Biden’s Speech for 2022
Republicans have complained that I have not accomplished anything as President, with what they call complete control of the federal government.
First, we have numerous important accomplishments that I will highlight later. Second, to the extent we Democrats have been unable to pass and sign important additional legislation, our frustration has been a direct result of Republican refusal to work with me to find acceptable compromises.
Let me start with the second point. There is no doubt that I have an agenda that I would like to accomplish as President that differs from the agenda of the Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives. That is as it should be. I was elected President with over 80 million votes, the largest vote total in American history. So my agenda is, in fact, the agenda of the majority of the American people. That agenda should be the starting point for all discussions of how we should move forward.
But I came into office at a time of divisiveness in the body politic that is unprecedented since the Civil War. I believed, as I said many times, that one of my goals has been to lower the temperature, to move the country back to civil discussions of political issues.
I went to the Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, early in my term, to say that he and I had an obligation to the country to work together. Not an obligation to our respective parties, but an obligation to the country to lower the heat, to reduce the inflammatory rhetoric, to seek compromises on the great issues of our day and to write and pass legislation with votes from both parties.
I have spent most of my adult life in the Senate, writing, debating, amending and passing legislation. I had my opinions, some held more strongly than others, but came to understand that what was best for America was to listen to the opinions of others who disagreed and to work with them to find acceptable ground in the middle. That is what I sought to do as President.
Tragically, Leader McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate and House immediately rejected all of my efforts to work together. In the face of enormous economic suffering resulting from the Covid epidemic, not one Senate or House Republican voted in favor of the Pandemic Relief Act. Democrats stood united and passed the legislation anyway.
So, to the extent that I have been unsuccessful in passing legislation, that has been unequivocally the direct result of Republican intransigence, Republican unwillingness to even sit at the table and talk.
I also had experience with this Republican tactic. As Vice President, I had to deal with Leader McConnell’s statement early in President Obama’s administration, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” House Republican leader John Boehner said about the Obama agenda, “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” No room for discussion, no acknowledgement that Barrack and I were elected by the American people to lead the country.
My experience as Vice President led me to the conclusion that I would reach out to the Republican leadership as President, extend a hand to say, “Let’s find ways we can work together,” but that I would not allow them to delay, delay, delay all legislation, all efforts to help the American people on the issues that I had campaigned on.
So when they rejected, out of hand, my efforts to work on comprise solutions, I had no choice but to push ahead with what I could accomplish with the slim majorities that Democrats held in the Senate and House.
So what did we achieve?
First, the Covid Relief bill. In early 2020, this country and the world were gripped with fear about the pandemic. We had no vaccines, and we were learning about how to mitigate the impact with masks, social distancing, and business shutdowns, as we went along. Many businesses had to close as a result of both public fear about being in close contact with other people and government mandated closings. It was unprecedented. I sent a Relief bill to Congress to respond with equally unprecedented actions, providing economic relief to millions of suddenly unemployed Americans. An it worked. With the help of the federal unemployment supplement and the direct aid to millions of families, we quickly recovered from the job losses in the spring of 2020. Today, two years later, the unemployment rate stands at 3.9% — one of the lowest on record.
Next, we attacked the need for infrastructure. I sent the Congress a bill to reverse decades of ignoring what we all know — infrastructure needs maintenance or it fails. For generations Republicans have given lip service to this critical need while starving the federal government, states and local communities of the resources they need for routine maintenance. With some support from across the aisle, we passed a bill that will repair highways, bridges, sewers, airports and other fundamental building blocks of our economy and put millions of Americans to work. It will also bring broadband internet access to millions of Americans who need it to thrive in a 21st century economy.
So my administration has accomplished some of the goals that we promised but more is needed. We need to build a new, green energy system to combat climate change. Replacing 20th century energy with new technology that does not burn carbon will create new jobs from construction workers to administrators to innovative researchers. We need a modern electrical grid that efficiently moves power from windmills and solar farms to the cities and towns where it is needed. We need better batteries to store excess solar and wind power so it is easily available whenever it is needed. Again, that means new, good paying jobs up and down the economic ladder. It means opportunities for creative small businesses.
We could only achieve so much because of our narrow Democratic majorities in Congress, facing a do-nothing Republican party that seems obsessed with looking to the past and ignoring the future. We need a Democratic majority in both the Senate and House that allows us to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I still want to work with Republicans who understand the needs of our people and who have creative ideas to meet them. If your give us larger Democratic majorities in Congress, Republicans may just see the error of their obstructionist ways of the past decades and be more willing to work with me and my administration.
Let me help you to a brighter future with long-term economic growth and good paying jobs so that you can support a family, help provide your children with the best education for them and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Vote Democratic in 2022.