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Joe Biden calls for police reform and assault weapons ban, touts COVID-19 vaccine rollout in first speech to Congress
This week, President Joe Biden made his first address to Congress ahead of his first 100 days in office. During his remarks, Biden touted the country’s vaccine rollout while also calling for police reforms and repeating his call to ban assault weapons.
Biden’s first speech to a joint session of Congress touted the country’s speed in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts while also calling for police reforms following the verdict given to Derek Chauvin. Biden also recognized the historic moment when two women were seated on the dais behind him, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Biden also touched on other aspects like the “war on immigration” and defended his reasons for proposing a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans.
Biden also cited all the achievements his administration has made in these first 100 days in office so far. Biden also laid out his vision under his presidency moving forward. Biden urged Congress to finally pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill that seeks to bolster accountability among police officers and ban certain moves that have proved to be fatal. Biden said urged Congress to pass the bill next month, ahead of the anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
Adding onto the topic of police reforms, Biden also touched on firearms reforms, reiterating his call to ban assault weapons to combat the gun violence that the country has long been facing. Biden also called to reinstate the Violence Against Women Act to reduce domestic and sexual violence. Biden cited that over 50 women have been shot and killed by their partners every month.
When it came to the tax increase on the rich, Biden defended his proposals. Biden said that it is fiscally responsible, and he is not proposing this to “punish anyone.” Republicans have criticized Biden’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy despite the 2017 tax cuts the GOP made for the same class of Americans.
Following Biden’s remarks, Republican Senator Tim Scott gave the GOP’s formal rebuttal to his speech and his points. Scott, the sole Black American Senator under the Republican party, said that the US is not a racist country and that the painful history of the US should not be used to “dishonestly shut down debates in the present.” In response to Scott’s comments, Biden agreed that while the US is not racist, there is still a lot of work to do to address systemic racism.
“No, I don’t think the American people are racist,” said Biden. “But I think after 400 years, African Americans have been left in a position where they’re so far behind the eight ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity.”