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The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Biden gives State of the Union address

Adam Schultz via Wikimedia Commons
President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress on March 7, 2024. His address focused on the Russia-Ukraine War, the Jan. 6 insurrection, reproductive health and other topics.

From Roe v. Wade to Ukraine, from Jan. 6, 2021, to inflation, President Joseph Biden addressed every U.S. citizen on March 7 during his annual State of the Union address. This speech is especially important as this is a presidential election year, and the State of the Union address is used to highlight the strengths of the incumbent and the president’s plans if reelected.

President Biden opened his speech by drawing similarities between the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his own, specifically regarding how “freedom and democracy are under attack” by Russian President Vladimir Putin who “is on the march” and is “sowing chaos throughout Europe and beyond”.

March 7 marked two years and nine days since Russia started its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

President Biden then transitioned into how he supports federal funding of Ukraine to halt Russia’s illegal invasion. He called out members of Congress blocking funding to Ukraine who want to “walk away from our world leadership,” stating that “Ukraine can stop Putin if we stand with Ukraine and provide the weapons that it needs to defend itself.”

Biden then emphasized, though he never mentioned Donald Trump by name, that his “predecessor” is also weak against Russian expansion, quoting remarks by Trump at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, where Trump said that Russia could “do whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries that devote inadequate funds to their national defense.

Biden then contrasted Trump’s stance on NATO with this own, citing that he believes “we’ve made NATO stronger than ever” through the addition of Finland and Sweden into NATO.

According to the official NATO website, Sweden was inducted into NATO on the day of the address. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was present in the Capitol for the speech and was personally greeted by the President.

To end this section of his address, Biden addressed Putin directly, saying “we will not walk away. We will not bow down. I will not bow down.”

The focus of Biden’s speech then changed to Jan. 6, 2021, “when insurrectionists stormed this very Capitol and placed a dagger to the throat of American democracy.” Biden called this event the “gravest threat to U.S. democracy since the Civil War” and asked the House to “join together and defend democracy. Remember your oath of office to defend against all threats, foreign and domestic.”

While many court cases for Jan. 6 have been decided, according to the Associated Press, many more cases are still open and some people have even fled the authorities.

Biden then switched gears to talk about “another assault on freedom,” namely the recent ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court that caused IVF treatments to halt in that state.

According to Reuters, on Feb. 16, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that an IVF facility could be sued for the wrongful death of a minor after a frozen embryo was destroyed. However, according to The Hill, most IVF treatments have already resumed after a bill that protects clients and IVF facilities from legal action was passed.

Biden expressed his condolences to families affected by similar legislation, especially those affected by Roe v. Wade. The president voiced his support to protect those who are victims of rape or have pregnancies that endanger their health.

After promising to restore reproductive rights if he is reelected, Biden promoted his economic policies.

He cited the fall of inflation from nine percent to three percent, as well as the passage of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science (CHIPS) Act, among his proudest achievements. Biden said this act is “creating tens of thousands of jobs,” and that the production of U.S. goods and exports has increased as a result.

The president appealed to farmers and the middle and working classes by advocating for greater control for individual citizens, whether through family-owned farms or labor unions, and expressed discontent with policies supporting large corporations. He said he envisions “a future where the days of trickle-down economics are over and the wealthy and the biggest corporations no longer get all the tax breaks.”

Throughout this section of the address, Biden walked a fine line between America’s wealthy minority and the rest of its citizens. “Showing once again Wall Street didn’t build America. They’re not bad guys. They didn’t build it, though.” He stated earlier in the speech that he is “not anti-corporation.”

The president particularly focused on the pharmaceutical industry and its exorbitant prices for various medications.

“We finally beat big Pharma,” Biden said. Regarding insulin prices, he said, “Instead of paying $400 a month or thereabouts for insulin with diabetes — and it only costs 10 bucks to make — they only get paid $35 a month now and still make a healthy profit.”

This was done through the Insulin Affordability and the Inflation Reduction Act which, according to the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, caps insulin prices at $35 for citizens enrolled in Medicare Part D.

Biden also announced his plan to expand this effort by capping total costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 for every senior through Medicare and even eventually planning “to cap prescription drug costs at $2,000 a year for everyone,” along with a plan to enact a permanent $800 tax credit to reduce healthcare costs every year.

The first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research was announced by President Biden and will be led by his wife Jill Biden. Biden hopes the initiative will use “$12 billion to transform women’s health research and benefit millions of lives all across America.”

Biden then took a moment to talk about the economy and the housing market, stating that he plans to give a tax credit to home buyers and is eliminating fees on federally backed mortgages.


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Hunter Metzloff
Hunter Metzloff, Features Editor

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