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Read: President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address

President Joe Biden just delivered his third State of the Union Address.

Read his remarks below, as prepared for delivery, via The White House:

Mr. Speaker. Madam Vice President. Our First Lady and Second Gentleman.

Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Leaders of our military.

Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and retired Justices of the Supreme Court.

And you, my fellow Americans.

I start tonight by congratulating the members of the 118th Congress and the new Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working together.

I also want to congratulate the new leader of the House Democrats and the first Black House Minority Leader in history, Hakeem Jeffries.

Congratulations to the longest-serving Senate Leader in history, Mitch McConnell.

And congratulations to Chuck Schumer for another term as Senate Majority Leader, this time with an even bigger majority.

And I want to give special recognition to someone who I think will be considered the greatest Speaker in the history of this country, Nancy Pelosi.

The story of America is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never giving up.

A story that is unique among all nations.

We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it.

That is what we are doing again.

Two years ago, our economy was reeling.

As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.

Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much.

Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.

And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War.

Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.

As we gather here tonight, we are writing the next chapter in the great American story, a story of progress and resilience. When world leaders ask me to define America, I define our country in one word: Possibilities.

You know, we’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together.

But over these past two years, we proved the cynics and the naysayers wrong.

Yes, we disagreed plenty. And yes, there were times when Democrats had to go it alone.

But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together.

Came together to defend a stronger and safer Europe.

Came together to pass a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law, building bridges to connect our nation and people.

Came together to pass one of the most significant laws ever, helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

In fact, I signed over 300 bipartisan laws since becoming President. From reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, to the Electoral Count Reform Act, to the Respect for Marriage Act that protects the right to marry the person you love.

To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress.

The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere.

And that’s always been my vision for our country.

To restore the soul of the nation.

To rebuild the backbone of America, the middle class.

To unite the country.

We’ve been sent here to finish the job.

For decades, the middle class was hollowed out.

Too many good-paying manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Factories at home closed down.

Once-thriving cities and towns became shadows of what they used to be.

And along the way, something else was lost.

Pride. That sense of self-worth.

I ran for President to fundamentally change things, to make sure the economy works for everyone so we can all feel pride in what we do.

To build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. Because when the middle class does well, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well.

As my Dad used to say, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey –it’s going to be OK,” and mean it.

So, let’s look at the results. Unemployment rate at 3.4%, a 50-year low. Near record low unemployment for Black and Hispanic workers.

We’ve already created 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, the fastest growth in 40 years.

Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again?

For too many decades, we imported products and exported jobs.

Now, thanks to all we’ve done, we’re exporting American products and creating American jobs.

Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies.

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 a gallon since their peak.

Food inflation is coming down.

Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take home pay has gone up.

Additionally, over the last two years, a record 10 million Americans applied to start a new small business.

Every time somebody starts a small business, it’s an act of hope.

And the Vice President will continue her work to ensure more small businesses can access capital and the historic laws we enacted.

Standing here last year, I shared with you a story of American genius and possibility.

Semiconductors, the small computer chips the size of your fingertip that power everything from cellphones to automobiles, and so much more. These chips were invented right here in America.

America used to make nearly 40% of the world’s chips.

But in the last few decades, we lost our edge and we’re down to producing only 10%. We all saw what happened during the pandemic when chip factories overseas shut down.

Today’s automobiles need up to 3,000 chips each, but American automakers couldn’t make enough cars because there weren’t enough chips.

Car prices went up. So did everything from refrigerators to cellphones.

We can never let that happen again.

That’s why we came together to pass the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act.

We’re making sure the supply chain for America begins in America.

We’ve already created 800,000 manufacturing jobs even without this law.

With this new law, we will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the country.

That’s going to come from companies that have announced more than $300 billion in investments in American manufacturing in the last two years.

Outside of Columbus, Ohio, Intel is building semiconductor factories on a thousand acres – a literal field of dreams.

That’ll create 10,000 jobs. 7,000 construction jobs. 3,000 jobs once the factories are finished.

Jobs paying $130,000 a year, and many don’t require a college degree.

Jobs where people don’t have to leave home in search of opportunity.

And it’s just getting started.

Think about the new homes, new small businesses, and so much more that will come to life.

Talk to mayors and Governors, Democrats and Republicans, and they’ll tell you what this means to their communities.

We’re seeing these fields of dreams transform the heartland.

But to maintain the strongest economy in the world, we also need the best infrastructure in the world.

We used to be #1 in the world in infrastructure, then we fell to #13th.

Now we’re coming back because we came together to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.

Already, we’ve funded over 20,000 projects, including at major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Portland.

These projects will put hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, bridges, railroads, tunnels, ports and airports, clean water, and high-speed internet across America.

Urban. Suburban. Rural. Tribal.

And we’re just getting started. I sincerely thank my Republican friends who voted for the law.

And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry.

I promised to be the president for all Americans.

We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.

This law will help further unite all of America.

Major projects like the Brent Spence bridge between Kentucky and Ohio over the Ohio River. Built 60 years ago. Badly in need of repairs.

One of the nation’s most congested freight routes carrying $2 billion worth of freight every day. Folks have been talking about fixing it for decades, but we’re finally going to get it done.

I went there last month with Democrats and Republicans from both states to deliver $1.6 billion for this project.

While I was there, I met an ironworker named Sara, who is here tonight.

For 30 years, she’s been a proud member of Ironworkers Local 44, known as the “cowboys of the sky” who built the Cincinnati skyline.

Sara said she can’t wait to be ten stories above the Ohio River building that new bridge. That’s pride.

That’s what we’re also building – Pride.

We’re also replacing poisonous lead pipes that go into 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers, so every child in America can drink clean water.

We’re making sure that every community has access to affordable, high-speed internet.

No parent should have to drive to a McDonald’s parking lot so their kid can do their homework online.

And when we do these projects, we’re going to Buy American.

Buy American has been the law of the land since 1933. But for too long, past administrations have found ways to get around it.

Not anymore.

Tonight, I’m also announcing new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.

American-made lumber, glass, drywall, fiber optic cables.

And on my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products.

My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.

Maybe that’s you, watching at home.

You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away.

I get it.

That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind.

Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.

For example, too many of you lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling, wondering what will happen if your spouse gets cancer, your child gets sick, or if something happens to you.

Will you have the money to pay your medical bills? Will you have to sell the house?

I get it. With the Inflation Reduction Act that I signed into law, we’re taking on powerful interests to bring your health care costs down so you can sleep better at night.

You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on Earth.

For example, one in ten Americans has diabetes.

