[House Document 117-1]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

117th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 117-1







                              OF CONGRESS


   April 30, 2021.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
 Committee on the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to 
                               be printed



19-011 			   WASHINGTON : 2021

To the Congress of the United States:
    Madam Speaker. Madam Vice President. No President has ever 
said those words from this podium, and it's about time. The 
First Lady. The Second Gentleman. Mr. Chief Justice. Members of 
the United States Congress and the Cabinet. My fellow 
    While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is 
very different--a reminder of the extraordinary times we are 
    Throughout our history, Presidents have come to this 
chamber to speak to the Congress, to the Nation, and to the 
    To declare war. To celebrate peace. To announce new plans 
and possibilities.
    Tonight, I come to talk about crisis--and opportunity. 
About rebuilding our Nation--and revitalizing our democracy. 
And winning the future. For America.
    As I stand here tonight--just one day shy of the 100th day 
of my Administration. 100 days since I took the oath of 
office--lifted my hand off our family Bible--and inherited a 
nation in crisis. The worst pandemic in a century. The worst 
economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on 
our democracy since the Civil War.
    Now--after just 100 days--I can report to the Nation: 
    Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. 
Setback into strength. Life can knock us down. But in America--
we never stay down. In America--we always get up.
    And today--that's what we're doing: America is rising anew.
    Choosing hope over fear. Truth over lies. Light over 
    After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for 
    We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. 
Leading the world again.
    We have shown each other--and the world: There is no quit 
in America.
    100 days ago, America's house was on fire. We had to act.
    And thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Speaker 
Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer--
    And with the overwhelming support of the American people--
Democrats, Independents, and Republicans--we did act.
    Together--we passed the American Rescue Plan. One of the 
most consequential rescue packages in American history.
    We're already seeing the results.
    After I promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 
days--we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in 100 
days. We're marshalling every Federal resource. We've gotten 
the vaccine to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community 
health centers.
    We're setting up community vaccination sites and are 
deploying mobile units into hard-to-reach areas.
    Today, 90% of Americans now live within 5 miles of a 
vaccination site.
    Everyone--over the age of 16--everyone--is now eligible and 
can get vaccinated right away.
    So, get vaccinated now.
    When I was sworn in, less than 1% of seniors were fully is 
now vaccinated against COVID-19.
    100 days later, nearly 70% of seniors are fully protected.
    Senior deaths from COVID-19 are down 80% since January. 
Down 80%. And, more than half of all adults in America have 
gotten at least one shot.
    At a mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona, I asked 
a nurse what it's like. She looked and said every shot feels 
like a dose of hope.
    A dose of hope for the educator in Florida who has a child 
who suffers from an auto-immune disease. She wrote to me that 
she was worried about bringing the virus home. When she got 
vaccinated, she sat in her car and just cried. Cried out of 
joy, Cried out of relief.
    Parents are seeing smiles on their kids' faces--as they go 
back to school--because teachers and school bus drivers, 
cafeteria workers have been vaccinated.
    Grandparents--hugging their children and grandchildren 
instead of pressing their hands against a window to say 
goodbye. It means everything to both of them.
    There's still more work to do--to beat this virus. We can't 
let our guard down now.
    But tonight--I can say because of you--the American 
people--our progress these past 100 days against one of the 
worst pandemics in history is one of the greatest logistical 
achievements our country has ever seen.
    What else have we done these first 100 days?
    We kept our commitment and we are sending $1,400 rescue 
checks to 85% of all American households.
    We've already sent more than 160 million checks out the 
    It's making a difference. For many people, it's making all 
the difference in the world.
    A single mom in Texas wrote to me. She said when she 
couldn't work--this relief check put food on the table and 
saved her and her son from eviction.
    A grandmother in Virginia told me she immediately took her 
granddaughter to the eye doctor--something she put off for 
months because she didn't have the money.
    One of the defining images of this crisis--has been cars 
lined up for miles--waiting for a box of food to be put in the 
    Did you ever think you'd see that in America?
    That's why the American Rescue Plan is delivering food and 
nutrition assistance to millions of Americans facing hunger and 
hunger is down sharply already.
    We're also providing: Rental assistance to keep people from 
being evicted from their homes.
    Providing loans to keep small businesses open and their 
employees on the job.
