2021 Joe Biden speech to a joint session of Congress
Full video of the speech as published by the White House
DateApril 28, 2021 (2021-04-28)
Time9:00 p.m. EDT
Duration1 hour, 5 minutes
VenueHouse Chamber, United States Capitol
LocationWashington, D.C.
Coordinates38°53′19.8″N 77°00′32.8″W / 38.888833°N 77.009111°W / 38.888833; -77.009111Coordinates: 38°53′19.8″N 77°00′32.8″W / 38.888833°N 77.009111°W / 38.888833; -77.009111
TypeSpeech to Congress
ParticipantsJoe Biden
Kamala Harris
Nancy Pelosi
Previous2020 State of the Union Address
Next2022 State of the Union Address

Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States, addressed a joint session of the United States Congress on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the eve of his 100th day in office. It was his first public address before a joint session.[1] Similar to a State of the Union Address, it was delivered before the 117th United States Congress in the Chamber of the House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. Presiding over this joint session was the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by Kamala Harris, the vice president in her capacity as the president of the Senate―the first time two women and two Californians presided over an address to Congress, seated on the rostrum behind the president.[2]

Background

Speaker Pelosi invited Biden to address a joint session on April 13, 2021, asking him to "share [his] vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities" of the time.[2] Biden delivered his speech on the 99th day of his presidency amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, campaign to vaccinate Americans, ratification of the American Rescue Plan, Democratic efforts to advance legislation on infrastructure,[3] guns, social justice, and voting rights,[4] Derek Chauvin's conviction in the murder of George Floyd,[5] and planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.[6]

Security and public health measures

The joint session was designated a National Special Security Event due to an ongoing security threat to Congress that began with the storming of the Capitol in January 2021.[1] Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, face covering requirements and social distancing were used to protect attendees, and members of Congress were not allowed to invite guests, breaking with tradition.[1][2] Measures were coordinated by the House Sergeant of Arms and Attending Physician.[7] A limited number of members of Congress were in attendance; overall, 200 people were gathered in the House Chamber.[8] No designated survivor was chosen because Cabinet members watched the address remotely.[9]

Speech

Biden's address centered on his plans to expand the size and scope of the federal government to create blue-collar jobs, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, reduce economic inequality, and invest in early childhood education, community colleges, infrastructure, research, and technology in the fight against climate change.[10] He cited the COVID-19 economic recovery and vaccination campaign as successes during his first 100 days in office.

Biden used the word "jobs" 43 times during the speech.[10] He proposed the American Families Plan, a US$1.8 trillion package that includes new spending on child care, education, and paid leave.[11] He asserted that autocratic adversaries, such as Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, see political divisiveness among Americans as "proof that the sun is setting on American democracy" and that America is "too riven by hostility to effectively govern."[10] On racial justice, he declared that Congress should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, to eliminate systemic racism in housing, education and public health.[10] Biden declared that the "forever war in Afghanistan" will end with the withdrawal of U.S. forces.[10]

Response

Republican Party

Republican Senator Tim Scott delivered the party's formal rebuttal to Biden's joint address to Congress.[12]

Working Families Party

Rep. Jamaal Bowman delivered the progressive response to Biden's joint address to Congress.[13]

Viewership

Biden's speech, total cable and network viewers

Network Viewers
ABC 4,025,000
MSNBC 3,941,000
NBC 3,542,000
CBS 3,367,000
CNN 3,180,000
FNC 2,920,000
Fox 1,630,000

Scott's response, total cable and network viewers

Network Viewers
FNC 3,197,000
ABC 2,897,000
MSNBC 2,725,000
NBC 2,469,000
CBS 2,311,000
CNN 2,080,000

  Broadcast networks   Cable news networks

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Mascaro, Lisa; Miller, Zeke (April 14, 2021). "Biden to address Congress under security, COVID restrictions". Associated Press News. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Solender, Andrew (April 14, 2021). "Pelosi Invites Biden To Address Joint Session Of Congress On April 28". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Tankersley, Jim (March 31, 2021). "Biden Details $2 Trillion Plan to Rebuild Infrastructure and Reshape the Economy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 18, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Stevenson, Peter W. (March 3, 2021). "Analysis | Here's what H.R. 1, the House-passed voting rights bill, would do". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  5. ^ Arango, Tim; Dewan, Shaila; Eligon, John; Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas. "Derek Chauvin Trial Live Updates: Chauvin Found Guilty of Murdering George Floyd". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Sanger, David E.; Shear, Michael D. (April 14, 2021). "Biden, saying it is 'time to end America's longest war,' declares troops will be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 18, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  7. ^ McPherson, Lindsey (February 11, 2021). "'Quite a week,' Pelosi says, previewing more to come". Roll Call. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  8. ^ House, Billy (April 23, 2021). "Biden to Face Sea of Empty Seats in First Speech to Congress". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  9. ^ Gilbert, Asha (April 28, 2021). "There's no 'designated survivor' for Biden's first speech to Congress. Here's why". USA Today. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e Miller, Zeke; Madhani, Aamer (April 28, 2021). "Biden speech takeaways: Government is good, and so are jobs". Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  11. ^ Lucey, Catherine; Rubin, Richard (April 28, 2021). "Biden to Propose $1.8 Trillion Plan Aimed at Families, Tax Hikes for Wealthiest Americans". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  12. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (April 22, 2021). "Senator Tim Scott will deliver Republicans' rebuttal to Biden's first address to Congress". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Bowden, John (April 27, 2021). "Bowman to deliver progressive response to Biden's speech to Congress". TheHill. Retrieved April 29, 2021.