Every day, millions need insulin to control their diabetes so they can stay alive. Insulin has been around for 100 years. It costs drug companies just $10 a vial to make.

But, Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars – and making record profits.

Not anymore.

We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare.

But 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.

Let’s finish the job this time.

Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every American who needs it.

This law also caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at a maximum $2,000 per year when there are in fact many drugs, like expensive cancer drugs, that can cost up to $10,000, $12,000, and $14,000 a year.

If drug prices rise faster than inflation, drug companies will have to pay Medicare back the difference.

And we’re finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Bringing down prescription drug costs doesn’t just save seniors money.

It will cut the federal deficit, saving tax payers hundreds of billions of dollars on the prescription drugs the government buys for Medicare.

Why wouldn’t we want to do that?

Now, some members here are threatening to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.

Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it.

I’m pleased to say that more Americans have health insurance now than ever in history.

A record 16 million people are enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks to the law I signed last year, millions are saving $800 a year on their premiums.

But the way that law was written, that benefit expires after 2025.

Let’s finish the job, make those savings permanent, and expand coverage to those left off Medicaid.

Look, the Inflation Reduction Act is also the most significant investment ever to tackle the climate crisis.

Lowering utility bills, creating American jobs, and leading the world to a clean energy future.

I’ve visited the devastating aftermaths of record floods and droughts, storms and wildfires.

In addition to emergency recovery from Puerto Rico to Florida to Idaho, we are rebuilding for the long term.

New electric grids able to weather the next major storm.

Roads and water systems to withstand the next big flood.

Clean energy to cut pollution and create jobs in communities too often left behind.

We’re building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations installed across the country by tens of thousands of IBEW workers.

And helping families save more than $1,000 a year with tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances.

Historic conservation efforts to be responsible stewards of our lands.

Let’s face reality.

The climate crisis doesn’t care if your state is red or blue. It is an existential threat.

We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to confront it. I’m proud of how America is at last stepping up to the challenge.

But there’s so much more to do.

We will finish the job.

And we pay for these investments in our future by finally making the wealthiest and the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share.

I’m a capitalist. But just pay your fair share.

And I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair.

The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal income taxes?

That’s simply not fair.

But now, because of the law I signed, billion-dollar companies have to pay a minimum of 15%.

Just 15%.

That’s less than a nurse pays. Let me be clear.

Under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in taxes.

Nobody. Not one penny.

But there’s more to do.

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

Because no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.

You may have noticed that Big Oil just reported record profits.

Last year, they made $200 billion in the midst of a global energy crisis.

It’s outrageous.

They invested too little of that profit to increase domestic production and keep gas prices down.

Instead, they used those record profits to buy back their own stock, rewarding their CEOs and shareholders.

Corporations ought to do the right thing.

That’s why I propose that we quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks to encourage long term investments instead.

They will still make a considerable profit.

Let’s finish the job and close the loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes.

Instead of cutting the number of audits of wealthy tax payers, I signed a law that will reduce the deficit by $114 billion by cracking down on wealthy tax cheats.

That’s being fiscally responsible.

In the last two years, my administration cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion – the largest deficit reduction in American history.

Under the previous administration, America’s deficit went up four years in a row.

Because of those record deficits, no president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.

Nearly 25% of the entire national debt, a debt that took 200 years to accumulate, was added by that administration alone.

How did Congress respond to all that debt?

They lifted the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or crisis.

They paid America’s bills to prevent economic disaster for our country.

Tonight, I’m asking this Congress to follow suit.

Let us commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned.

Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what their plans are.

Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.

That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away.

Other 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.

I won’t let that happen.

Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors.

Americans have been paying into them with every single paycheck since they started working.

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.

Those benefits belong to the American people. They earned them.

If anyone tries to cut Social Security, I will stop them. And if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them.

I will not allow them to be taken away.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

Next month when I offer my fiscal plan, I ask my Republican friends to offer their plan.

We can sit down together and discuss both plans together.

My plan will lower the deficit by $2 trillion.

I won’t cut a single Social Security or Medicare benefit.

In fact, I will extend the Medicare Trust Fund by at least two decades.

I will not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000 a year. And I will pay for the ideas I’ve talked about tonight by making the wealthy and big corporations begin to pay their fair share.

Look, here’s the deal. Big corporations aren’t just taking advantage of the tax code. They’re taking advantage of you, the American consumer.

Here’s my message to all of you out there: I have your back. We’re already preventing insurance companies from sending surprise medical bills, stopping 1 million surprise bills a month.

We’re protecting seniors’ lives and life savings by cracking down on nursing homes that commit fraud, endanger patient safety, or prescribe drugs they don’t need.

Millions of Americans can now save thousands of dollars because they can finally get hearing aids over-the-counter without a prescription.

Capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It is exploitation.

Last year I cracked down on foreign shipping companies that were making you pay higher prices for everyday goods coming into our country.

I signed a bipartisan bill that cut shipping costs by 90%, helping American farmers, businesses, and consumers.

Let’s finish the job.

Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage.

My administration is also taking on “junk” fees, those hidden surcharges too many businesses use to make you pay more.

For example, we’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

We’ve reduced exorbitant bank overdraft fees, saving consumers more than $1 billion a year.

We’re cutting credit card late fees by 75%, from $30 to $8.

Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip.

I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.

Not anymore.

We’ve written a bill to stop all that. It’s called the Junk Fee Prevention Act.

We’ll ban surprise “resort fees” that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.

We’ll make cable internet and cellphone companies stop charging you up to $200 or more when you decide to switch to another provider.

We’ll cap service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront.

And we’ll prohibit airlines from charging up to $50 roundtrip for families just to sit together.

Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.

Americans are tired of being played for suckers.

Pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act so companies stop ripping us off.

For too long, workers have been getting stiffed.

Not anymore.

We’re beginning to restore the dignity of work.

For example, 30 million workers had to sign non-compete agreements when they took a job. So a cashier at a burger place can’t cross the street to take the same job at another burger place to make a couple bucks more.

Not anymore.

We’re banning those agreements so companies have to compete for workers and pay them what they’re worth.

I’m so sick and tired of companies breaking the law by preventing workers from organizing.

Pass the PRO Act because workers have a right to form a union. And let’s guarantee all workers a living wage.

Let’s also make sure working parents can afford to raise a family with sick days, paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care that will enable millions more people to go to work.

Let’s also restore the full Child Tax Credit, which gave tens of millions of parents some breathing room and cut child poverty in half, to the lowest level in history.

And by the way, when we do all of these things, we increase productivity. We increase economic growth.