    During these 100 days an additional 800,000 Americans 
enrolled in the Affordable Care Act because I established a 
special sign up period to do that.
    We're making one of the largest one-time investments EVER 
in improving health care for veterans.
    Critical investments to address the opioid crisis.
    And, maybe most importantly--thanks to the American Rescue 
Plan--we are on track to cut child poverty in America in half 
this year.
    In the process the economy created more than 1.3 million 
new jobs in 100 days.
    More new jobs in the first 100 days--than any President on 
    The International Monetary Fund is now estimating our 
economy will grow at a rate of more than 6% this year.
    That will be the fastest pace of economic growth in this 
country in nearly four decades.
    America is moving. Moving forward. And we can't stop now.
    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.
    The transcontinental railroad and interstate highways 
united two oceans and brought us into a totally new age of 
    Universal public school and college aid opened wide the 
doors of opportunity.
    Scientific breakthroughs took us to the Moon and now to 
Mars, discovered vaccines, and gave us the Internet and so much 
    These are the investments we make together, as one country, 
and that only government can make.
    Time and again--they propel us into the future.
    That's why I proposed the American Jobs Plan--a once-in-a-
generation investment in America itself. The largest jobs plan 
since World War II.
    It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation 
infrastructure. Jobs modernizing roads, bridges and highways. 
Jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors and transit 
    It's clean water.
    Today--up to 10 million homes--and more than 400,000 
schools and child care centers--have pipes with lead in them, 
including for drinking water.
    A clear and present danger to our children's health.
    The American Jobs Plan creates jobs replacing 100% of the 
Nation's lead pipes and service lines--so every American--so 
every child--can turn on the faucet and be certain to drink 
clean water.
    It creates jobs connecting every American with high-speed 
internet, including 35% of rural Americans who still don't have 
    This will help our kids and businesses succeed in a 21st 
Century economy. And I am asking the Vice President to help 
lead this effort.
    It creates jobs by building a modern power grid. Our grids 
are vulnerable to storms, hacks, and catastrophic failures--
with tragic results as we saw in Texas and elsewhere during 
winter storms.
    The American Jobs Plan will create jobs to lay thousands of 
miles of transmission lines needed to build a resilient and 
fully clean grid.
    The American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get 
back to their jobs and their careers.
    2 million women have dropped out of the workforce during 
this pandemic--too often because they couldn't get the care 
they need for their family, their children.
    800,000 families are on a Medicaid waiting list right now 
to get homecare for their aging parent or loved one with a 
    This plan will help these families and create jobs for our 
caregivers with better wages and better benefits.
    For too long, we have failed to use the most important word 
when it comes to meeting the climate crisis. Jobs. Jobs. For 
me, when I think about climate change, I think jobs.
    The American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction 
workers to work building more energy efficient buildings and 
    Electrical workers--installing 500,000 charging stations 
along our highways.
    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.
    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.''
    American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American 
products made in America that create American jobs. The way it 
should be.
    Now, I know some of you at home are wondering whether these 
jobs are for you. You feel left behind and forgotten in an 
economy that's rapidly changing.
    Let me speak directly to you.
    Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will 
add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic 
growth for years to come. These are good-paying jobs that can't 
be outsourced.
    Nearly 90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the 
American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree. 75% do not 
require an associate's degree.
    The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build 
America. And, it recognizes something I've always said. Wall 
Street didn't build this country. The middle class built this 
country. And unions build the middle class.
    And that's why I'm calling on Congress to pass the 
Protecting the Right to Organize Act--the PRO Act--and send it 
to my desk to support the right to unionize.
    By the way, let's also pass the $15 minimum wage. No one 
should work 40 hours a week and still live below the poverty 
    And we need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for 
women. Let's get the Paycheck Fairness Act to my desk for equal 
pay. It's long past time.
    Finally, the American Jobs Plan will be the biggest 
increase in non-defense research and development on record.
    We will see more technological change in the next 10 years 
than we saw in the last 50 years.
    And we're falling behind in that competition.
    Decades ago, we used to invest 2% of our GDP on research 
and development.
    Today, we spend less than 1%. China and other countries are 
closing in fast.
    We have to develop and dominate the products and 
technologies of the future--advanced batteries, biotechnology, 
computer chips, and clean energy. The Defense Department has an 
agency called DARPA--the Defense Advanced Research Projects 
Agency--that's there to develop breakthroughs to enhance our 
national security--which led to the internet and GPS and so 
much more.
