In his first State of the Union address to the Congress, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (local time) called his multi-trillion proposal for domestic investment as the key to challenging China’s dominance and strengthening the US’s position on the world stage.
Speaking at a time when the world is grappling with the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Biden held out optimism and hope in his address and spelt out the roadmap for the United States.
“We’re in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century. We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better. Throughout our history, public investments and infrastructure have transformed America,” Biden said.
LIVE: President Biden delivers his first address to a Joint Session of Congress. https://t.co/tuJTTxgdAX
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 29, 2021
“Farmers planting cover crops, so they can reduce carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it. There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing. No reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries,” he added.
He further stated that ‘The American Jobs Plan’ will create millions of good-paying jobs– “jobs Americans can raise their families on.” And all the investments in the American Jobs Plan will be guided by one principle: ‘Buy American’.
The President also appealed for bipartisanship framing the need for consensus domestically as a means for the US to maintain competitiveness globally, particularly with China.
“Investments in jobs and infrastructure like the ones we’re talking about have often had bipartisan support. Vice President Harris and I meet regularly in the Oval Office with Democrats and Republicans to discuss the American Jobs Plan. And I applaud a group of Republican Senators who just put forward their proposal. So, let’s get to work,” the President said during his first address.
He continued: “I wanted to lay out to Congress my plan before we got into the deep discussion. I’d like to meet with those who have ideas that are different. We welcome ideas. But the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us. I just want to be clear: from my perspective, doing nothing is not an option. Look, we can’t be so busy competing with one another and forget the competition we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century.”
Biden went on to describe a two-hour conversation he had with Chinese President Xi Jinping upon taking office.
“He’s deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world. He and others, autocrats, think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies. It takes too long to get consensus,” he said.
Under the former President Donald Trump’s administration, ties between the two countries had deteriorated over issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, encroachment on the special status of Hong Kong, accusations of unfair trade practices by Beijing, lack of transparency concerning the pandemic and China’s military aggression in various parts of the world.
President Biden finished his address with a message of hope for Americans who overcame a year of tumult, stating that he is “more confident or optimistic about America.”
(With ANI inputs)