Let’s also finish the job and get more families access to affordable and quality housing.

Let’s get seniors who want to stay in their homes the care they need to do so. And give a little more breathing room to millions of family caregivers looking after their loved ones.

Pass my plan so we get seniors and people with disabilities the home care services they need and support the workers who are doing God’s work.

These plans are fully paid for and we can afford to do them.

Restoring the dignity of work also means making education an affordable ticket to the middle class.

When we made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world.

But the world has caught up.

Jill, who teaches full-time, has an expression: “Any nation that out-educates us will out-compete us.”

Folks, you all know 12 years is not enough to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.

If you want America to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Studies show that children who go to pre-school are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree, no matter their background.

Let’s give public school teachers a raise.

And we’re making progress by reducing student debt and increasing Pell Grants for working- and middle-class families.

Let’s finish the job, connect students to career opportunities starting in high school and provide two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree.

Let’s offer every American the path to a good career whether they go to college or not.

And folks, in the midst of the COVID crisis when schools were closed, let’s also recognize how far we’ve come in the fight against the pandemic itself.

While the virus is not gone, thanks to the resilience of the American people, we have broken COVID’s grip on us.

COVID deaths are down nearly 90%.

We’ve saved millions of lives and opened our country back up.

And soon we’ll end the public health emergency.

But we will remember the toll and pain that will never go away for so many. More than 1 million Americans have lost their lives to COVID.

Families grieving. Children orphaned. Empty chairs at the dining room table.

We remember them, and we remain vigilant.

We still need to monitor dozens of variants and support new vaccines and treatments.

So Congress needs to fund these efforts and keep America safe.

And as we emerge from this crisis stronger, I’m also doubling down on prosecuting criminals who stole relief money meant to keep workers and small businesses afloat during the pandemic.

Before I came to office many inspector generals who protect taxpayer dollars were sidelined. Fraud was rampant.

Last year, I told you the watchdogs are back. Since then, we’ve recovered billions of taxpayer dollars.

Now, let’s triple our anti-fraud strike forces going after these criminals, double the statute of limitations on these crimes, and crack down on identity fraud by criminal syndicates stealing billions of dollars from the American people.

For every dollar we put into fighting fraud, taxpayers get back at least ten times as much.

COVID left other scars, like the spike in violent crime in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

We have an obligation to make sure all our people are safe.

Public safety depends on public trust. But too often that trust is violated.

Joining us tonight are the parents of Tyre Nichols, who had to bury him just last week. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child.

But imagine what it’s like to lose a child at the hands of the law.

Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car.

I’ve never had to have the talk with my children – Beau, Hunter, and Ashley – that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.

If a police officer pulls you over, turn on your interior lights. Don’t reach for your license. Keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Imagine having to worry like that every day in America.

Here’s what Tyre’s mom shared with me when I asked her how she finds the courage to carry on and speak out.

With faith in God, she said her son “was a beautiful soul and something good will come from this.”

Imagine how much courage and character that takes.

It’s up to us. It’s up to all of us.

We all want the same thing.

Neighborhoods free of violence.

Law enforcement who earn the community’s trust.

Our children to come home safely.

Equal protection under the law; that’s the covenant we have with each other in America.

And we know police officers put their lives on the line every day, and we ask them to do too much.

To be counselors, social workers, psychologists; responding to drug overdoses, mental health crises, and more.

We ask too much of them.

I know most cops are good. decent people. They risk their lives every time they put on that shield.

But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often.

We have to do better.

Give law enforcement the training they need, hold them to higher standards, and help them succeed in keeping everyone safe.

We also need more first responders and other professionals to address growing mental health and substance abuse challenges.

More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime; more community intervention programs; more investments in housing, education, and job training.

All this can help prevent violence in the first place.

And when police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.

With the support of families of victims, civil rights groups, and law enforcement, I signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other key elements of the George Floyd Act.

Let’s commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre’s mother come true, something good must come from this.

All of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment.

We can’t turn away.

Let’s do what we know in our hearts we need to do.

Let’s come together and finish the job on police reform.

Do something.

That was the same plea of parents who lost their children in Uvalde: Do something on gun violence.

Thank God we did, passing the most sweeping gun safety law in three decades.

That includes things that the majority of responsible gun owners support, like enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds and red flag laws keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others.

But we know our work is not done.

Joining us tonight is Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old hero.

Brandon put off his college dreams to stay by his mom’s side as she was dying from cancer. He now works at a dance studio started by his grandparents.

Two weeks ago, during Lunar New Year celebrations, he heard the studio’s front door close and saw a man pointing a gun at him.

He thought he was going to die, but then he thought about the people inside.

In that instant, he found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic pistol away from a gunman who had already killed 11 people at another dance studio.

He saved lives. It’s time we do the same as well.

Ban assault weapons once and for all.

We did it before. I led the fight to ban them in 1994.

In the 10 years the ban was law, mass shootings went down. After Republicans let it expire, mass shootings tripled.

Let’s finish the job and ban assault weapons again.

And let’s also come together on immigration and make it a bipartisan issue like it was before.

We now have a record number of personnel working to secure the border, arresting 8,000 human smugglers and seizing over 23,000 pounds of fentanyl in just the last several months.

Since we launched our new border plan last month, unlawful migration from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela has come down 97%.

But America’s border problems won’t be fixed until Congress acts.

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.

Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms.

Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose.

The Vice President and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy. But already, more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans.

Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it.

Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.

Our strength is not just the example of our power, but the power of our example. Let’s remember the world is watching.

I spoke from this chamber one year ago, just days after Vladimir Putin unleashed his brutal war against Ukraine.

A murderous assault, evoking images of the death and destruction Europe suffered in World War II.

Putin’s invasion has been a test for the ages. A test for America. A test for the world.

Would we stand for the most basic of principles?

Would we stand for sovereignty?

Would we stand for the right of people to live free from tyranny?

Would we stand for the defense of democracy?

For such a defense matters to us because it keeps the peace and prevents open season for would-be aggressors to threaten our security and prosperity. One year later, we know the answer.

Yes, we would.

And yes, we did.

Together, we did what America always does at our best.

We led.

We united NATO and built a global coalition.

We stood against Putin’s aggression.

We stood with the Ukrainian people.

Tonight, we are once again joined by Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States. She represents not just her nation, but the courage of her people.

Ambassador, America is united in our support for your country. We will stand with you as long as it takes.

Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, and more peace,
not just in Europe, but everywhere.

Before I came to office, the story was about how the People’s Republic of China was increasing its power and America was falling in the world.

Not anymore.

