President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union to members of the House and Senate in Washington Tuesday night.

Biden opened his remarks by highlighting his attempts at bipartisanship. He’s signed over 300 bipartisan bills during his term so far including the Electoral Count Reform Act and the Respect for Marriage Act.

“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there’s no reason we can’t work together and find consensus on important things in this Congress as well,” Biden said. “I think the people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere … that’s always been my vision of our country, and I know it’s many of yours.”

Infrastructure

The president acknowledged the state of the economy, a concern for many Americans. He desires to build an economy where no one is left behind. One step toward accomplishing this dream: Improving American infrastructure.

“To maintain the strongest economy in the world, we need the best infrastructure in the world,” Biden said.

He cited the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November 2021 and the resulting projects.

One aspect of infrastructure includes improving access to high-speed internet.

“We’re making sure that every community — every community in America — has access to affordable, high-speed internet,” Biden said. “No parent should have to drive by a McDonald’s parking lot to help them do their homework online with their kids, which many thousands were doing across the country.”

Capping Insulin

The Inflation Reduction act capped insulin costs at $35 for seniors on Medicare. Biden proposed plans to expand this bill to cap insulin for everyone, not just those on medicare.

The president also expressed a desire to bring down prescription drug prices for seniors.

“Bringing down prescription drug costs doesn’t just save seniors money,” Biden said. “It cuts the federal deficit by billions of dollars — by hundreds of billions of dollars — because these prescription drugs are drugs purchased by Medicare to keep their commitment to seniors.”

Biden said if congress passed a bill to raise the cost of prescription drugs, he’d veto it.

Climate change

The Inflation Reduction Act made investments in climate change. Biden shared plans on how his administration would continue investing in climate change by building new electric grids, improving roads and water systems, cutting pollution and building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations

“Let’s face reality,” Biden said. “The climate crisis doesn’t care if you’re in a red or blue state. It’s an existential threat. We have an obligation, not to ourselves, but to our children and our grandchildren to confront it.”

Education

He also proposed several investments in education:

— Providing access to preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds

— Giving public school teachers a raise

— Reducing student debt

— Increasing Pell grants for working and middle-class families

— Providing access to two years of community college

“Let’s offer every American a path to a good career whether they go to college or not,” Biden said.

Decreasing violence

Some of the guests in attendance included the parents of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man beaten to death by police in Tennessee last month. He said what happened to Nichols happens too often and called for safer neighborhoods throughout the country.

“Equal protection under the law is a covenant we have with each other in America,” Biden said.

In order to prevent violence like this from happening, Biden said we need to give law enforcement more training and hold them to higher stands. He said in many cases we ask them to do too much — to be counselors, social workers, psychologists; respond to drug overdoses, mental health crises and so much more.

He proposed diverting more resources to address the growing mental health substance abuse challenges, reducing violent crime and gun crime, instituting more community intervention programs, and investing more in housing, education and job training.

Foreign Relations

The president promised to seek competition, not conflict, with China.

“I will make no apologies that we’re investing to make America stronger,” Biden said. “Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, that China intends to be dominating.”

He left the door open to cooperating with China in certain circumstances.

“I’m committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world,” Biden said. “But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”

The president said in the coming years, the United States would be at a crossroads.

“We have to be the nation we’ve always been at our best. Optimistic. Hopeful. Forward-looking. A nation that embraces light over dark, hope over fear, unity over division, stability over chaos. We have to see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans. We’re good people.”

He closed by asserting the strength of the union.

“Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the state of the union is strong,” Biden said.

Local response

Members of the Political Affairs Society gathered in the Thomas E. Ricks Building to watch the broadcasted speech together. One attendant reflected on this tradition of the country.

“The state of the union is an important political tradition,” said William Pratt, a senior studying public policy and administration. “It has gone far back in the U.S.’s history, and I think it provides an important moment for the American legislature.”

Idaho representatives to the Senate and House of Representatives expressed dissatisfaction with the president’s speech.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch criticized federal government spending.

“For the President to refuse to engage in discussions about how our federal government should live within its means is irresponsible,” Crapo said in a press release. “Both parties have a responsibility to do their part, in good faith, to find a bipartisan solution. We must address our growing deficits in order to put our country’s finances on a sustainable path, rather than continue down a road of more unsustainable taxing and spending.”

Risch expressed similar concerns about the federal deficit.

“The debt from this spending will haunt not just us but our kids, grandkids, and even our great-grandkids,” Risch said in a press release.

Crapo said conversations about how the country will continue to pay its bills on time, and plans for future budgeting will likely dominate the halls of Congress for the next few months.

Rep. Simpson questioned the validity of the current administration’s accomplishments due to the consequences they’ve had.

“As much as President Biden loved to tout the partisan ‘accomplishments’ of Democrats’ one-party rule the past few years in Washington, Americans dealing with the consequences of those fiscally reckless policies know better,” Simpson said.

Simpson and Rep. Russ Fulcher said House Republicans are determined to deliver preferable alternatives to their constituents.

“House Republicans are offering the American people real alternatives to the false reality that President Biden presented to us tonight,” Fulcher said. “Our Commitment to America agenda will create an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future that’s built on freedom and a government that’s accountable.”

You can read the president’s full remarks here.