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Biden Delivers Third State of the Union Address 

Updated: Apr 6

By Cristina Damato 


On March 7th, 2024, President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union Address, his third since the beginning of his presidency. The Constitution requires that the president “from time to time give to the Congress information on the State of the Union,” and every president has obliged except William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, who each died before they had a chance to address Congress with this historic speech. The State of the Union Address, which is held at the U.S. Capitol, is not given during a president’s first year in office. 


Biden opened his address by emphasizing the importance of sending weapons, but not soldiers, to aid Ukraine, citing the risk that the free world faces if the United States backs down. He then attacked former President Donald Trump for telling Putin to “do whatever the hell you want.” Following this, he welcomed Sweden to NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization) and acknowledged Finland’s membership, which is new as of last year. 


Biden then addressed the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, asserting that democracy prevailed even when attacked. He also accused several congressmen and other politicians of attempting to hide the truth about what happened. 

The address then shifted to focusing on reproductive rights in the United States. Biden stated that he believed that Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision from 1973 protecting a woman’s right to an abortion, got it right, and thanked Vice President Kamala Harris for defending reproductive freedom. He emphasized his point by sharing the stories of Latoya Beasley, a social worker in Alabama who was denied the right to IVF (in vitro fertilization), and Katie Cox, a woman from Dallas carrying a fetus with a fatal condition that endangered her own safety and fertility, who had to leave Texas to get proper care. He closed this topic by stating his firm belief that due to the power that women have in this country, Roe v. Wade, which was overturned in 2022, will be restored. 


Throughout the next sections of his speech, Biden touched on topics such as COVID vaccines, the economy, health insurance access, availability and affordability of preschool and college, and tax codes. He sees many of these issues as improving and asserted that “the State of our Union is strong and getting stronger.” Another issue he addressed was border security, and he stated that we need to hire more people to help solve case backlog. He also emphasized that we need to stop demonizing immigrants and separating families, and said that America is home to people of every background. This segued into his next point, which was that we need to stop banning books and start defending LGBTQ+ rights. He called upon Americans to “give hate no safe harbor.” 


Biden spent quite a bit of time speaking about Hamas’ rape, slaughter, and kidnapping of over 1,200 civilians in Israel. He defended Israel’s right to retaliation but stated that Israel does not have the right to attack innocent civilians in Gaza. He shared his efforts to call a six-week ceasefire to free the hostages, who are still being held by Hamas, and claimed that a two-state solution is needed. He also called upon the warring states to make sure to prevent humanitarian workers getting caught in the crossfire of the war. 


The president was optimistic about the future of the U.S. stating, “I see a future where defending democracy, you don’t diminish it. I see a future where we restore the right to choose and protect our freedoms, not take them away.” He cited decreasing violence rates in the U.S., progress in projects to end climate change, and new research to end diseases such as cancer. He also referenced the need to harness the power of artificial intelligence and use it for good. 


To close, President Biden emphasized the strength of the United States. He said: 

“Above all, I see a future for all Americans. I see a country for all Americans. And I will always be President for all Americans because I believe in America. I believe in you, the American people. You’re the reason we’ve never been more optimistic about our future than I am now.  

So, let’s build the future together. Let’s remember who we are.  

We are the United States of America. And there is nothing – nothing beyond our capacity when we act together.” 


The response to the State of the Union Address is given by a chosen representative from the opposing party. This speech, which is typically brief, gives the speaker a chance to give her opinion on what the president said. 


This year’s speaker was Katie Britt, a member of the Republican Party and the senator of Alabama. Interestingly, she chose to give her address from her kitchen table. This was in sharp contrast to Biden’s, which took place in the large, formal Capitol Hall. 


She stated,  “The American Dream has turned into a nightmare,” and that the country we know is “slipping away.” She also addressed topics such as border control, attacking Biden for suspending deportations and construction on the border wall and calling him a “dithering and diminished leader.” She accused the president of spending money recklessly, destroying the American economy. 


Britt stated that Democrats have allowed the country to become more dangerous and are at fault for the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan. She also shared her belief that China is spying on the U.S. military and spreading propaganda through TikTok. Overall, her message emphasized how she is first and foremost a wife and mother, in an attempt to empathize with Americans who sit around kitchen tables “just like this one.” 

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