I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict.

I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that China’s government is intent on dominating.

Investing in our alliances and working with our allies to protect our advanced technologies so they’re not used against us.

Modernizing our military to safeguard stability and deter aggression.

Today, we’re in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world.

I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world.

But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.

And let’s be clear: winning the competition with China should unite all of us. We face serious challenges across the world.

But in the past two years, democracies have become stronger, not weaker.

Autocracies have grown weaker, not stronger.

America is rallying the world again to meet those challenges, from climate and global health, to food insecurity, to terrorism and territorial aggression.

Allies are stepping up, spending more and doing more.

And bridges are forming between partners in the Pacific and those in the Atlantic. And those who bet against America are learning just how wrong they are.

It’s never a good bet to bet against America.

When I came to office, most everyone assumed bipartisanship was impossible. But I never believed it.

That’s why a year ago, I offered a Unity Agenda for the nation.

We’ve made real progress.

Together, we passed a law making it easier for doctors to prescribe effective treatments for opioid addiction.

Passed a gun safety law making historic investments in mental health.

Launched ARPA-H to drive breakthroughs in the fight against cancer,
Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and so much more.

We passed the Heath Robinson PACT Act, named for the late Iraq war veteran whose story about exposure to toxic burn pits I shared here last year.

But there is so much more to do. And we can do it together.

Joining us tonight is a father named Doug from Newton, New Hampshire.

He wrote Jill and me a letter about his daughter Courtney. Contagious laugh. Her sister’s best friend.

He shared a story all too familiar to millions of Americans.

Courtney discovered pills in high school. It spiraled into addiction and eventually her death from a fentanyl overdose.

She was 20 years old.

Describing the last eight years without her, Doug said, “There is no worse pain.”

Yet their family has turned pain into purpose, working to end stigma and change laws.

He told us he wants to “start the journey towards America’s recovery.”

Doug, we’re with you.

Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year.

Let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.

Working with couriers like Fed Ex to inspect more packages for drugs. Strong penalties to crack down on fentanyl trafficking.

Second, let’s do more on mental health, especially for our children. When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school.

We must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.

And it’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us.

Third, let’s do more to keep our nation’s one truly sacred obligation: to equip those we send into harm’s way and care for them and their families when they come home.

Job training and job placement for veterans and their spouses as they return to civilian life.

Helping veterans afford their rent because no one should be homeless in this country, especially not those who served it.

And we cannot go on losing 17 veterans a day to the silent scourge of suicide.

The VA is doing everything it can, including expanding mental health screenings and a proven program that recruits veterans to help other veterans understand what they’re going through and get the help they need.

And fourth, last year Jill and I re-ignited the Cancer Moonshot that President Obama asked me to lead in our Administration.

Our goal is to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years. Turn more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases. And provide more support for patients and families.

It’s personal for so many of us.

Joining us are Maurice and Kandice, an Irishman and a daughter of immigrants from Panama.

They met and fell in love in New York City and got married in the same chapel as Jill and I did.

Kindred spirits.

He wrote us a letter about their little daughter Ava.

She was just a year old when she was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer.

26 blood transfusions. 11 rounds of radiation. 8 rounds of chemo. 1 kidney removed.

A 5% survival rate.

He wrote how in the darkest moments he thought, “if she goes, I can’t stay.”

Jill and I understand, like so many of you.

They read how Jill described our family’s cancer journey and how we tried to steal moments of joy where you can.

For them, that glimmer of joy was a half-smile from their baby girl. It meant everything.

They never gave up hope.

Ava never gave up hope. She turns four next month.

They just found out that Ava beat the odds and is on her way to being cancer free, and she’s watching from the White House tonight.

For the lives we can save and for the lives we have lost, let this be a truly American moment that rallies the country and the world together and proves that we can do big things.

Twenty years ago, under the leadership of President Bush and countless advocates and champions, we undertook a bipartisan effort through PEPFAR to transform the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It’s been a huge success.

I believe we can do the same with cancer.

Let’s end cancer as we know it and cure some cancers once and for all.

There’s one reason why we’re able to do all of these things: our democracy itself.

It’s the most fundamental thing of all.

With democracy, everything is possible. Without it, nothing is.

For the last few years our democracy has been threatened, attacked, and put at risk.

Put to the test here, in this very room, on January 6th.

And then, just a few months ago, unhinged by the Big Lie, an assailant unleashed political violence in the home of the then-Speaker of this House of Representatives. Using the very same language that insurrectionists who stalked these halls chanted on January 6th.

Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get.

My friend, Paul Pelosi.

But such a heinous act never should have happened.

We must all speak out. There is no place for political violence in America. In America, we must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right. We honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people. We must uphold the rule of the law and restore trust in our institutions of democracy.

And we must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor.

Democracy must not be a partisan issue. It must be an American issue.

Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called on to protect our democracy, to defend it, to stand up for it.

And this is our moment.

My fellow Americans, we meet tonight at an inflection point. One of those moments that only a few generations ever face, where the decisions we make now will decide the course of this nation and of the world for decades to come.

We are not bystanders to history. We are not powerless before the forces that confront us. It is within our power, of We the People. We are facing the test of our time and the time for choosing is at hand.

We must be the nation we have always been at our best. Optimistic. Hopeful. Forward-looking.

A nation that embraces, light over darkness, hope over fear, unity over division. Stability over chaos.

We must see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans. We are a good people, the only nation in the world built on an idea.

That all of us, every one of us, is created equal in the image of God. A nation that stands as a beacon to the world. A nation in a new age of possibilities.

So I have come here to fulfill my constitutional duty to report on the state of the union. And here is my report.

Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong.

As I stand here tonight, I have never been more optimistic about the future of America. We just have to remember who we are.

We are the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing
beyond our capacity if we do it together.

May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

Watch: Donald Trump Jr. suggests President Joe Biden stole his father's ideas in State of the Union speech

Donald Trump Junior accused President Joe Biden of stealing his father's ideas in Tuesday night's State of the Union speech during a Wednesday morning rant.

Junior published his grievances to his Rumble channel shortly following former President Donald Trump's livid response to Biden's address, which played after Junior finished speaking.

"Joe Biden's insane, dreamworld State of the Union last night, where he got up and literally seemed to run on like a Trump/Make America Great Again for the working-class platform, except we all see the results," he began. "It's all a big lie, right? He talked about how he's reducing insulin prices. My father did that. Joe Biden came in and canceled it. Now he puts it back in and takes credit for it, just like he's taking credit for 'job creation' by allowing people displaced from the pandemic to go back to work, alright? That's not a real statistic. Allowing people to go back to work is not job creation, right?"

