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5 takeaways from President Joe...

5 takeaways from President Joe Biden’s first big speech to Congress

April 29, 2021Updated: April 29, 2021 12:19 p.m.

In his first address in front of a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden discussed a number of pressing topics, including pitching his American Families Plan and updates on his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The speech itself was hopeful in tone and ambitious in the scope of Biden’s proposals. If you were glued to San Antonio’s Tornado Warning instead of the State of the Union, here’s a quick synopsis. 

Here are 5 takeaways from Biden’s first big speech in Congress:

  • History was made: Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris made history together during President Biden’s address to Congress. The vice president and House speaker became the first two women to share the stage during the joint session of Congress, marking a symbolic milestone almost 245 years in the making. And Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff made Twitter swoon.

  • American Jobs Plan: Biden tackled his proposed American Jobs Plan early on in the address, which is a $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan that will create jobs with transportation projects, upgrading electric grids (TBD on whether this will ever include Texas), improving drinking-water infrastructure, building units of affordable housing, and upgrading public schools. He urged lawmakers from both parties to embrace a sweeping new vision for public benefits, financed by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

  • American Families Plan: Biden followed that by pitching his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that seeks to expand access to education, reduce the cost of child care, and support women in the workforce (the hardest hit group during the pandemic) – $225 billion would go toward covering child care for low-income and middle-class parents of kids 5 or younger.

  • Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina: Immediately following Biden’s address, Scott delivered the GOP rebuttal, emphasizing that he believes the U.S. does not have a race problem. Scott said the president’s American Families Plan is a “big government waste.”He followed by saying, “America is not a racist country,” invoking his own experience as a Black man from the South. “It’s wrong to try to use our painful past to try to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”

  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz nodded off during speech: More than an hour after taking the podium, Biden was discussing his administration’s plans for immigration reform when cameras cut to Cruz who appeared to catching some zzz’s. Cruz tweeted about the moment, writing #BoredButRadical. Others didn’t quite like it on Twitter. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah tweeted, “Looks like Ted’s eyes are hooked up to his state’s power grid.” Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro called him “Ted Snuz” while his brother Julián Castro stated Cruz is taking a “siesta” and is “asleep on the job as usual.”