Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, (Following The Attack on America) [September 20, 2001/9:00 P.M. EDT] - History

Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, (Following The Attack on America) [September 20, 2001/9:00 P.M. EDT] - History


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THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:
In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight. (Applause.)

We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong. (Applause.)

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. (Applause.)

I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing "God Bless America." And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.

Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country. (Applause.)

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India; men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan; and hundreds of British citizens. America has no truer friend than Great Britain. (Applause.) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause -- so honored the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity of purpose with America. Thank you for coming, friend. (Applause.)

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader -- a person named Osama bin Laden -- are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world.

Afghanistan's people have been brutalized -- many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime. (Applause.) It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. (Applause.)

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)

Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me -- the Office of Homeland Security.

And tonight I also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor, a true patriot, a trusted friend -- Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge. (Applause.) He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and respond to any attacks that may come.

These measures are essential. But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows. (Applause.)

Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents to intelligence operatives to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud. (Applause.)

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded -- with sympathy and with support. Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.

The civilized world is rallying to America's side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what -- we're not going to allow it. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith. (Applause.)

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions. Those who want to give can go to a central source of information, libertyunites.org, to find the names of groups providing direct help in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it.

I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today. (Applause.)

And, finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform, and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.

Tonight I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do. And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do together.

Tonight, we face new and sudden national challenges. We will come together to improve air safety, to dramatically expand the number of air marshals on domestic flights, and take new measures to prevent hijacking. We will come together to promote stability and keep our airlines flying, with direct assistance during this emergency. (Applause.)

We will come together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track down terror here at home. (Applause.) We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists before they act, and find them before they strike. (Applause.)

We will come together to take active steps that strengthen America's economy, and put our people back to work.

Tonight we welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New Yorkers: Governor George Pataki, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. (Applause.) As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City. (Applause.)

After all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. (Applause.)

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. (Applause.)

It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. (Applause.)

I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (Applause.)

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.

Thank you. (Applause.)

END 9:41 P.M. EDT


National Security-Relevant Portions of Biden’s Address to Joint Session of Congress

Last night, President Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress. We have pulled sections of his speech that are particularly relevant to Lawfare readers. The full text of Biden’s remarks can be found here .

After I promised we would get 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots into people’s arms in 100 days, we will have provided over 220 million Covid shots in those hundred days, thanks to all the help of all of you. We’re marshaling with your help, everyone’s help, we’re marshaling every federal resource. We’ve gotten vaccinations to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers where the poorest of the poor can be reached. We’re setting up community vaccination sites, developing mobile units to get to hard-to-reach communities. Today, 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site. Everyone over the age of 16, everyone, is now eligible to get vaccinated right now, right away. Go get vaccinated, America. Go and get the vaccination. They’re available. You’re eligible now.

When I was sworn in on Jan. 20, less than 1 percent of the seniors in America were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. One hundred days later, 70 percent of seniors in America over 65 are protected, fully protected. Senior deaths from Covid-19 are down 80 percent since January, down 80 percent, because of all of you.

And more than half of all the adults in America have gotten at least one shot.

You know, there’s still—you all know it, you know it better than any group of Americans—there’s still more work to do to beat this virus. We can’t let our guard down. 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 has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements this country has ever seen.

Decades ago, we used to invest 2 percent of our gross domestic product in America, 2 percent of our gross domestic product in research and development. Today, Mr. Secretary, that’s less than 1 percent. 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, clean energy.

Look, we can’t be so busy competing with one another that we forget the competition that we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century.

Secretary Blinken can tell you, I spent a lot of time with President Xi—traveled over 17,000 miles with him spent, they tell me, over 24 hours in private discussions with him. When he called to congratulate me, we had a two-hour discussion. He’s deadly earnest about becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world. He and others—autocrats—think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies because it takes too long to get consensus.

I’ve often said our greatest strength is the power of our example, not just the example of our power. My conversations with world leaders—and I’ve spoken to 38, 40 of them now—I’ve made it known, I’ve made it known, that America is back.