    The National Institutes of Health, the NIH, should create a 
similar Advanced Research Projects Agency--for Health.
    To develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat 
diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer.
    This is personal to so many of us. I can think of no more 
worthy investment. And I know of nothing that is more 
    Let's end cancer as we know it. It's within our power.
    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. We welcome ideas. But, the rest of 
the world isn't waiting for us. Doing nothing is not an option.
    We can't be so busy competing with each other that we 
forget the competition is with the rest of the world to win the 
21st Century.
    To win that competition for the future, we also need to 
make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families--in our 
    That's why I'm introducing the American Families Plan 
tonight, which addresses four of the biggest challenges facing 
American families today.
    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.
    12 years is no longer enough today to compete in the 21st 
    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.
    We add two years of universal high-quality pre-school for 
every 3- and 4-year-old in America.
    The research shows that when a young child goes to school--
not day care--they are far more likely to graduate from high 
school and go on to college.
    And then we add two years of free community college.
    And we will increase Pell Grants and investment in 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, 
and Minority-Serving Institutions.
    Jill is a community college professor who teaches today as 
First Lady. She has long said any country that out-educates us 
is going to outcompete us--and she'll be leading this effort.
    Second, the American Families plan will provide access to 
quality, affordable child care. We guarantee that low- to 
middle-income families will pay no more than 7% of their income 
for high-quality care for children up to the age of 5. The most 
hard-pressed working families won't have to spend a dime.
    Third, the American Families Plan will finally provide up 
to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. No one should 
have to choose between a job and paycheck or taking care of 
themselves and a loved one--a parent, spouse, or child.
    And fourth, the American Families Plan puts money directly 
into the pockets of millions of families. In March we expanded 
a tax credit for every child in a family. Up to a $3,000 Child 
Tax Credit for children over 6--and $3,600 for children under 
6. With two parents, two kids, that's up to $7,200 in your 
pocket to help take care of your family. This will help more 
than 65 million children and help cut child poverty in half 
this year. Together, let's extend the Child Tax Credit at least 
through the end of 2025.
    The American Rescue Plan lowered health care premiums for 9 
million Americans who buy their coverage under the Affordable 
Care Act. Let's make that provision permanent so their premiums 
don't go back up.
    In addition to my Families Plan, I will work with Congress 
to address--this year--other critical priorities for America's 
    The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of 
Americans--protecting people with pre-existing conditions, 
protecting women's health. And the pandemic has demonstrated 
how badly it is needed. Let's lower deductibles for working 
families on the Affordable Care Act.
    And let's lower prescription drug costs. We all know how 
outrageously expensive they are. In fact, we pay the highest 
prescription drug prices in the world right here in America--
nearly three times as much as other countries. We can change 
    Let's do what we've always talked about. Let's give 
Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by 
negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs. That won't 
just help people on Medicare--it will lower prescription drug 
costs for everyone. The money we save can go to strengthen the 
Affordable Care Act--expand Medicare coverage and benefits--
without costing taxpayers one additional penny. We've talked 
about it long enough--Democrats and Republicans. Let's get it 
done this year.
    This is all about a simple premise: Health care should be a 
right, not a privilege in America.
    So how do we pay for my Jobs and Family Plans? I've made 
clear that we can do it without increasing deficits. Let's 
start with what I will not do. I will not impose any tax 
increases on people making less than $400,000 a year.
    It's time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of 
Americans to pay their fair share. Just pay their fair share.
    A recent study shows that 55 of the nation's biggest 
corporations paid zero in Federal income tax last year. No 
Federal taxes on more than $40 billion in profits. A lot of 
companies evade taxes through tax havens from Switzerland to 
Bermuda to the Cayman Islands. And they benefit from tax 
loopholes and deductions that allow for offshoring jobs and 
shifting profits overseas. That's not right. We're going to 
reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair share--and help 
pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit 
    And, we're going to reward work, not wealth. We take the 
top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1% of Americans--those 
making $400,000 or more--back up to 39.6%. That's where it was 
when George W. Bush became president.
    We're going to get rid of the loopholes that allow 
Americans who make more than $1 million a year pay a lower rate 
on their capital gains than working Americans pay on their 
work. This will only affect three tenths of 1% of all 
    And the IRS will crack down on millionaires and 
billionaires who cheat on their taxes. That's estimated to be 
billions of dollars.