READ MORE: Watch: Donald Trump Jr. explodes at Time Magazine over article chronicling the fitness industry's racist past

Junior fired off a list of complaints that are, at best, half-true. Inflation, for example, is decreasing, as are fuel costs.

"The economy isn't booming. Look at what these policies are. They're not populist policies. They gave us skyrocketing inflation. They gave us skyrocketing gas prices. They canceled oil pipelines. They canceled those jobs. They are putting us to the brink of war. They threw our grocery bills through the roof. Inflation is insane and so are our interest rates and as our markets reset, you're gonna see even more of that," he said.

"It's all one big lie. But it's easy to lie when you have the mainstream media and big tech as your mouthpiece pretending you can do no wrong," Junior added. "It's insane."

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Family values and flipping cars: Kevin McCarthy interviews Donald Trump Jr.

Republican demands to cut Social Security and Medicare are 'extensively documented': report

“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans — some Republicans — want Medicare and Social Security to sunset," President Joe Biden said during his 2023 State of the Union address.

Biden's remarks sparked knee-jerk reactions from GOP lawmakers seated in the United States House chamber, such as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who stood up in objection and shouted "liar" at Biden while he was speaking.

Elsewhere, conservative pundits and commentators accused Biden of not telling the truth.

READ MORE: Conservative mocks Sarah Sanders’ 'deep plunge into dystopian culture wars' to rebut Biden’s 'raucous' SOTU

"Right-wing media responded aggressively to the speech, with figures like The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro and Newsmax's Sean Spicer calling Biden's comments 'demagogic lies' and a 'total flop of a moment,' respectively. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich labeled Biden’s comment an 'attempt to attack the Republicans on Medicare and Social Security' that was 'totally dishonest,'" Media Matters for America noted on Thursday.

Media Matters then demonstrated why these allegations are completely meritless.

"Multiple GOP politicians — some of whom said Biden’s claim was a lie — have been on the record pushing legislation that would cut entitlement programs or have stated their opposition to the programs in their entirety," including Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, Media Matters pointed out.

The outlet provided a bakers' dozen instances of Republicans unambiguously demanding the dismantling of the federal social safety nets. These examples, Media Matters wrote, were "extensively documented" and "serve to fact-check anyone who says otherwise."

READ MORE: Watch: Donald Trump Jr. suggests President Joe Biden stole his father's ideas in State of the Union speech

Meanwhile, the White House also published a lengthy press release identifying numerous occasions upon which Republicans championed slashing taxpayers' benefits.

"President Biden has taken action to strengthen Medicare and protect Social Security – bedrock programs that Americans have paid into and that tens of millions of seniors depend on to support their livelihoods. Congressional Republicans, however, have a different record," the Thursday statement said.

"For years, Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to cut Medicare and Social Security, move toward privatizing one or both programs, and raise the Social Security retirement age and Medicare eligibility age," it continued. "And just last week, House Republicans introduced legislation to repeal President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which would give tens of billions of dollars in subsidies back to Big Pharma, raise seniors’ prescription drug prices, and raise taxes on an estimated 14.5 million people – all while increasing the deficit."

READ MORE: 'Insulting': Right-wingers torch Sarah Huckabee Sanders' State of the Union response

Media Matters' full report is available at this link.

How Biden is 'echoing' FDR’s 'critique of capitalism': journalist

Democratic President Joe Biden, now 80, has long considered himself a centrist, taking pride in his ability to make bipartisan deals with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, President Ronald Reagan and other conservative Republicans during his decades in the U.S. Senate. Biden has always supported elements of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, but there were times, over the years, when he frustrated the liberal/progressive wing of his party.

During his 2023 State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, February 7, Biden railed against far-right MAGA Republicans who would like to abolish Social Security (a New Deal program) and Medicare (a Great Society program). Biden was careful, however, to emphasize that he wasn’t talking about all Republicans or all conservatives.

In a think piece published by The Nation on February 14, journalist John Nichols lays out some of the ways in which Biden has been sounding very FDR-ish lately.

READ MORE: Watch: Joe Biden blasts GOP 'Plan to Save America' as a scheme to kill Social Security and Medicare

Nichols points out that Biden "most emphatically" rejects being called a "socialist" and identifies as a "capitalist." But in an FDR-like fashion, Nichols observes, Biden is making some of the points that FDR made in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

"Biden has begun to deliver a critique of capitalism that, while hardly radical, recognizes many of the complaints made by the system’s critics," Nichols observes. "That was clear in the 2023 State of the Union address, which saw the president spell out concerns about the excesses of capitalism in the sort of detail rarely heard from an American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt occupied the Oval Office."

According to Nichols, Biden sounded a lot like FDR when he warned, "Look, capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It’s extortion. It’s exploitation."

FDR was most definitely a liberal, but he was not anti-capitalist. Rather, he viewed his New Deal as an effort to save capitalism, which is also how liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) views her economic agenda. Warren has described herself as "a capitalist to my bones," arguing that Wall Street’s excesses are harming a system she supports. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in contrast, actually identifies as a "democratic socialist," although he firmly rejects outright communism and looks to Sweden and Norway — not Cuba or North Korea — as economic role models.

READ MORE: The GOP repeatedly said it wants to gut Social Security and Medicare before calling Biden a 'liar' — here’s proof

Nichols writes, "Most socialists would argue that capitalism, even in its most benign form, is fundamentally about exploitation. But Biden’s line of reasoning echoes that of FDR, who used his bully pulpit to identify his presidency as a reckoning with the forces of reckless banking, speculation, and monopoly — going so far as (to) declare in a 1936 campaign address, ‘They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.'"

READ MORE: How Republicans are using the federal courts to 'assault' Social Security and Medicare: report

Read John Nichols’ full article for The Nation at this link.

Watch: MSNBC host says Democrats 'have to do better' to combat Republican messaging

Former press secretary to United States Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), ex-chief spokesperson and senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris, and MSNBC host Symone Sanders stressed on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press that Democrats need to up their messaging game to break American voters defaulting to nonexistent Republican solutions to major issues.

Sanders also condemned the "tasteless" interruptions that President Joe Biden faced from GOP lawmakers during his 2023 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

"The Republicans in the chamber, and I know, you know Garrett [Haake] was in there. He, I, I watched him on TV afterwards. The booing the heck, it just, it, it was tasteless and it allowed the president to, uh, engage with the hecklers, but come away not looking small, which is often hard to do," Sanders said.

