Key moments from Biden’s joint session of Congress

AOC and Ilhan Omar lead left-wing criticisms of Biden joint session speech

President calls for major investment in social welfare programmes

Namita Singh
Thursday 29 April 2021 07:44
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Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar took to Twitter as they led the left-wing criticism after the US president, Joe Biden, delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Acknowledging the contribution of activists in highlighting human rights issues in the country, Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Not enough credit is given to the countless activists, organisers, and advocates whose relentless work is why we are even hearing anything about universal childcare, white supremacy as terrorism, labour, and living wages tonight. Yet we cannot stop until it’s done. Keep going.”

Ms Omar led the demand for Medicare for all: “If you say you believe health care is a right and not a privilege, then support Medicare 4 All.”

In a sweeping speech delivered on the eve of his 100th day in office, Mr Biden called for a major investment in social welfare programs as he used the opportunity to sell than ambitious agenda of climate change and the newly announced $1.8 trillion (£1.3 trillion) packages of investment in schooling, child care and aid to families under American Families Plan.

“To win that competition for the future, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families – in our children,” he said as he introduced the American Families Plan aimed at helping the nation recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“First, access to a good education. When this nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated and best-prepared nation in the world. But the world is catching up. They are not waiting. Twelve years is no longer enough today to compete in the 21st Century.

“That’s why the American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America – starting as early as we can.”

He added that the plan also provides two years of education at community college free of cost.

Mr Biden also called white supremacy “the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today”.

“My fellow Americans, we have to come together. To rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. To root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system. And to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already,” he said.

He said he hoped to pass the Equality Act, aimed at protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans. “To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back.”

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