    Look, I'm not out to punish anyone. But I will NOT add to 
the tax burden of the middle class of this country. They're 
already paying enough. What I've proposed is fair. It's 
fiscally responsible. It raises the revenue to pay for the 
plans I've proposed that will create millions of jobs and grow 
the economy.
    When you hear someone say that they don't want to raise 
taxes on the wealthiest 1% and on corporate America--ask them: 
whose taxes are you going to raise instead, and whose are you 
going to cut?
    Look at the big tax cut in 2017. It was supposed to pay for 
itself and generate vast economic growth. Instead it added $2 
trillion to the deficit. It was a huge windfall for corporate 
America and those at the very top.
    Instead of using the tax savings to raise wages and invest 
in research and development, it poured billions of dollars into 
the pockets of CEOs. In fact, the pay gap between CEOs and 
their workers is now among the largest in history.
    According to one study, CEOs make 320 times what their 
average workers make. The pandemic has only made things worse. 
20 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic--working- 
and middle-class Americans.
    At the same time, the roughly 650 billionaires in America 
saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion.
    Let me say that again.
    Just 650 people increased their wealth by more than $1 
trillion during this pandemic.
    They are now worth more than $4 trillion.
    My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never 
    It's time to grow the economy from the bottom up and 
    A broad consensus of economists--left, right, center--agree 
that what I'm proposing will help create millions of jobs and 
generate historic economic growth. These are among the highest 
value investments we can make as a nation.
    I've often said that our greatest strength is the power of 
our example--not just the example of our power.
    And in my conversations with world leaders--many I've known 
for a long time--the comment I hear most often is: we see that 
America is back--but for how long?
    My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we are 
back, but that we are here to stay.
    And that we aren't going it alone--we're going to be 
leading with our allies.
    No one nation can deal with all the crises of our time 
alone--from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to mass 
migration, cybersecurity, climate change--and as we're 
experiencing now, pandemics.
    There's no wall high enough to keep any virus away.
    As our own vaccine supply grows to meet our needs--and we 
are meeting them--we will become an arsenal of vaccines for 
other countries--just as America was the arsenal of democracy 
in World War II.
    The climate crisis is not our fight alone, either. It's a 
global fight.
    The United States accounts for less than 15% of carbon 
    The rest of the world accounts for 85%.
    That's why I kept my commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate 
Agreement on my first day in office.
    And I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit right 
here in America, with all of the major economies of the world--
from China and Russia to India and the European Union in my 
first 100 days.
    I wanted the world to see that there is consensus that we 
are at an inflection point in history.
    And the consensus is if we act, we can save the planet--and 
we can create millions of jobs and economic growth and 
opportunity to raise the standard of living for everyone in the 
    The investments I've proposed tonight also advance a 
foreign policy that benefits the middle class.
    That means making sure every nation plays by the same rules 
in the global economy, including China.
    In my discussion with President Xi, I told him that we 
welcome the competition--and that we are not looking for 
    But I made absolutely clear that I will defend American 
interests across the board.
    America will stand up to unfair trade practices that 
undercut American workers and industries, like subsidies for 
state-owned enterprises and the theft of American technologies 
and intellectual property.
    I also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong 
military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO 
in Europe--not to start conflict--but to prevent conflict.
    And, I told him what I've said to many world leaders--that 
America won't back away from our commitment to human rights and 
fundamental freedoms.
    No responsible American President can remain silent when 
basic human rights are violated.
    A President has to represent the essence of our country.
    America is an idea--unique in the world. We are all created 
equal. It's who we are. We cannot walk away from that 
    With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin 
that while we don't seek escalation, their actions have 
    I responded in a direct and proportionate way to Russia's 
interference in our elections and cyber-attacks on our 
government and businesses--and they did both of those things 
and I did respond.
    But we can also cooperate when it's in our mutual 
    As we did when we extended the New START Treaty on nuclear 
arms--and as we're working to do on the climate crisis.
    On Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs that present a 
serious threat to America's security and world security--we 
will be working closely with our allies to address the threats 
posed by both of these countries through diplomacy and stern 
    And American leadership means ending the forever war in 
    We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the 
    And I'm the first President in 40 years who knows what it 
means to have had a child serving in a warzone.
    Today we have service members serving in the same war as 
their parents once did.
