​Biden’s Speech to Congress: Video and Full Transcript.

President Biden delivered an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Because of the pandemic, Mr. Biden spoke to a socially distanced audience of fewer than 200 lawmakers and officials, a small fraction of the packed audience that typically attends such an address.

The following is the video of his remarks.

Watch President Biden's Full Address To Joint Session of Congress | NBC Newswww.youtube.com

The following is a transcript of his remarks.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's good to be back. As Mitch and Chuck will understand, it's good to be almost home, down the hall. Anyway, thank you all.

Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words. And it's about time. The first lady, I'm her husband. Second gentleman. Chief justice. Members of the United States Congress and the cabinet, distinguished guests. My fellow Americans.

While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is just a little bit different. A reminder of the extraordinary times we're in. Throughout our history, presidents have come to this chamber to speak to Congress, to the nation and to the world. To declare war, to celebrate peace, to announce new plans and possibilities.

Tonight, I come to talk about crisis and opportunity. About rebuilding the nation, revitalizing our democracy, and winning the future for America. I stand here tonight one day shy of the 100th day of my administration. A hundred days since I took the oath of office, lifted my hand off our family Bible and inherited a nation — we all did — that was in crisis. The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War. Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation, America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity, setbacks to strength.

We all know life can knock us down. But in America, we never, ever, ever stay down. Americans always get up. Today, that's what we're doing. America is rising anew. Choosing hope over fear, truth over lies and light over darkness. After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for a takeoff, in my view. We're working again, dreaming again, discovering again and leading the world again. We have shown each other and the world that there's no quit in America. None.

One hundred days ago, America's house was on fire. We had to act. Thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer and the overwhelming support of the American people — Democrats, Independents and Republicans — we did act. Together, we passed the American Rescue Plan, one of the most consequential rescue packages in American history. We're already seeing the results.

We're already seeing the results. After I promised we would get 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots into people's arms in 100 days, we will have provided over 220 million Covid shots in those hundred days, thanks to all the help of all of you. We're marshaling with your help, everyone's help, we're marshaling every federal resource. We've gotten vaccinations to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers where the poorest of the poor can be reached. We're setting up community vaccination sites, developing mobile units to get to hard-to-reach communities. Today, 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site. Everyone over the age of 16, everyone, is now eligible to get vaccinated right now, right away. Go get vaccinated, America. Go and get the vaccination. They're available. You're eligible now.

When I was sworn in on Jan. 20, less than 1 percent of the seniors in America were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. One hundred days later, 70 percent of seniors in America over 65 are protected, fully protected. Senior deaths from Covid-19 are down 80 percent since January, down 80 percent, because of all of you.

And more than half of all the adults in America have gotten at least one shot. The mass vaccination center in Glendale, Ariz., I asked the nurse, I said, "What's it like?" She looked at me, she said, "It's like every shot is giving a dose of hope" was her phrase, a dose of hope.

A dose of hope for an educator in Florida, who has a child suffering from an autoimmune disease, wrote to me, said she's worried — that she was worried about bringing the virus home. She said she then got vaccinated at a large site, in her car. She said she sat in her car when she got vaccinated and just cried, cried out of joy, and cried out of relief.

Parents seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, for those who are able to go back to school because the teachers and the school bus drivers and the cafeteria workers have been vaccinated. Grandparents, hugging their children and grandchildren, instead of pressing hands against the window to say goodbye. It means everything. Those things mean everything.

You know, there's still — you all know it, you know it better than any group of Americans — there's still more work to do to beat this virus. We can't let our guard down. But tonight, I can say, because of you, the American people, our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements this country has ever seen. What else have we done in those first 100 days?

We kept our commitment, Democrats and Republicans, of sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85 percent of American households. We've already sent more than 160 million checks out the door. It's making a difference. You all know it when you go home. For many people, it's making all the difference in the world.

A single mom in Texas who wrote me, she said she couldn't work. She said the relief check put food on the table and saved her and her son from eviction from their apartment. A grandmother in Virginia who told me she immediately took her granddaughter to the eye doctor, something she said she put off for months because she didn't have the money. One of the defining images, at least from my perspective, in this crisis has been cars lined up, cars lined up for miles. And not people just barely able to start those cars. Nice cars, lined up for miles, waiting for a box of food to be put in their trunk.