READ MORE: 'I am angry': Lauren Boebert rages at Twitter for censoring her 'freaking joke'

"But I also think this exchange on Social Security and Medicare was quite important because after that you had the president, the vice president, the entire cabinet going out this week and reiterating and reinforcing what the president said on that stage. Look in polling, Republicans often get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the economy, when it comes to taxes, even though there has not been substantial pieces of legislation in, you know, in our recent history to support that and, but because they say it so much, people believe that it's true," Sanders continued. "Democrats I think have to do better about saying the thing over and over and over."

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Watch: Donald Trump Jr. suggests President Joe Biden stole his father's ideas in State of the Union speech

Conservative mocks Sarah Sanders’ 'deep plunge into dystopian culture wars' to rebut Biden’s 'raucous' SOTU

On Tuesday night, February 7, President Joe Biden was fired up when he gave his 2023 State of the Union address. Biden, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy standing behind him, vigorously defended his economic record. The president took some shots at far-right MAGA extremists yet called for bipartisanship and made it clear that he wasn’t attacking all Republicans.

Biden’s SOTU was followed by a rebuttal from Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump. Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter compares Biden’s speech and Sanders’ rebuttal in an article published by The Bulwark on February 8, and she has nothing good to say about the rebuttal.

Biden’s speech, Carpenter explains, “boiled down to this: economy, economy, economy,” and “was a little raucous.”

READ MORE: Read: President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address

“That’s not to say Biden didn’t stumble a little in his delivery,” Carpenter observes. “He did, as he typically fumbles somewhat over his remarks — a fact often attributed to his longtime stutter. But Biden — who, at 80, is older than any previous president — parried with the hecklers in the chamber during his hour-plus speech in what, at times, felt like an impromptu, interactive performance. He almost seemed to enjoy it, too…. Theatrics aside, Biden accomplished his biggest task: showing everyone he’s still got it.”

The conservative pundit adds, “He did it mainly by touting his record — ‘Unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, a fifty-year low’ — and exhorting Congress to help him ‘finish the job.’”

Carpenter goes on to say that while Biden focused heavily on “the economy and concrete issues,” Sanders’ rebuttal was a “deep plunge into dystopian culture wars.”

“These annual canned rebuttals usually come off as tone-deaf,” Carpenter argues, “but with Sanders, there was an additional, unexpected contrast with Biden. She spoke for a dreary 15 minutes — all scripted according to teleprompter, with no audience. Biden spoke for more than an hour, with a teleprompter in front of plenty of hostile Republicans. Biden, 80 years young, rolled with it, tackling every tough subject on his agenda, inviting Republicans to join him at every turn. Sanders, 40 years old, droned on, her entire speech devoted to demonizing Biden.”

READ MORE: Lauren Boebert slams Marjorie Taylor Greene for bringing a white balloon to Biden’s SOTU address

Read Amanda Carpenter’s full Bulwark article at this link.

Economist Krugman: How Sarah Sanders’ 'diatribe against wokeness' ignored 'regular Americans'

President Joe Biden has yet to say whether or not he plans to seek reelection in 2024. But during his 2023 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, February 7, Biden focused heavily on his economic record, bragging that unemployment in the United States is lower than it has been in more than half a century and calling out Republicans who want to "sunset" Social Security and Medicare.

Biden’s speech was followed by a GOP rebuttal from Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was the Trump Administration’s second of four White House press secretaries (Sanders came after Sean Spicer and before Stephanie Grisham). While the economy dominated Biden’s speech, Sanders’ rebuttal was clearly aimed at MAGA culture warriors. And liberal economist Paul Krugman, in his February 9 column for the New York Times, argues that the dramatic contrast between Democrat Biden’s speech and Republican Sanders’ response speaks volumes about the priorities of the United States’ two main political parties.

"President Biden was evidently feeling feisty on Tuesday," Krugman writes. "In particular, he kept baiting Republicans with the suggestion that a number of them are threatening Medicare and Social Security — which they are. Delivering the Republican response, Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that the United States is divided between two parties, one of which is mainly focused on bread-and-butter issues that matter to regular people, while the other is obsessed with waging culture war. This is also true. But she got her parties mixed up — Republicans, not Democrats, are the culture warriors who’ve lost touch with ordinary Americans' concerns."

READ MORE: 'Salute their flags': Sarah Huckabee Sanders appears to attack LGBTQ Americans and BLM in SOTU response

Sanders’ speech, according to Krugman, was quite "revealing" — and not in a way that made the Republican Party look good.

"Sanders’ speech was a diatribe against wokeness," the New York Times columnist observes. “This is standard GOP fare these days and exactly what you’d expect in, say, an address at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But this wasn’t a CPAC speech; it was meant to address the nation as a whole and rebut the president of the United States…. Focus groups suggest that most people don’t know what 'wokeness' means, or why they should fear it.”

Krugman continues, "But wait, it gets worse. Sanders seemed to say — although her syntax was a bit garbled — that woke policy was responsible for 'high gas prices' and 'empty grocery shelves.' So, first of all, how does that work? How did critical race theory cause a global spike in crude oil prices, which raised prices at the pump all around the world? How did it snarl supply chains and cause a worldwide shortage of shipping containers?"

Comparing Biden and Sanders’ February 7 speeches, Krugman stresses, one saw a contrast between a Democratic president who got into concrete specifics on the U.S. economy and a Republican who didn’t.

READ MORE: Conservative mocks Sarah Sanders’ 'deep plunge into dystopian culture wars' to rebut Biden’s 'raucous' SOTU

"Just to be clear, there are culture warriors on the left, and some of them can be annoying even to social liberals," Krugman notes. "But few have significant power, and they certainly don’t rule the Democratic Party, which isn’t locked into a closed mental universe, impervious to inconvenient facts, whose denizens communicate in buzzwords nobody else recognizes. Republicans, however, do live in such a universe — and what Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed us was that they can’t step outside that universe even when they should have strong political incentives to sound like normal people and pretend to care about regular Americans’ concerns."

READ MORE: 'Insulting': Right-wingers torch Sarah Huckabee Sanders' State of the Union response

Read Paul Krugman’s full New York Times column at this link (subscription required)

Paul Pelosi to attend State of the Union

At 9:00 PM President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union Address, informing the American people most likely that the “state of our union is strong,” but First Lady Jill Biden will also be speaking to the American people, via a lengthy and carefully-crafted list of guests she and the White House have invited, in full sight of the tens of millions of people expected to watch – and the Republicans in the room.

Dr. Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will host the White House’s 26 guests, who are a representation of the Democrats’ wider agenda, including some of the left’s most important battles and achievements. The White House in a statement Tuesday said, “Each of these individuals were invited by the White House because they personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech, or they embody the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies at work for the American people."

