Takeaways from the 2023 State of the Union address


Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Martin via The Associated Press

On Feb. 7, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union Address to congress. During the 70-minute speech, Biden outlined his administration’s achievements and his hopes for the future. His remarks were as follows:


“We’re not finished yet, by any stretch of the imagination,” Biden said. “But unemployment rate is at 3.4 percent — a 50-year low. And near record unemployment for Black and Hispanic workers. We’ve already created, with your help, 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs — the fastest growth in 40 years.”


“We used to be number one in the world in infrastructure. We’ve sunk to 13th in the world. The United States of America — 13th in the world in infrastructure, modern infrastructure. But now we’re coming back, because we came together and passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System,” Biden said.

“Folks, already we’ve funded over 20,000 projects, including major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Portland — projects that are going to put thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, our bridges, our railroads, our tunnels, ports, airports, clean water, high-speed Internet all across America — urban, rural, Tribal.”


“Inflation has been a global problem because the pandemic disrupted our supply chains, and Putin’s unfair and brutal war in Ukraine disrupted energy supplies as well as food supplies, blocking all that grain in Ukraine,” Biden said. “But we’re better-positioned than any country on Earth right now. But we have more to do.”

“But here at home, inflation is coming down. Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 from their peak. Food inflation is coming down — not fast enough, but coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months, while take-home pay has gone up.”

Tax System

“The tax system is not fair. It is not fair. Look, the idea that in 2020, 55 of the largest corporations in America, the Fortune 500, made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal taxes? Zero. Folks, it’s simply not fair,” Biden said. “But now, because of the law I signed, billion-dollar companies have to pay a minimum of 15 percent. Fifteen percent. That’s less than a nurse pays.”

“Let me be crystal clear — I said at the very beginning: Under my plans, as long as I’m president, nobody earning less than $400,000 will pay an additional penny in taxes. Nobody. Not one penny.”


“We all know 12 years of education is not enough to win the economic competition of the 21st century. If we want to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to preschool for three and four years old,” Biden said. “Studies show that children who go to preschool are nearly 50 percent more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a two- or four-year degree, no matter their background they came from.”

“Let’s give public school teachers a raise. We’re making progress by reducing student debt, increasing Pell Grants for working and middle-class families. Let’s finish the job and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school, provide access to two years of community college — the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree.”


“While the virus is not gone, thanks to the resilience of the American people and the ingenuity of medicine, we’ve broken the COVID-grip on us. COVID deaths are down by 90 percent. We’ve saved millions of lives and opened up our country — we opened our country back up. And soon, we’ll end the public health emergency. But — that’s called a public health emergency. But we’ll remember the toll and pain that’s never going to go away,” Biden said.

“More than a million Americans lost their lives to COVID. A million. Families grieving, children orphaned, empty chairs at the dining room table constantly reminding you that she used to sit there. Remembering them, we remain vigilant. We still need to monitor dozens of variants and support new vaccines and treatments. So Congress needs to fund these efforts and keep America safe.”

George Floyd Act

“We also need more first responders and professionals to address the growing mental health, substance abuse challenges. More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime. More community intervention programs. More investments in housing, education and job training. All this can help prevent violence in the first place,” Biden said.

“And when police officers or police departments violate the public trust, they must be held accountable. With the support of families of victims, civil rights groups and law enforcement, I signed an executive order for all federal officers, banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants and other key elements of the George Floyd Act.”

Gun Violence

“Ban assault weapons now. Ban them now, once and for all,” Biden said. “I led the fight to do that in 1994. And in 10 years that ban was law, mass shootings went down. After we let it expire in a Republican administration, mass shootings tripled. Let’s finish the job and ban these assault weapons.”

Roe v. Wade

“Congress must restore the right that was taken away in Roe v. Wade — and protect Roe v. Wade. Give every woman the constitutional right,” Biden said. “The Vice President and I are doing everything to protect access to reproductive healthcare and safeguard patient safety. But already, more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans. Make no mistake about it: If Congress passes a national ban, I will veto it.”

Despite the many challenges that Americans face, Biden ended his State of the Union address on a more hopeful note.

“I’ve never been more optimistic about our future — about the future of America,” Biden said. “We just have to remember who we are. We’re the United States of America, and there’s nothing — nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”