Key proposals from President Biden’s State of the Union address

Written by on March 8, 2024

US Vice President Kamala Harris, from left, President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, March 7, 2024. — Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden delivered his third State of the Union address in the House chamber Thursday night, making a number of key proposals, from taxes for the wealthy to mortgage relief and abortion rights.

The speech also reiterated a commitment to a two-state solution for Israel, restoring Roe v. Wade, expanding border security and taxing billionaires living in the U.S.

Israel-Hamas war

With family members of American hostages being held by Hamas sitting in the chamber, Biden pledged to the families, “We will not rest until we bring their loved ones home.”

Biden addressed the “gut-wrenching” months since the Oct. 7 attack in Israel and expressed sympathy for the Israelis, Palestinians and Americans affected by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Biden called for a two-state solution — as he has in the past — and said it was the only “real resolution” to guarantee Israel’s security and democracy.

During his speech, Biden said he directed the U.S. military to lead “an emergency mission” to establish a temporary pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip that “can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters.”

The pier would enable a massive increase in humanitarian assistance, the president said, signaling to Israel that humanitarian aid cannot be a “secondary consideration or a bargaining chip.”

Roe v. Wade and in vitro fertilization

Biden also highlighted abortion in his speech. Without naming former President Trump, Biden said his predecessor came into office wanting to see Roe v. Wade overturned, saying, “In fact, he brags about it.”

Biden vowed if he were to take office again, he would restore Roe v. Wade as the “law of the land.”

He called on Congress to pass a bill that would legalize abortion services nationwide, as he has for nearly two years since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and called Republicans out for blocking a vote that would’ve implemented national protections for IVF.

“To my friends across the aisle, don’t keep this waiting any longer. Guarantee the right to IVF! Guarantee it nationwide,” Biden said.

Cost of housing, taxes and inflation

While outlining his plan for economic growth and tax policy goals for his second term, President Biden called out the tax breaks the wealthy and corporations received under the prior administration.

He vowed to tax American billionaires 25%, claiming it would “raise $500 billion over the next 10 years.” And he vowed to raise the corporate tax rate to 21%.

Under his proposal, he claimed that any American making under $400,000 will not pay any new federal taxes.

Biden also proposed a tax credit to give some Americans $400 a month to put toward their mortgage for two years. The credit would apply to those buying their first homes and those who “trade up for a little more space.”

He also said his administration was working to eliminate title insurance fees for federally backed mortgages.

Border security

Biden used his speech to call on Congress to send him the border bill that has been stalled, “We can fight about the border, or we can fix it. I’m ready to fix it.”

The bill would allow 1,500 border security agents and officers to be hired as well as 4,300 asylum officers.

The legislation, he said, would allow asylum cases to be resolved within six months instead of six years.

Under the bill, Biden said he could stem the tide of fentanyl by deploying 100 high-tech drug detection machines to increase the ability to screen and stop vehicles.

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