41% approval rating
Going into his inaugural State of the Union address, Biden had the second-lowest approval rating of any president at 41%—the same as former President Donald Trump’s rating when he gave his inaugural State of the Union. Hitting an all-time low of 34%, Trump eventually earned the lowest approval rating of any president during the polling era (which dates back to Harry Truman).
$1 billion in aid sent to Ukraine
Over the last year, the U.S. has provided more than $1 billion to Ukraine in the form of defensive military assistance, economic aid, and humanitarian relief. Biden reiterated the common refrain that the U.S. will continue to both support the people of Ukraine and rebuke Russia’s actions economically, and not, in either case, with American troops.
$630 billion inaccessible to Putin—and a near-worthless ruble
Biden noted that through the imposition of harsh economic sanctions in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, roughly $630 billion of foreign financial reserves will be inaccessible to Russia. These funds can no longer be used to finance the war or prop up the ruble, which is worth less than one penny.
60 million barrels of oil
Thirty countries around the world—members of the International Energy Agency— have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency reserves to offset rising prices and reduce the risk of disruption to the global energy supply. Russia is the third-largest oil producer and the single largest exporter to global markets. At the time of Biden’s speech, the price of crude oil reached a seven-year high at $106 per barrel.
6.5 million new jobs, 5.7% growth in GDP, $15 minimum wage
Biden discussed the record-setting economic growth the country experienced in 2021 in its continued rebound from the coronavirus pandemic—6.5 million new jobs created last year and a rise in gross domestic product of 5.7%. These updates come within the context of a 7% rise in inflation, putting it at its highest rate in 40 years. Biden called to raise the minimum wage to $15.
13th in the world for infrastructure
Biden highlighted that America ranks 13th in the world for infrastructure. Among some of the ways Biden suggested improving American infrastructure were: to begin fixing 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair, and adding a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.
Billions in manufacturing investments
Presented under the idea of “building a better America,” a rebranding of his stalled “Build Back Better” plan, Biden highlighted billions of dollars worth of new investments in U.S.-based manufacturing. Intel will build a $20 billion semiconductor megasite in Ohio, creating roughly 10,000 new jobs with an average annual wage of $135,000. Biden highlighted Ford’s and GM’s commitment to electric vehicle production, representing $11 billion and $7 billion investments, respectively, and a combined total of 15,000 new jobs.
15% minimum corporate tax
Noting that 55 Fortune 500 companies earned $40 billion in profit and paid $0 in federal taxes last year, Biden further pushed for a 15% minimum corporate tax. This tax would apply to companies that publicly report more than $1 billion in profits annually over a three-year period. Additionally, 130 other countries around the world support a 15% global book income tax, so companies will be unable to use overseas production and revenue as a loophole.
7% cap on childcare costs
Initially part of his “Build Back Better” plan, Biden again pushed for a 7% cap on childcare costs for families making up to 150% of their state’s median income, along with universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. Biden promised no person making less than $400,000 would “pay an additional penny in new taxes” to accommodate these and other proposed changes like affordable housing, and expansions to in-home and long-term care.
75% COVID-19 vaccination rate among adults
Biden noted that the COVID-19 vaccination rate of U.S. adults is at 75%, with hospitalizations down by 77%. In the ongoing effort to fight the pandemic abroad, the U.S. has shipped more than 475 million vaccine doses to 112 countries. Biden also highlighted the administration’s push for a zero-cost Test to Treat initiative, which allows a person to test positive and receive anti-viral treatments on the spot.
First Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court
Biden highlighted his history-making Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman and the first former federal public defender to sit on the country’s highest court.
Aim to reduce cancer death rates by 50%
Biden’s Cancer Moonshot aims to cut cancer-related death rates by 50% over the next 25 years. The president called on Congress to fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) modeled after DARPA, the agency that created revolutionary technology including the internet, to achieve this aim, as well as breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other diseases.
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The above article first appeared on Stacker and has been republished with permission. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its content.