I don't know about you, but I didn't ever think I would see that in America. And all of this is through no fault of their own. No fault of their own, these people are in this position. That's why the rescue plan is delivering food and nutrition assistance to millions of Americans facing hunger. And hunger is down sharply already.

We're also providing rental assistance — you all know this, but the American people, I want to make sure they understand. Keeping people from being evicted from their homes. Providing loans to small businesses that reopen and keep their employees on the job. During these hundred days, an additional 800,000 Americans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act when I established a special sign-up period to do that — 800,000 in that period. We're making one of the largest one-time-ever investments, ever, in improving health care for veterans. Critical investments to address the opioid crisis. And maybe most importantly, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we're on track to cut child poverty in America in half this year.

And in the process, while this is all going on, the economy created more than 1,300,000 new jobs in 100 days. More jobs in the first — more jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record. The International Monetary Fund — the International Monetary Fund is now estimating our economy will grow at a rate of more than 6 percent this year. That will be the fastest pace of economic growth in this country in nearly four decades. America's moving, moving forward. But we can't stop now.

We're in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century. We're at a great inflection point in history. We have to do more than just build back better — than just build back, we have to build back better. We have to compete more strenuously than we have. Throughout our history, if you think about it, public investment in infrastructure has literally transformed America, our attitudes as well as our opportunities. The transcontinental railroad, interstate highways, united two oceans and brought a totally new age of progress to the United States of America.

Universal public schools and college aid opened wide the doors of opportunity. Scientific breakthroughs took us to the moon. Now we're on Mars, discovering vaccines, gave us the internet and so much more. These are investments we made together as one country. And investments that only the government was in a position to make. Time and again, they propel us into the future. That's why I propose the American Jobs Plan, a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself. This is the largest jobs plan since World War II.

It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure. Jobs modernizing our roads, bridges, highways. Jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors, transit lines. It's clean water. And today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and child care centers have pipes with lead in them, including drinking water, a clear and present danger to our children's health. The American Jobs Plan creates jobs replacing 100 percent of the nation's lead pipes and service lines so every American can drink clean water.

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In the process it will create thousands and thousands of good-paying jobs. It creates jobs connecting every American with high-speed internet, including 35 percent of the rural America that still doesn't have it. This is going to help our kids and our businesses succeed in the 21st century economy. And I'm asking the vice president to lead this effort, if she would, because I know it will get done.

It creates jobs, building a modern power grid. Our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, catastrophic failures — with tragic results, as we saw in Texas and elsewhere during the winter storms. The American Jobs Plan will create jobs that lay thousands of miles of transmission lines needed to build a resilient and fully clean grid. We can do that.

Look, the American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs and back to their careers. Two million women have dropped out of the work force during this pandemic. Two million. And too often, because they couldn't get the care they needed to care for their child or care for an elderly parent who needs help; 800,000 families are on the Medicare waiting list right now to get home care for their aging parent or loved one with disability. If you think it's not important, check out in your own district, Democrat or Republican. Democrat or Republican voters.

Their great concern, almost as much as the children, is taking care of an elderly loved one who can't be left alone. Medicaid contemplated it, but this plan is going to help those families and create jobs for our caregivers with better wages and better benefits, continuing a cycle of growth.

For too long we've failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis: Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. For me, when I think climate change, I think jobs. The American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy efficient buildings and homes. Electrical workers, I.B.E.W. members, installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways so we can own the electric car market. Farmers, farmers planting cover crops so they can reduce the carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it.

Look, think about it. There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can't be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing. No reason. None. No reason. So folks, there's no reason why Americans — American workers can't lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries. There is no reason. We have the capacity. They're best-trained people in the world. The American Jobs Plan is going to create millions of good-paying jobs, jobs Americans can raise a family on. As my dad would then say, with a little breathing room. And all the investments in the American Jobs Plan will be guided by one principle: Buy American. Buy American.

And I might note parenthetically, that does not violate any trade agreement. It's been the law since the '30s, buy American. American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products, made in America, to create American jobs. That's the way it's supposed to be, and it will be in this administration. And I made it clear to all my cabinet people, their ability to give exemptions has been strenuously limited. It will be American products.

