The President

President Joe Biden delivers the 2023 State of the Union address

The president's annual address focused on bipartisanship while touting the administration's economic accomplishments.

President Joe Biden delivers the 2023 State of the Union address
Patrick Semansky / AP
SMS

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 President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress with Republicans in the majority in the House.

But despite the jeering, several of the president's proposals were met with approval from both sides of the aisle. President 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 President 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," the president 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 President 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.

Soon after, as President 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 the president said kills 70,000 annually. Republicans say fentanyl coming across the border from Mexico is driving the numbers.

"America's border problems won't be fixed until Congress acts," President 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."

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed
Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act.

LEARN MORE

Inflation not coming down 'fast enough'

He departed 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," the president 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."

While President 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, President Biden called on lawmakers to cap 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," he said. "Let’s finish the job this time."

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

Reforming the tax system

President Biden said the U.S. tax system is unfair 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.

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

'What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often'

President Biden welcomed Tyre Nichols' mother RowVaughn and stepfather Rodney Wells to his address while calling on Congress to implement additional reforms to policing. 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.

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," President Biden said.

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

After State of the Union, Tyre Nichols' family pushes for accountability
After State of the Union, Tyre Nichols' family pushes for accountability

After State of the Union, Tyre Nichols' family pushes for accountability

Just after attending the State of the Union address, Tyre Nichols' parents talked to Scripps News about their experience and hopes for the future.

LEARN MORE

Republicans listened intently

Before heading into the House chambers, newly elected Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, told Scripps News he hopes President 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 poll released this week indicated nearly 2 out of 3 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 the president'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. President 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."

GOP on State of the Union: 'Biden and the Democrats have failed you'
GOP on State of the Union: 'Biden and the Democrats have failed you'

GOP on State of the Union: 'Biden and the Democrats have failed you'

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders told her audience that Biden and the Democratic Party "failed you. You know it, and they know it."

LEARN MORE