grodin, Staff Writer
President Joe Biden held his first State of the Union address before U.S. Congress on March 1. The commander-in-chief's hour-long speech covered some of the nation’s biggest topics such as the economy, his infrastructure plan and an end to the pandemic.
Though he also addressed domestic issues, the conflict in Ukraine was at the top of his list. Biden made numerous statements that appealed to both sides of the chamber that resulted in large applause from most in attendance. He pushed a bipartisan agenda in which both parties could unify to tackle specific problems.
COVID-19 has dictated the lives of Americans for nearly two years. However, in the speech Biden said, “we’re moving forward safely, back to more normal routines,” referencing low infection rates and the lifting of mandates across the country. The president used federal workers as an example to businesses, encouraging them to return to their offices. Biden’s new “Test-to Treat” program was made effective on March 7, meaning that if individuals test positive for the virus at a participating pharmacy, they can immediately receive the antiviral pills used to effectively treat COVID-19 at no cost.
The president spent most of his time speaking on plans to stimulate domestic manufacturing. To do so, he plans to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the nation. He also wants to replace severely outdated lead pipes and increase broadband access throughout the country. But Biden’s big push is to remain vigilant in making products in the U.S., as opposed to foreign countries. Working towards this goal, an investment from Intel will go towards building a new semiconductor “mega site” in Columbus, Ohio. This site will include up to eight warehouses for manufacturing and create an estimated ten thousand jobs according to Forbes. In addition, projects by Ford and GM will work to put a combined $18 billion into making electric vehicles, creating nearly 15,000 jobs in the U.S.
Biden also touched on his healthcare agenda, an important part of the Build Back Better Act. One thing he aims to do is encourage Medicare to negotiate lower costs for prescription drugs. A major promise from the president is to cap the price of insulin, a drug that millions of Americans need to treat diabetes, at $35 a month. In order to achieve this, the president would need to push legislation that would stop companies from overcharging for the medication. Another option is to encourage companies that manufacture insulin to sell the drug at wholesale cost, something a Maverick nonprofit called Civica Rx is already working towards.
At the end of the speech Biden pushed his Unity Agenda, which as he put it are, “four big things we can do together” regardless of party lines. This includes fighting the opioid epidemic, passing a mental health package, rallying support for veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and initiating the Cancer Moonshot Program, which aims at reducing the death rate from cancer and the sharing of research.