WASHINGTON — Boosted by a strong jobs report last week and declining inflation, President Joe Biden in his second State of the Union Address touted his economic plan which he says is working.
Despite suffering a difficult first two years in office with the highest inflation in decades, supply chain delays and a labor shortage that affected businesses across the country, Biden highlighted recent figures suggesting the economy is back on track. He mentioned the unemployment rate hitting a fresh 50-year low and strong manufacturing job creation as just some of the highlights.
“Two years ago, our economy was reeling,” Biden said. “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.”
Biden also touted legislation passed in the last Congress, like the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, as laws that are working. Reflecting on that legislation is something Democrats said before the speech they wanted to see Biden do.
“It is literally the best recovery economically from COVID in the world,” Rep Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) said. “It’s specifically because of the policies of this administration and what many of us did in Congress.”
While Biden said there is more to do to combat inflation, he celebrated the fact it’s fallen for six months. However, he did not outline what else he would like to see done to combat rising costs.
Moving to the debt limit, Biden criticized Republicans who are asking for preconditions to raise the borrowing restriction. He also stated again that he won’t cut Social Security or Medicare in order to raise the debt ceiling.
A tense moment came when Biden said some Republicans are working to cut Social Security and Medicare, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shouting “liar.” Speaker McCarthy has said previously that he will not consider cutting the social programs as part of debt limit negotiations. The period ended with both sides of the chamber rising as Biden committed to protecting the two programs for seniors.
Meanwhile, Biden previewed his budget expected to be released next month. He said it will lower the deficit by $2 trillion, not raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 a year, and extend the Medicare Trust Fund’s lifetime.
“When I offer my fiscal plan, I ask my Republican friends to offer their plan,” he said. “We can sit down together and discuss both plans together.”
Overall, Biden simplified his economic agenda by saying he’s working to make the economy work for every American, not just the well off.
“My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten,” he said. “That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind.”