Biden pushes plans to reboot US in first address to Congress

Washington, Apr 28 (EFE).- On the eve of his 100th day in power, United States president Joe Biden on Wednesday proclaimed that America is “on the move again,” and promoted his ambitious social and economic projects while repeatedly urging Republicans to support them.

For just over an hour, Biden spoke about vaccinations against Covid-19, his plans for infrastructure and social spending, and foreign policy, without forgetting the issues that have put him under pressure in these first months: immigration, gun violence and police brutality against minorities.

“We’re vaccinating the nation, we’re creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, we’re delivering real results to people. They can see it, feel it in their own lives,” said the president.

If there was a word that the president repeated throughout his speech, it was “jobs.”

“Our Constitution opens with the words, as trite as it sounds, ‘we the people.’ Well, it’s time to remember that we, the people, are the government. You and I,” he said.

A big part of his speech was dedicated to promoting his infrastructure investment plan worth $2.25 trillion, accompanied by another aimed at helping vulnerable families and citizens, worth $1.8 trillion.

To finance both projects, the president said that taxes must be raised on large companies and fortunes. He considered that “it is time for corporate America and the wealthiest one percent of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share.”

Biden cited a recent study that indicates that 55 percent of US’ largest companies paid “zero” federal taxes last year, and made over $40 billion in profit, while many evaded tax and took advantage of benefits and deductions for employing their workers in other countries. “It’s not right,” he denounced.

He warned that the Internal Revenue Service will crack down on billionaires and millionaires who “cheat on their taxes.”

The bailout approved in March worth $1.9 trillion, as well as the social and infrastructure spending projects, are aimed at halting the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president asked all Americans to overcome doubts and get vaccinated as soon as possible, because each shot is “a dose of hope.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 43 percent of Americans have already received at least their first dose of a vaccine, while 29.5 percent of adults are fully immunized.

Biden promised that his country will “become an arsenal of vaccines for other countries – just as America was the arsenal of democracy in World War II”

The president also demanded support from Republicans to face the US’ biggest challenges: immigration, gun violence and racism.

He urged an end to the partisan “exhausting war over immigration” and asked Congress to pass his immigration reform, which seeks to regularize the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, a project that is stalled in the Senate in the absence of support from conservatives.

“If you believe we need to secure the border, pass it… If you believe in a pathway to citizenship, pass it,” he said.

Likewise, he asked the Republican opposition to join Democrats to close the loopholes required in background checks on gun purchases and to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

He also encouraged conservatives to pass the police reform bill in May, coinciding with the first anniversary of the murder of African American George Floyd, and encouraged Congress to support the government in its efforts to protect the LGTBQ community and victims of gender violence, in the latter case restricting abusers’ access to weapons. EFE


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