President Joe Biden delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress
President Joe Biden delivered his first address to Congress on April 28, 2021. This speech looked a lot different than years past, with an audience reduced from the typical 1,500 in-person guests to about 200 lawmakers in the House chamber.
President Biden began his speech with an optimistic look toward the future. With more than 230 million COVID-19 shots administered, and nearly 100 million fully vaccinated Americans, Biden encouraged viewers that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“We all know life can knock us down, but in America, we never ever stay down,” President Biden said. “Americans always get up. Today, that is what we are doing. American is rising.”
President Biden discussed a variety of topics including education, child poverty, immigration, healthcare, and economic growth. He also revealed major pillars of his American Family Plan.
In concluding his speech, the President said, “We are the United States of America. There is not a single thing…beyond our capacity. We can do whatever we set our mind to if we do it together. So let’s begin to get together.”
When a president addresses a joint session of Congress, it is often referred to as a State of the Union speech. However, there typically is no State of the Union address by a new president in their first year in office. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan spoke before a joint session. Since then, each newly elected president has addressed a joint session.
Find out more about the history of the State of the Union Address from the House Historian’s website.