You know what they say? The comment I hear most of all from them? They say: “We see America’s back, but for how long? But for how long?” My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we’re back, but that we’re back to stay, and that we aren’t going to go alone. We’re going to do it by leading with our allies. No one nation can deal with all the crises of our time, from terrorism to nuclear proliferation, mass migration, cybersecurity, climate change, as well as what we’re experiencing now, pandemics.

There’s no wall high enough to keep any virus out. And our own vaccine supply, as it grows to meet our needs—and we’re meeting them—will become an arsenal for vaccines for other countries, just as America was the arsenal for democracy for the world. And in consequence, influenced the world. Every American will have access before that occurs, every American will have access to be fully covered by Covid-19 from the vaccines we have.

Look, the climate crisis is not our fight alone. It’s a global fight. The United States accounts, as all of you know, for less than 15 percent of carbon emissions. The rest of the world accounts for 85 percent. That’s why I kept my commitment to rejoin the Paris Accord, because if we do everything perfectly, it’s not going to matter. I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit right here in America with all the major economies of the world: China, Russia, India, European Union. I said I would do it in my first hundred days.

I want to be very blunt about it. I had—my intent was to make sure that the world could see that there was a consensus, that we are at an inflection point in history. The consensus is, if we act to save the planet, we can create millions of jobs and economic growth and opportunity to raise the standard of living of almost everyone around the world. If you’ve watched any of it—and you were all busy, I’m sure you didn’t have much time—that’s what virtually every nation said, even the ones who aren’t doing their fair share.

The investments I propose tonight also advance a foreign policy, in my view, that benefits the middle class. That means making sure that every nation plays by the same rules in the global economy, including China. In my discussions with President Xi, I told him we welcome the competition. We’re not looking for conflict.

But I made absolutely clear that we’ll defend America’s interests across the board. America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut workers and American industries like subsidies from state to state-owned operations and enterprises and the theft of American technology and intellectual property. I also told President Xi that we’ll maintain a strong relationship in the Indo-Pacific, just as we do for NATO and Europe. Not to start a conflict, but to prevent one.

I told him what I said to many world leaders, that America will not back away from our commitments, our commitments to human rights and our fundamental freedom and our alliances. I pointed out to him, no responsible American president could remain silent when basic human rights are being so blatantly violated. An American president has to represent the essence of what our country stands for.

Russia, Iran and North Korea

America is an idea, the most unique idea in history. We are created, all of us equal. It is who we are. And we cannot walk away from that principle and in fact say we are dealing with the American idea. With regards to Russia, I know it concerns some of you. I made it clear to Putin that we are not going to seek—excuse me—escalation but their actions will have consequences if they turned out to be true. And they turned out to be true. So I responded directly and proportionally to Russia’s interference in our elections and the cyberattacks on our government and our business.

They did both of these things, and I told them we would respond, and we have. We’ll also cooperate when it is our mutual interest. We did it when we extended the New Start Treaty on nuclear arms and we are working on climate change. But he understands, we will respond. On Iran and North Korea, nuclear programs present serious threats to American security and the security of the world. We’re going to be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence.

Afghanistan and Terrorism

And American leadership meaning ending the forever war in Afghanistan. We have—we have, without hyperbole, the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. I am the first president in 40 years who knows what it means to have a son serving in a war zone. Today we have service members serving in the same war zone as their parents did. We have service members in Afghanistan who were not yet born on 9/11. The war in Afghanistan, as we remember the debates here, were never meant to be multigenerational undertakings of nation building.

We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. And we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to do it. And if you’ve been to the Upper Kunar Valley, you’ve kind of seen the gates of hell. And we delivered justice to bin Laden. We degraded the terrorist threat in Afghanistan. And after 20 years of value—valor and sacrifice, it is time to bring those troops home.

Look, even as we do, we’ll maintain over the horizon the capacity to suppress future threats to the homeland. Make no mistake, in 20 years, terrorists—terrorism has been metastasized. The threat evolved way beyond Afghanistan. Those in the intelligence committees, the foreign relations committee, defense committees, you know well we have to remain vigilant against the threats to the United States wherever they come from. Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond.

