|Date||April 28, 2021|
|Time||9:00 p.m. EDT|
|Duration||1 hour, 5 minutes|
|Venue||House Chamber, United States Capitol|
|Type||Speech to Congress|
|Previous||2020 State of the Union Address|
|Next||2022 State of the Union Address|
Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States, addressed a joint session of the United States Congress on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the eve of his 100th day in office. It was his first public address before a joint session. Similar to a State of the Union Address, it was delivered before the 117th United States Congress in the Chamber of the House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. Presiding over this joint session was the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by Kamala Harris, the vice president in her capacity as the president of the Senate―the first time two women and two Californians presided over an address to Congress, seated on the rostrum behind the president.
Speaker Pelosi invited Biden to address a joint session on April 13, 2021, asking him to "share [his] vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities" of the time. Biden delivered his speech on the 99th day of his presidency amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, campaign to vaccinate Americans, ratification of the American Rescue Plan, Democratic efforts to advance legislation on infrastructure, guns, social justice, and voting rights, Derek Chauvin's conviction in the murder of George Floyd, and planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Security and public health measures
The joint session was designated a National Special Security Event due to an ongoing security threat to Congress that began with the storming of the Capitol in January 2021. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, face covering requirements and social distancing were used to protect attendees, and members of Congress were not allowed to invite guests, breaking with tradition. Measures were coordinated by the House Sergeant of Arms and Attending Physician. A limited number of members of Congress were in attendance; overall, 200 people were gathered in the House Chamber. No designated survivor was chosen because Cabinet members watched the address remotely.
Biden's address centered on his plans to expand the size and scope of the federal government to create blue-collar jobs, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, reduce economic inequality, and invest in early childhood education, community colleges, infrastructure, research, and technology in the fight against climate change. He cited the COVID-19 economic recovery and vaccination campaign as successes during his first 100 days in office.
Biden used the word "jobs" 43 times during the speech. He proposed the American Families Plan, a US$1.8 trillion package that includes new spending on child care, education, and paid leave. He asserted that autocratic adversaries, such as Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, see political divisiveness among Americans as "proof that the sun is setting on American democracy" and that America is "too riven by hostility to effectively govern." On racial justice, he declared that Congress should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, to eliminate systemic racism in housing, education and public health. Biden declared that the "forever war in Afghanistan" will end with the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Working Families Party
Biden's speech, total cable and network viewers
Scott's response, total cable and network viewers
Broadcast networks Cable news networks
- First 100 days of Joe Biden's presidency
- List of joint sessions of the United States Congress
- 2022 State of the Union Address
- Battle for the Soul of the Nation speech
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- on YouTube by The White House
- President Biden Addresses Joint Session Congress on C-SPAN
- Senator Tim Scott Delivers Joint Session Republican Response on C-SPAN
- Senator Tim Scott Delivers Joint Session Republican Response (transcript)