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Joe Biden finds unity in Ukraine, but different in Coalition’s first speech

Less than 10 months ago, President Joe Biden came before Congress and set an ambitious domestic agenda: more family leave, climate change action and trillions of dollars in new social spending – all paid for by increasing taxes on the richest in America.

With much of that show over, his approval rating is near a record low and Russia Invades Ukraine Suddenly capturing the attention of both the administration and the nervous world, Biden managed to deliver a foreign policy speech on Tuesday night that could mark a bit of a reset for the presidency. his system.

The president is still discussing longstanding aspects of his domestic agenda, from infrastructure spending – the result of one of the several important legislative victories—To promote lower insulin prices.

But instead of making direct suggestions for increasing social spending on favorite liberal programs — like better child care, less expensive health care, free college tuition, and more. universal kindergarten — Biden has primarily focused on GOP-friendly issues like crime, keeping schools and businesses open, and repatriating American manufacturing jobs that have gone abroad. Even his historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retired Judge Stephen Breyer, went largely unnoticed.

He called to “defend our borders” and specifically denounced the cry of “disgracing the police” – later making him one of the few standing ovations from the right. of the room on Tuesday night.

“We should all agree: The answer is not ‘disgusting the police.’ The answer is fund police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities,” he said, to ostentatious acclaim from the GOP and warm but still firm support from Democrats.

There’s also no mention of the name of the “Building Better Back Act,” which appears to have suffered a slow but eventual death because Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) insists he cannot stand. after any version of the bill.

Regardless, the focus of Biden’s speech was on the crisis in Ukraine.

Biden said that, six days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin “tried to shake the foundations of the free world, thinking he could bend it in his threatening ways.”

“But he miscalculated terribly,” Biden continued. “He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll. Instead, he encounters a wall of power he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.”

Biden said Putin thought the West and NATO would not respond to his invasion of Ukraine, that he could “divide us on our own turf”.

“We counter Russian lies with facts. And now that he has acted, the free world is holding him accountable,” Biden said.

The President noted the efforts of NATO and other countries in isolating Russia, implementing economic sanctions and restricting access to technology. He also repeatedly praised the efforts of the Ukrainian people in fending off Russian attacks.

The biggest applause of the night was for Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, and members on both sides of the aisle dressed in blue and yellow in support of Ukraine.

In many ways, the bipartisan rally for Ukraine presented Biden with a new opportunity in bipartisanship.

According to a source familiar with the original plans for the speech, the president’s remarks will initially focus more on domestic issues: the fight to end the coronavirus pandemic’s grip on American lives, the resurgence of American jobs and trillion-dollar infrastructure. Biden said Tuesday night that the package “will transform America and set us on a path to victory in the economic competition of the 21st century.”

But the Russian invasion, as well as Ukraine’s remarkable response to its occupation attempt, prompted a rapid shift toward emphasizing what Biden mentioned in his first joint address to Congress. Last year was the biggest challenge of his presidency: proving that democracy works.

“America’s adversaries – the autocrats of the world – are betting that we can’t,” Biden said at the time.

On Tuesday night, Biden said the US and its democratic allies have proven they can.

“We see unity among the leaders of nations and a more united Europe, a more united West,” Biden said.

Nearly every angle of his answer is international: from talking about the infrastructure bill to getting through an international agreement of 130 countries to create a global minimum tax. demand for corporations.

“So companies can’t get away with paying taxes at home by moving jobs and factories overseas,” Biden said.

But once Biden turns to more familiar domestic policy areas, such as a laundered list of libertarian legislative priorities – including “the onslaught of state law… targeting transgender Americans” and “defending women’s rights”—Republicans clearly, sometimes quite explicitly, note their displeasure.

At one point, Biden mentioned burns that had caused severe symptoms for members of the military and even ceded a flag-laden casket to servicemen. Congressman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) shouted “You bring them in, 13 of them,” referring to the total number of US casualties in Afghanistan in 2021 as the US leaves the country.

The comment drew a flurry of boos from Democrats.

Boebert also tried (and failed) to get the phrase “Let’s build the wall!” chant away, after Biden spoke positively about border security. Marjorie Taylor Greene was the only member to participate, again drawing derision from Democrats.

The roughly one-hour and 10-minute speech was warmly received by Democrats, even as Biden’s softer tone and isolationist COVID restrictions snuffed out some of the energy on the ground. House floor.

However, Biden drew on a recent surge of patriotism in response to the Ukraine crisis to deliver his central message: “We are stronger today than we were a year ago. And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today. ”

“Now is the time for us to meet and overcome the challenges of our times,” he said.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-biden-finds-unity-on-ukraine-but-little-else-in-first-state-of-the-union-address?source=articles&via=rss Joe Biden finds unity in Ukraine, but different in Coalition’s first speech

Russell Falcon

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