Now, I know some of you at home are wondering whether these jobs are for you. So many of you, so many of the folks I grew up with, feel left behind, forgotten, in an economy that's so rapidly changing — it's frightening. I want to speak directly to you, because if you think about it, that's what people are most worried about. Can I fit in?

Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to economic growth in the years to come. It is an eight-year program. These are good-paying jobs that can't be outsourced. Nearly 90 percent of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree. Seventy-five percent don't require an associate's degree. The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America. That's what it is.

And I recognize something I've always said, in this chamber and the other, good guys and women on Wall Street. But Wall Street didn't build this country. The middle class built the country. And unions built the middle class. So that's why I'm calling on Congress to pass the Protect the Right to Organize Act, the PRO Act, and send it to my desk so we can support the right to unionize.

And by the way, while you're thinking about sending things to my desk, let's raise the minimum wage to $15. No one, no one working 40 hours a week, no one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line. We need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women. And while we're doing this, let's get the Paycheck Fairness Act to my desk as well. Equal pay. It's been much too long. And if you wonder whether it's been too long, look behind me.

And finally, the American Jobs Plan will be the biggest increase in nondefense research and development on record. We'll see more technological change — and some of you know more about this than I do — we'll see more technological change this the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50. That's how rapidly artificial intelligence, and so much more, is changing. And we're falling behind the competition with the rest of the world.

Decades ago, we used to invest 2 percent of our gross domestic product in America, 2 percent of our gross domestic product in research and development. Today, Mr. Secretary, that's less than 1 percent. China and other countries are closing in fast. We have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future. Advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, clean energy.

The secretary of defense can tell you — and those of you who work in national security issues know, the defense department has an agency called DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The people who set up before I came here — and that's been a long time ago — to develop breakthroughs that enhance our national security. That's their only job. And it's a semi-separate agency, it's under the Defense Department. It's led to everything from the discovery of the internet to GPS and so much more. It's enhanced our security.

The National Institutes of Health, the N.I.H, I believe, should create a similar advanced research projects agency for health. And that would — here's what it would do: It would have a singular purpose, to develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect and treat diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer. I'll still never forget when we passed the cancer proposal in the last year as vice president, almost $9 million going to N.I.H. You'll excuse the point of personal privilege. I'll never forget you standing, Mitch, and saying, name it after my deceased son. It meant a lot.

But so many of us have deceased sons, daughters and relatives who died of cancer. I can think of no more worthy investment. I know of nothing that is more bipartisan. So let's end cancer as we know it. It's within our power. It's within our power to do it.

Investments in jobs and infrastructure like the ones we're talking about, have often had bipartisan support in the past. Vice President Harris and I meet regularly in the Oval Office with Democrats and Republicans to discuss the jobs plan. And I applaud a group of Republican senators who just put forward their own proposal. So let's get to work. I wanted to lay out, before the Congress, my plan, before we go to into the deep discussions.

I would like to meet with those who have ideas that are different, that they think are better. I welcome those ideas. But the rest of the world is not waiting for us. I just want to be clear, from my perspective, doing nothing is not an option. Look, we can't be so busy competing with one another that we forget the competition that we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century.

Secretary Blinken can tell you, I spent a lot of time with President Xi — traveled over 17,000 miles with him, spent over 24 hours in private discussions with him. When he called congratulate, we had a two-hour discussion. He's deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world. He and others, autocrats, think that democracy can't compete in the 21st century with autocracies, because it takes too long to get consensus.

To win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children. That's why I introduced the American Families Plan tonight, which addresses four of the biggest challenges facing American families and, in turn, America. First is access to good education. This nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century. It made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world. It's, I believe, the overwhelming reason that propelled us to where we got in the 20th century.

#JointAddress President Joe Biden (source of transcript, NY Times, April 29, 2021)


April 29, 2021

Voices4America Post Script.To mark the most successful First 100 Days since FDR, POTUS addressed a Joint Session of Congress. The address itself recognized the historic dais behind him, demonstrated Joe's ever present grace and empathy, and put forth plans ambitious and transformational. No wonder 85% of those watching approved!

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