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Biden unveils a ‘unity agenda’ at his first State of the Union address


U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., U.S.A, Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Saul Loeb | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to accomplish two difficult tasks in his first State of the Union address. As the U.S. longstanding ally, Ukraine is fighting a Russian invasion, the first task was to get public support. 

Biden had to come up with a plan for an alternative domestic policy strategy that would allow his party to move on from the disastrous collapse of their Build Back Better bill.

Biden spoke before the House Chamber that was nearly entirely unmaskless, stating that Vladimir Putin will pay heavy consequences for his miscalculations regarding NATO and international order. 

He stated that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine would have made Russia less powerful and strengthened the rest of the world when history is recorded.

Biden said, “In the struggle between democracy and autocracy,” to applause from Republicans and Democrats.

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Biden made the announcement that US will prohibit Russian planes from passing through American airspace. This announcement follows similar actions by Canada and the European Union.

This was the latest in a series of sanctions against Moscow and its vassal countries that NATO and G-7 have imposed.

Biden stated Tuesday that the United States did not intend to slow down its pace with penalties. Biden said that the United States was increasing penalties to some Russian oligarchs. 

“Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime — no more,” said Biden. 

The Justice Department, he stated, “will join our European allies in finding and seizing your yachts. Your luxury apartments. Private jets. Your ill-gotten gains are our goal. 

However, it wasn’t clear Wednesday if any punitive measures taken by the international community would affect Putin’s decisions in Ukraine. 

The entrance of the station at Kyiv (Ukraine), Tuesday March 1, 2022 is guarded by a soldier.

Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

In desperate attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government headed by President Volodymyr Zeleskyy, Russia’s military was poised to bring tens of thousands of more troops into Kyiv as dawn broke Wednesday. 

Biden however saw the need to bring together Americans in support of a common goal Tuesday as something that went far beyond Ukraine.

He said half-way through his hour-long speech, “While it sometimes appears that we don’t agree,” “I signed 80 bipartisan bills into law last year — from preventing government shutdowns to protecting Asian-Americans from still-too-common hate crimes, to reforming military justice,” he said. 

In keeping with these bipartisan, unifying issues, Biden introduced what he called a “Unity Agenda for the Nation” — four policy goals that he said enjoy broad bipartisan support among Republicans and Democrats, centrists and ideologues.

  • The opioid crisis is being addressed with new programs.
  • Biden announced a plan for addressing the mental decline of children who “have had their lives and education turned upside down by the pandemic.”
  • Veterans receive more funding, and better medical care. 
  • This advanced research program is similar to DARPA’s top secret Defense Department, but it would end all forms of cancer. 

He stated, “It’s important that we show the nation how we can work together and accomplish great things.” 

It is unclear whether Biden’s domestic plans will become a reality, given that 2022 marks an election year. Also, polls have shown Americans to be deeply divided by ideological and party lines. 

The most recent Washington Post-ABCLate February poll showed that Biden received the lowest job approval score of all his presidencies, just 37% approval to 55% disapproval.