    We have service members in Afghanistan who were not yet 
born on 9/11. War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-
generational undertaking of nation-building. We went to 
Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. We 
delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden and we degraded the 
terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
    After 20 years of American valor and sacrifice, it's time 
to bring our troops home.
    Even as we do, we will maintain an over-the-horizon 
capability to suppress future threats to the homeland.
    But make no mistake--the terrorist threat has evolved 
beyond Afghanistan since 2001 and we will remain vigilant 
against threats to the United States, wherever they come from.
    Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other 
places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond.
    And, we won't ignore what our own intelligence agencies 
have determined--the most lethal terrorist threat to the 
homeland today is from white supremacist terrorism.
    And my fellow Americans, we must come together to heal the 
soul of this Nation.
    It was nearly a year ago before her father's funeral, when 
I spoke with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd's young daughter. As I 
knelt down to talk to her so we could talk eye-to-eye, she said 
to me, ``Daddy changed the world.''
    After the conviction of George Floyd's murderer, we can see 
how right she was--if we have the courage to act.
    We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black 
    Now is our opportunity to make real progress.
    Most men and women in uniform wear their badge and serve 
their communities honorably.
    I know them. I know they want to help meet this moment as 
    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.
    I know the Republicans have their own ideas and are engaged 
in productive discussions with Democrats. We need to work 
together to find a consensus. Let's get it done next month, by 
the first anniversary of George Floyd's death. The country 
supports this reform. Congress should act.
    We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral 
universe toward justice. Real justice.
    And with the plans I outlined tonight, we have a real 
chance to root out systemic racism that plagues American life 
in many other ways. A chance to deliver real equity. Good jobs 
and good schools. Affordable housing. Clean air and clean 
    Being able to generate wealth and pass it down through 
generations. Real opportunities in the lives of more 
Americans--Black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native 
    I also want to thank the Senate for voting 94-1 to pass the 
COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian Americans and Pacific 
Islanders from the vicious hate crimes we've seen this past 
year--and for too long.
    I urge the House to do the same and send that legislation 
to my desk as soon as possible.
    I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to 
protect 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.
    And another thing. Let's reauthorize the Violence Against 
Women Act, which has been law in this country for 27 years 
since I first wrote it.
    It will close the so-called ``boyfriend'' loophole to keep 
guns out of the hands of abusers. It's estimated that more than 
50 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner--every 
month in America. Pass it and save lives.
    And I need not tell anyone this, but gun violence is an 
epidemic in America.
    Our flag at the White House was still flying at half-staff 
for the 8 victims of the mass shooting in Georgia, when 10 more 
lives were taken in a mass shooting in Colorado.
    In the week between those mass shootings, more than 250 
other Americans were shot dead. 250 shot dead.
    I know how hard it is to make progress on this issue.
    In the 1990s, we passed universal background checks and a 
ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold 
100 rounds that can be fired in seconds.
    We beat the NRA. Mass shootings and gun violence declined.
    But in the early 2000's, that law expired and we've seen 
the daily bloodshed since.
    More than two weeks ago in the Rose Garden, surrounded by 
some of the bravest people I know--the survivors and families 
who lost loved ones to gun violence--I laid out several steps 
the Department of Justice is taking to end this epidemic.
    One of them is banning so-called ``ghost guns.'' They are 
homemade guns built from a kit that includes the directions on 
how to finish the firearm. The parts have no serial numbers, so 
when they show up at a crime scene, they can't be traced.
    The buyers of ghost gun kits aren't required to pass a 
background check. Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist could 
buy this kit and, in as little as 30 minutes, put together a 
lethal weapon.
    But not anymore.
    I will do everything in my power to protect the American 
people from this epidemic of gun violence.
    But it's time for Congress to act as well.
    We need more Senate Republicans to join with the 
overwhelming majority of their Democratic colleagues, and close 
loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun.
    And we need a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity 
magazines again.
    Don't tell me it can't be done. We've done it before . . . 
and it worked.
    Talk to most responsible gun owners, most hunters--they'll 
tell you there's no possible justification for having 100 
rounds--100 bullets--in a weapon.
    They will tell you that there are too many people today who 
are able to buy a gun, but who shouldn't be able to.
    These kinds of reasonable reforms have the overwhelming 
support of the American people--including many gun owners.
    The country supports reform, and the Congress should act.