Guests include a married same-sex couple who helped make Massachusetts the first state to legalize marriage equality in 2004. A hero who stopped a mass shooter from killing even more people. The mother and step-father of Tyre Nichols. A pregnant woman who nearly died because of Texas’ abortion ban. A DREAMer. A cancer-survivor. A caregiver to a Navy combat veteran. A mother whose son battled lead poisoning due to contaminated drinking water. A member of Navajo Nation and Registered nurse who is working to provide medical care and cancer treatment. Parents of a survivor of pediatric cancer. The Ambassador of Ukraine. A 10th grade computer-integrated manufacturing student. A father who lost his 20-year old daughter to a fentanyl overdose. And more, including Bono.

READ MORE: ‘National Security Nightmare’: Experts Concerned Melania Trump Was in Situation Room During ‘Major Military Operation’

Paul Pelosi, the husband to now-former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will be by Dr. Jill Biden’s side. Republicans, including several expected to be sitting in the same room, mocked him when a Trump-supporting right-wing extremist and conspiracy theorist took a hammer to the 82-year-old’s head, causing a “near-fatal” injury on October 28. Should President Biden mention Mr. Pelosi in his speech, Republican response would no doubt be attention-grabbing.

In its statement Tuesday the White House makes its intent clear: “The attack reportedly was politically motivated, with the intruder’s alleged intent to harm and kidnap the former Speaker. According to court filings, the intruder confronted Mr. Pelosi, asking ‘Where’s Nancy?,’ a similar chant of those responsible for the January 6th Capitol insurrection.”

President Biden appears to have taken the assault on Paul Pelosi very seriously. On November 1, he slammed Republicans, painting their refusal to condemn bad actors and bad actions as part of a much larger problem in America.

When “unstable people…hear every single day these outrageous lies—these outrageous lies across the board about everything; when they look at the internet and see what’s being said, stated and talk about, you know, where we keep children in basements to molest them and all these kinds of things—look what’s happened. And think however this guy is demonizing LBGTQ [LGBTQ]* population. Think how his opponent is demonizing anyone who disagrees with him,” he said.

“And so you wonder why—how this guy came breaking into Paul—and Paul is a friend, as—as is Nancy. I’ve known them for years and years,” Biden continued.

“And nobody on that party condemns it for exactly what it is. Says it’s not because when I made a comment about this is to be expected when you have leaders of the other party condoning the kind of conduct that is—that I’ve just discussed and others.”

“And nobody on that party condemns it for exactly what it is. Says it’s not because when I made a comment about this is to be expected when you have leaders of the other party condoning the kind of conduct that is—that I’ve just discussed and others.”

Economist Paul Krugman tears down right-wing arguments that Social Security and Medicare are doomed

When President Joe Biden gave his 2023 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, February 7, he aggressively vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare from GOP efforts to "sunset" or undermine those programs. Biden made it clear that he was not talking about all Republicans or all conservatives, but he was definitely calling out the Republicans who believe that Social Security and Medicare should be abolished or privatized.

Far-right Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), for example, has proposed that Social Security and Medicare, instead of being renewed automatically, should be reevaluated by Congress every five years. After a five-year period, Scott has argued, Congress should be required to either refund the programs or terminate them. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has criticized Scott's proposal as a bad idea.

A common talking point on the far right is that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable in their current form and need to be either ended or turned over to the private sector. President George W. Bush, in 2005, called for Social Security's privatization — a proposal that many Democrats successfully used against Republicans in the 2006 midterms.

READ MORE: Watch: Joe Biden blasts GOP 'Plan to Save America' as a scheme to kill Social Security and Medicare

Liberal economist Paul Krugman, in a February 21 New York Times opinion column, tears apart Republican arguments that Social Security and Medicare are doomed to collapse unless they are seriously altered.

"The GOP response to President Biden's truthful statement that some Republicans want to sunset Medicare and Social Security has been highly gratifying," Krugman argues. "In other words, the party has reacted with sheer panic — plus a startling lack of message discipline, with both Mike Pence and Nikki Haley saying that actually, yes, they do want to privatize or 'reform' Social Security, which is code for gutting it…. The press' response to Biden’s remarks has, however, been less gratifying."

The economist continues, "I've seen numerous declarations from mainstream media that, of course, Medicare and Social Security can't be sustained in their present form…. So, let me try to set the record straight. Yes, our major social programs are on a trajectory that will cause them to cost more in the future than they do today. But how we deal with that trajectory is a choice, and the solution need not involve benefit cuts."

READ MORE: 'Can’t be trusted': Advocates say don’t buy GOP applause for Social Security

Krugman goes on to point out that the Congressional Budget Office's "projections of future spending have come down."

According to Krugman, "CBO projections now show social insurance spending as a percentage of GDP eventually rising by about five points, which is still a lot but not unimaginably large. And here’s the thing: Half of that is still the assumed rise in health care costs…. It's not at all hard to imagine that improving the incentives to focus on medically effective care could limit cost growth to well below what the CBO is projecting, even now. And if we can do that, the rise in entitlement spending over the next three decades might be more like 3 percent of GDP. That's not an inconceivable burden."

In 2010, the right-wing Club For Growth declared, "Privatize Social Security? Hell, yeah!" And 13 years later, as Biden pointed out in his 2023 State of the Union address, that type of thinking has not gone away.

But Krugman stresses that if Social Security and Medicare are abolished or radically altered at some point in the future, it will be out of "choice" — and not necessity.

"No, Social Security and Medicare aren't inherently unsustainable, doomed by demography," Krugman writes. "We can keep these programs, which are so deeply embedded in American society, if we want to. Killing them would be a choice."

READ MORE: How Republicans are using the federal courts to 'assault' Social Security and Medicare: report

Read Paul Krugman’s full column at this link (subscription required).

'You don’t need to be young': Bill Maher slams anti-Biden ageism as a 'big red herring'

If President Joe Biden runs for reelection in 2024 and wins, he will be 82 when he begins a second term on Inauguration Day 2025. It remains to be seen whether or not Biden will run, but he certainly sounded like he was making the case for a second term when he bragged about his economic record during his passionate 2023 State of the Union address.

The right-wing media echo chamber has been quick to blame Biden's gaffes on his age, conveniently overlooking the fact that former President Donald Trump will be 77 on June 14. Biden overcame a speech impediment, and the fact that he is gaffe-prone has nothing to do with this age; the former vice president/ex-U.S. senator had his share of gaffes when he was in his thirties and forties. Moreover, a speech impediment has nothing to do with one's intellect.

