by Joseph Klein
And Senator Scott's powerful rebuttal.
President Joe Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28th. Biden laid down his $6 trillion marker. Gargantuan, tax-and-spend government is back big time. Biden outlined plans for trillions of dollars of additional federal spending for massive government giveaways, on top of the $1.9 trillion for so-called coronavirus relief passed on a strict party line vote earlier this year. Biden was selling the American people a far left, progressive bill of goods wrapped in a moderate-looking package. He said that “America is on the move again.” If Biden gets his way in Congress with its very slim Democrat majority, America will be on the move towards a socialist-style nanny welfare state.
Fortunately, after a little over an hour of Biden’s laundry list of partisan programs that are music to leftists’ ears and his phony calls for bipartisanship, we heard the real deal from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. Senator Scott delivered a “common sense” vision of America in his rebuttal speech on behalf of the Republican Party.
“A president who promised to bring us together should not push agendas that tear us apart,” Senator Scott said. “Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you, the American people.”
On issue after issue, Senator Scott tore President Biden’s speech apart without having to literally rip up the written text, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi did last year with President Trump’s State of the Union address. Scott hit a grand slam, while Biden fouled out.
President Biden could have struck a truly unifying note by at least giving credit to former President Donald Trump for launching the coronavirus vaccine development and production program successfully in record time. But Biden was too petty to do that. Instead, he began his speech by taking all the credit for the vaccine roll-out. Then Biden proceeded to spread misinformation about his legislative agenda in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people.
The first piece of Biden’s legislative economic package has already been signed into law – the so-called American Rescue Plan Act that was supposed to be about coronavirus relief. As Senator Scott pointed out in his rebuttal, however, “[T]hey spent almost $2 trillion on a partisan bill that the White House bragged was the most liberal bill in American history. Only 1 percent went to vaccinations. No requirement to reopen schools promptly.” Indeed, what Scott said “saddened” him the most was that “millions of kids have lost a year of learning when they could not afford to lose a single day.”
President Biden misrepresented the second piece of his legislative package - his $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” American Jobs Plan. Biden wanted his proposal to appear as American as apple pie. He talked about the jobs that would be created upgrading the nation’s transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges and highways, “building a modern power grid,” and “replacing 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.”
Most Americans would agree that these items fit within a reasonable definition of infrastructure, along with building more high-speed broadband. However, Biden’s so-called “infrastructure” proposal has far more to do with social engineering than engineering better bridges and the like. Biden’s proposal includes about $60 billion more for incentives to electric vehicle manufacturers than for modernizing highways and roads and repairing bridges. Biden wants to spend an estimated $213 billion on “affordable housing” - more than double what Biden envisions spending on either high-speed broadband or modernizing the electric grid. And dwarfing all other proposed spending in Biden’s misnamed “infrastructure” proposal is the $400 billion that Biden is allocating for expanding the provision of in-home care. None of these figures made it into Biden’s speech.
“Republicans support everything you think of when you think of infrastructure,” Senator Scott said in his rebuttal. “Roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways, high-speed broadband — we’re in for all of that.” However, as Senator Scott noted, “Less than 6 percent of the president’s plan goes to roads and bridges. It’s a liberal wish list of big-government waste, plus the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation.”
The third legislative piece of Biden’s progressive trifecta is what he calls the "American Families Plan.” Biden touted various features of this plan in his address to Congress, but he left out what it would all cost. Biden used typical Democrat “soak the rich” rhetoric to explain how he would pay for both his infrastructure and family plans. Biden wants to raise taxes on corporations, which will reduce corporations’ job creating investments and lead to higher prices for consumers as the more heavily taxed companies pass along at least some of Uncle Sam’s bill to their customers. Biden is also intent on raising the top capital gains tax rate from 20 percent to an astronomical 39.6 percent, which will depress investments that are key to innovation and more jobs.
The " American Families Plan” would add $1.8 trillion more to Biden’s shopping list of government-run social programs. This would include about $511 billion dollars for education alone, including universal pre-school for 3-and 4- year-olds and free community college. Childcare and 12 weeks of paid parental and sick leave would each be federally subsidized to the tune of $225 billion. Tax credits of about $200 billion would be used for Obamacare health insurance subsidies. About $45 billion would be spent on expanded food stamps and school-food programs. The list goes on and on, but Biden left the price tag out of his speech.
Once again, Senator Scott exposed the truth behind Biden’s platitudes. “Even more taxing, even more spending,” Scott said, “to put Washington even more in the middle of your life — from the cradle to college.”
Senator Scott offered an alternative that is more in keeping with the American way of life. “The beauty of the American dream is that families get to define it for themselves,” he said. “We should be expanding opportunities and options for all families — not throwing money at certain issues because Democrats think they know best.”
During his address, President Biden urged Congress to pass his immigration reform bill. But Biden made no mention of the immediate crisis at the U.S-Mexican border that his own open-door policies created. Instead, with Vice President Harris sitting behind him, Biden tried to assure America that the vice president would be leading the administration’s diplomatic effort to provide “the help needed to address the root causes of migration.” Biden expressed his “absolute confidence she’ll get the job done.”
What a joke. More than a month after Harris received her assignment, she has still not visited the three Central American countries that many of the illegal immigrants are fleeing – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Phone calls and virtual meetings are no substitutes for face-to-face meetings and on-the-ground investigation of the “root causes.” Nor has Harris visited the border detention facilities to speak directly with the migrants and get their personal accounts of why they risked the long dangerous journey to the United States.
Biden talked a good game about unity and bipartisanship, but it was all a sham. Biden has already proven that he is willing to jam his progressive agenda through Congress without a single Republican vote, if necessary.
Last year, as Senator Scott pointed out in his rebuttal, with a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican in the White House, “we passed five bipartisan Covid packages. All five bills got 90 — 90 votes in the Senate. Common sense found common ground.”
There have been no good faith efforts since President Biden took office to find common ground.
While Biden also talked a good game about police reform in his speech to Congress, Senator Scott remarked how his own police reform legislation was blocked by a Democrat filibuster last year. “My friends across the aisle seemed to want the issue more than they wanted a solution,” Scott said. “But I’m still working. I’m hopeful that this will be different.”
The most moving part of Senator Scott’s rebuttal was when he spoke of his own personal experiences up close as an African American with racism and discrimination while never losing his faith in America. It was a stirring rebuke of President Biden’s tiresome refrain of “systemic racism” in America.
“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” Senator Scott declared. “It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
Senator Scott noted that he has been targeted by progressives who have called him “Uncle Tom” and “the n-word,” presumably because Scott does not buy into the critical race theory that progressives are pushing with the Biden administration’s support. “Original sin is never the end of the story,” Scott said. “Not in our souls, and not for our nation. The real story is always redemption.”
Notably, instead of addressing Senator Scott's points on their merits, social justice warriors went on social media with ad hominem attacks. Twitter took hours before taking them down.
Democratic socialists and other progressives are beside themselves with joy as Joe Biden does their bidding. “I do think that the Biden administration and President Biden have exceeded expectations that progressives had,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said during a virtual town hall several days prior to Biden’s speech to Congress. “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a lot more conservative administration.”
So did many Americans who thought they were voting for a moderate candidate committed to seeking common ground. Instead, they got the most far left president in American history who is dividing Americans by race and class.
Senator Scott provided the optimistic antidote to the poison that the progressive left steering Biden's agenda is trying to spread in this country. “We are not adversaries,” Scott said. “We are family. We are all in this together. And we get to live in the greatest country on Earth.”