In his address to the nation on Tuesday, President Biden reiterated his commitment to improving the lives of working people across the country. After opening the speech with a rally of support for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict against Russia, Biden moved into how his administration has delivered on its promises for working families.
He emphasized the successes of his first year, such as signing the American Rescue Plan and the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. Biden also took the opportunity to lay out his strategy to lower costs for working families and build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. In his words, he called on businesses to “Lower your costs, not your wages.” Here are some of the highlights:
Remove Barriers to Good-Paying Jobs: The president promised to lead the most pro labor administration in history, and last night, he announced his plan to advance the strong labor market by ensuring that every worker has access to good-paying, family sustaining jobs. The plan includes:
- Calling on Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to update our nation’s outdated labor laws and make it easier for workers in both the private and public sectors to organize or join a union.
- Creating more paths into the middle class by encouraging more skills-based hiring and connecting more workers to registered apprenticeships and labor-management partnership training programs.
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour to ensure that America’s workers, particularly the front-line workers who kept our country running during the pandemic, are earning sufficient wages to take care of ourselves and our families.
- Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to end pay discrimination and ensure that women are paid equally for their work.
Invest in Infrastructure Projects: The president outlined goals for 2022 under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, announcing that states, territories, tribes and local governments will begin work to improve 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges using federal funding. These projects will be powered by and executed using union labor, fulfilling the president’s promise to create thousands of good-paying jobs for working people nationwide. Over the next year, the Biden–Harris administration also will direct the following:
- The Federal Aviation Administration will invest in over 600 airport infrastructure projects.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will fund more than 400 new water projects, including replacing lead pipes and upgrading drinking water systems.
- Communities will allocate funding toward 15,000 new buses, ferries and subway cars to improve transportation access for working people.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will fund more than 500 projects in states and territories to decrease flooding, enhance waterways and reinforce supply chains.
Expand American Production: The president emphasized the need to Buy American and doubled down on his promise to revitalize American manufacturing. He touted the addition of more than 360,000 manufacturing jobs to the U.S. economy last year and highlighted major investments from companies like Intel, which will spend $100 billion building a semiconductor mega site in Columbus, Ohio. Strengthening the manufacturing sector means thousands of high-quality jobs for workers and families.
Lower Costs for Working Families: As working families continue to feel the squeeze from inflation brought on by the pandemic, the president laid out his plan to bring relief. His strategy will build on the successes of the American Rescue Plan and reduce costs of everyday expenses by:
- Capping the cost of lifesaving prescription drugs like insulin and closing the coverage gap by cutting health care premiums.
- Decreasing energy costs by $500 for families by increasing investments in the fight against climate change.
- Strengthening our nation’s care infrastructure by lowering the cost of child care, extending the child tax credit and ensuring that no family pays more than 7% of their income for care of young children.
- Ensuring that no one making under $400,000 a year pays more in taxes and that wealthy corporations pay their fair share.
Create a Path to Citizenship: Biden also highlighted the economic imperative to fix our nation’s broken immigration system and finally guarantee a path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” essential workers, farmworkers and workers on temporary status.