    This shouldn't be a Red vs. Blue issue. It's an American 
    And here's what else we can do.
    Immigration has always been essential to America. Let's end 
our exhausting war over immigration. For more than 30 years, 
politicians have talked about immigration reform and done 
nothing about it. It's time to fix it.
    On day one of my Presidency, I kept my commitment and I 
sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress.
    If you believe we need a secure border--pass it.
    If you believe in a pathway to citizenship--pass it.
    If you actually want to solve the problem--I have sent you 
a bill, now pass it.
    We also have to get at the root of the problem of why 
people are fleeing to our southern border from Guatemala, 
Honduras, El Salvador. The violence. The corruption. The gangs. 
The political instability. Hunger. Hurricanes. Earthquakes.
    When I was Vice President, I focused on providing the help 
needed to address these root causes of migration. It helped 
keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to 
leave. Our plan worked. But the last administration shut it 
    I'm restoring the program and asked Vice President Harris 
to lead our diplomatic efforts. I have absolute confidence she 
will get the job done.
    Now, if Congress won't pass my plan--let's at least pass 
what we agree on.
    Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally 
secure protection for the Dreamers--the young people who have 
only known America as their home.
    And, permanent protections for immigrants on temporary 
protected status who come from countries beset by man-made and 
natural made violence and disaster.
    As well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who put 
food on our tables.
    Immigrants have done so much for America during the 
pandemic--as they have throughout our history. The country 
supports immigration reform. Congress should act.
    And if we are to truly restore the soul of America--we need 
to protect the sacred right to vote.
    More people voted in the last Presidential election than 
ever before in our history--in the middle of one of the worst 
pandemics ever. That should be celebrated.
    Instead it's being attacked. Congress should pass H.R. 1 
and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send them to my desk 
right away. The country supports it. Congress should act.
    As we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob 
assaulting this Capitol--desecrating our democracy--remain 
vivid in our minds.
    Lives were put at risk. Lives were lost. Extraordinary 
courage was summoned.
    The insurrection was an existential crisis--a test of 
whether our democracy could survive.
    It did.
    But the struggle is far from over. The question of whether 
our democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent.
    As old as our Republic. Still vital today. Can our 
democracy deliver on its promise that all of us--created equal 
in the image of God--have a chance to lead lives of dignity, 
respect, and possibility?
    Can our democracy deliver on the most pressing needs of our 
    Can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate and fears 
that have pulled us apart?
    America's adversaries--the autocrats of the world--are 
betting it can't.
    They believe we are too full of anger and division and 
    They look at the images of the mob that assaulted this 
Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy.
    They are wrong.
    And we have to prove them wrong.
    We have to prove democracy still works. That our government 
still works--and can deliver for the people.
    In our first 100 days together, we have acted to restore 
the people's faith in our democracy to deliver.
    We're vaccinating the Nation. We're creating hundreds of 
thousands of jobs. We're delivering real results people can see 
and feel in their own lives. Opening the doors of opportunity. 
Guaranteeing fairness and justice. That's the essence of 
America. That's democracy in action.
    Our Constitution opens with the words, ``We the People''.
    It's time we remembered that We the People are the 
government. You and I. Not some force in a distant capital. Not 
some powerful force we have no control over. It's us. It's ``We 
the People.''
    In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin 
Roosevelt reminded us--in America: we do our part.
    That's all I'm asking. That we all do our part.
    And if we do, then we will meet the central challenge of 
the age by proving that democracy is durable and strong.
    The autocrats will not win the future. America will. The 
future will belong to America.
    I stand here tonight before you in a new and vital hour in 
the life of our democracy and our Nation.
    And I can say with absolute confidence: I have never been 
more confident or more optimistic about America.
    We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and 
autocracy--of pandemic and pain--and ``We the People'' did not 
    At the very moment our adversaries were certain we would 
pull apart and fail.
    We came together. United. With light and hope, we summoned 
new strength and new resolve. To position us to win the 
competition for the 21st Century. On our way forward to a Union 
more perfect. More prosperous. More just--As one people. One 
Nation. One America.
    It's never been a good bet to bet against America. And it 
still isn't. We are the United States of America.
    There is nothing--nothing--beyond our capacity--nothing we 
can't do--if we do it together.
    May God bless you all.
    May God protect our troops.

                                               Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
    The White House, April 28, 2021.