During a late February interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, political comedian Bill Maher made it clear that he has no problem with Biden's age. Maher, who hosts "Real Time With Bill Maher" on HBO, emphasized that Biden should be judged from a policy standpoint — not based on the fact that he is an octogenarian.

READ MORE: 'We all hate each other': Bill Maher decries America's 'cold civil war'

Maher told Tapper, "Every other country in the world seems to have gotten this about the elderly — they're wise. That's what you need. I don’t mind at all that he's 82 or 84 or 86. Yes, if he loses his marbles. But there are plenty of 86-year-old people who have not lost their marbles. And people used to get that. We have an important decision to make; go to the elders."

The "Real Time" host slammed negative talk of Biden's age as a "red herring."

Maher told Tapper, "He was always a gaffe machine to begin with… But if it's Trump against Biden (in 2024), I think Biden will win…. If it's not Biden, I don't know."

Maher covered a lot of ground during the interview, slamming Trump as a dangerous authoritarian but also criticizing "wokeness" on the left. Maher draws a distinction between liberalism and "wokeness," and he is a fan of the former but definitely not the latter.

READ MORE: 'Donald Trump will never concede': Bill Maher warns that GOP is 'much better' equipped for a 2024 'coup'

Maher told Tapper, "I would categorize liberal as different than woke. Woke, which started out as a good thing — alert to injustice — who could be against that? But it became sort of an eye roll because they love diversity except of ideas."

When Tapper asked Maher to define "wokeness," the "Real Time" host responded, "Again, I think it's this collection of ideas that are not building on liberalism, but very often undoing it. I mean, five years ago, Abraham Lincoln was not a controversial figure among liberals; we liked him. Now, they take his name off schools and tear down his statues. Really? Lincoln isn't good enough for you?.... You change the definitions, then say I'm more conservative. I believe what I've always believed."

Maher also lamented how "tribal" the United States has become and said of Trump, "Have you seen this man? He's everything that's wrong with a human being stuffed into one man…. He is incapable, I think, of ever conceding defeat. And I've never seen him do it."

READ MORE: CNN reporter sheds light on Fox News exec's grim Dominion lawsuit prediction

Watch the video below or at this link.

Bill Maher on wokeness and why having an older president isn’t a bad thing

Why Biden's tough-on-crime posture is politically 'smart' but 'not particularly principled': journalist

President Joe Biden has yet to say whether or not he plans to seek reelection in 2024, but his recent actions certainly indicate that he is. During his passionate 2023 State of the Union address, Biden sounded like he was making a case for giving him a second term — especially when he was boasting about his economic record and all the new jobs that have been created during his two years in the White House. And in a March 2 tweet, the 80-year-old president addressed an issue that Republicans are likely to emphasize in 2024: violent crime.

Biden tweeted, "I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule — but I don't support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor's objections — such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did — I'll sign it."

With that tweet, Biden expressed his willingness to part company with the liberal/progressive wing of his party when it comes to criminal justice issues. Yet he voiced his support for something that is supported by many Democrats and opposed by many Republicans: statehood for the District of Columbia. More often than not, Republicans oppose D.C. statehood as vehemently as they oppose statehood for Puerto Rico.

READ MORE: Why Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's loss is 'a warning for the other big-city Black mayors': columnist

Biden's tweet came a few days after a major bombshell in Chicago: progressive Democrat Lori Lightfoot's defeat in the deep blue city's 2023 mayoral race. It remains to be seen who will prevail in Chicago's mayoral runoff, but it won't be Lightfoot — the Windy City's first female African-American mayor. Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, described Lightfoot's defeat as a "warning sign" for Democrats during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash.

Adams, recalling his own mayoral campaign, told Bash, "I showed up at crime scenes. I knew what New Yorkers were saying. And I saw it all over the country. I think, if anything, it is really stating that this is what I have been talking about. America, we have to be safe."

The "warning sign" that Adams mentioned is one that Democrats are well-aware of in another deep blue northern city: Philadelphia, which is also having a mayoral election in 2023. Philly, like Chicago, is overwhelmingly Democratic. The city has not had a Republican mayor since Bernard Samuel in the early 1950s, but depending on the mood of Philly voters, the city can elect either centrist Democratic mayors (Ed Rendell, Mike Nutter) or liberal ones (such as Wilson Goode and the current mayor, Jim Kenney). And crime is one of the top issues in Philly's 2023 Democratic mayoral primary.

In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on March 6, journalist Jill Lawrence (a former reporter for the Associated Press and USA Today) describes Biden's tough-on-crime stand as one that is politically "smart," if "not particularly principled."

"Much as I wish it were, this is not a hard call for Biden and Democrats," Lawrence argues. "Most of them champion statehood for the district, but that's an aspiration for now — while crime is a clear and present danger both on the streets and to their party. A stronger focus on crime in a few House races last year might have kept Democrats in control of that chamber. In 2024, they will be trying to win back the House and hold both the presidency and their Senate majority in a very tough year, and the attacks on crime are already coming."

READ MORE: Legal scholars detail why DC statehood is absolutely constitutional

Lawrence cites Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) as a perfect example of the type of fear-mongering Democrats will be up against in 2024. The pro-Donald Trump senator, in a fundraising e-mail, wrote, "Admitting D.C. into the union would implode our republic…. Criminals will have free rein over our streets."

Lawrence observes, "More and more senators are now saying they'll vote with the GOP to overturn Washington's criminal code update. As of the weekend, they included at least three Democrats and an allied independent on the 2024 ballot and many 'endangered' lists — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Angus King of Maine. Several who aren't endangered or up for reelection have made the same judgment or are considering it."

The journalist notes that as a Washington, D.C. resident, she has "never been able to vote for a senator or regular House member."

"I've visited Wyoming and Vermont many times, and I'd love to see Congress overturn most or all of their gun laws," Lawrence writes. "But that's not up to me or Congress. Voters in those states and all states are full-fledged citizens of the United States. They have rights that I don’t have."

Lawrence continues, "At the same time, I have often implored Democrats to be more like Republicans: hard-headed, cold-blooded and sly. McConnellesque, in a word. And Biden's decision, though not particularly principled, is smart strategy for him, Democrats, and the many humane and practical goals they hope to achieve. It means they may live to fight another day for an agenda that reflects my own dreams for my country. I can only hope that statehood is near the top and that this time, it’s an action item — not an empty promise."

READ MORE: Watch: Trump vows to use the federal government to discipline your children

Read The Bulwark's full article at this link.

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