Biden mentions importance of food, competition in State of the Union speech
In a State of the Union speech late Tuesday that was dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden mentioned the importance of food several times, promoted the bipartisan infrastructure bill and said capitalism must include competition.
“We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced,” Biden said.
“The pandemic has been punishing.
“And so many families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more.
“I remember when my dad had to leave our home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to find work. I grew up in a family where if the price of food went up, you felt it.
“That’s why one of the first things I did as president was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan. Because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did.
“Few pieces of legislation have done more in a critical moment in our history to lift us out of crisis.
“It fueled our efforts to vaccinate the nation and combat COVID-19. It delivered immediate economic relief for tens of millions of Americans.
“Helped put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads, and cut the cost of health insurance.
“And as my dad used to say, it gave people a little breathing room.”
Later in the speech, Biden noted that American roads, bridges and airports have fallen from being the best on Earth to 13th in the world.
He said, “We won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st century if we don’t fix that.
“That’s why it was so important to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — the most sweeping investment to rebuild America in history.
“This was a bipartisan effort, and I want to thank the members of both parties who worked to make it happen.
“We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks. We’re going to have an infrastructure decade.
“It is going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century that we face with the rest of the world — particularly with China.
“As I’ve told Xi Jinping, it is never a good bet to bet against the American people.
“We’ll create good jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing roads, airports, ports, and waterways all across America.
“And we’ll do it all to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.
“We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin to replace poisonous lead pipes, so every child — and every American — has clean water to drink at home and at school, provide affordable high-speed Internet for every American — urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities.”
Biden also said, “I’m a capitalist, but capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism.
“It’s exploitation — and it drives up prices.
“When corporations don’t have to compete, their profits go up, your prices go up, and small businesses and family farmers and ranchers go under.
“We see it happening with ocean carriers moving goods in and out of America.
“During the pandemic, these foreign-owned companies raised prices by as much as 1,000% and made record profits.
“Tonight, I’m announcing a crackdown on these companies overcharging American businesses and consumers.”
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