It was nearly a year ago before her father’s funeral when I spoke to Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s young daughter. She’s a little tyke, so I was kneeling down to talk to her, so I can look at her in the eye. She looked at me, she said, “My daddy changed the world.” Well, after the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer, we can see how right she was—if, if we have the courage to act as a Congress. We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black Americans. Now is our opportunity to make some real progress.

The vast majority, men and women wearing the uniform and a badge, serve our communities and they serve them honorably. I know them, I know they want—I know they want to help meet this moment as well. My fellow Americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, to root out systematic racism in our criminal justice system and enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already.

I know Republicans have their own ideas and are engaged in productive discussions with Democrats in the Senate. We need to work together to find a consensus. But let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death. The country supports this reform and Congress should act. We have the giant opportunity to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice, real justice.

And we won’t ignore what our intelligence agents have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to our homeland today: White supremacy is terrorism. We are not going to ignore that either. My fellow Americans, look, we have to come together to heal the soul of this nation.

Look, I also want to thank the United States Senate for voting 94-1 to pass Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. You acted decisively. You can see on television the viciousness of the hate crimes we’ve seen over the past year and for too long. I urge the House to do the same and send that legislation to my desk, which I will glad, anxiously sign.

But in the early 2000s, the law expired. We have seen daily bloodshed since then. I’m not saying that if the law had continued, we wouldn’t have seen bloodshed. 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 of the Department of Justice actions that are being taken to impact this epidemic. One of them is banning so-called ghost guns.

These are homemade guns built from a kit including directions on how to finish the firearm. The parts have no serial numbers. So they show up at crime scenes and they can’t be traced. The buyers of those ghost kits are not required to pass any background checks. Anyone, from a criminal or terrorist, could buy this kit and within 30 minutes have a weapon that’s lethal. But no more. And 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.

Look, in conclusion, as we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol—desecrating our democracy—remain vivid in all our minds. Lives were put at risk, many of your lives. Lives were lost. Extraordinary courage was summoned. The insurrection was an existential crisis, a test of whether our democracy could survive. And 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 people? 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 we can’t. And I promise you, they’re betting we can’t. They believe we are too full of anger and division and rage. They look at the images of the mob that assaulted this Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy. But they are wrong. You know it, I know it. But we have to prove them wrong. We have to prove democracy still works, that our government still works and we can deliver for our people.


Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, (Following The Attack on America) [September 20, 2001/9:00 P.M. EDT] - History


For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 20, 2001

Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight. (Applause.)

We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong. (Applause.)

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. (Applause.)

I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing "God Bless America." And you did more than sing you acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.

Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country. (Applause.)

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis more than 130 Israelis more than 250 citizens of India men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan and hundreds of British citizens. America has no truer friend than Great Britain. (Applause.) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause -- so honored the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity of purpose with America. Thank you for coming, friend. (Applause.)

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader -- a person named Osama bin Laden -- are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world.

Afghanistan's people have been brutalized -- many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime. (Applause.) It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. (Applause.)

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)

Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me -- the Office of Homeland Security.

And tonight I also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor, a true patriot, a trusted friend -- Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge. (Applause.) He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and respond to any attacks that may come.

These measures are essential. But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows. (Applause.)

Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents to intelligence operatives to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud. (Applause.)

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded -- with sympathy and with support. Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.

The civilized world is rallying to America's side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what -- we're not going to allow it. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith. (Applause.)

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions. Those who want to give can go to a central source of information, libertyunites.org, to find the names of groups providing direct help in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it.

I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today. (Applause.)

And, finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform, and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.

Tonight I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do. And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do together.

Tonight, we face new and sudden national challenges. We will come together to improve air safety, to dramatically expand the number of air marshals on domestic flights, and take new measures to prevent hijacking. We will come together to promote stability and keep our airlines flying, with direct assistance during this emergency. (Applause.)

We will come together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track down terror here at home. (Applause.) We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists before they act, and find them before they strike. (Applause.)

We will come together to take active steps that strengthen America's economy, and put our people back to work.

Tonight we welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New Yorkers: Governor George Pataki, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. (Applause.) As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City. (Applause.)

After all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. (Applause.)

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. (Applause.)

It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. (Applause.)

I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield I will not rest I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (Applause.)

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.


President Truman announces the Truman Doctrine

In a dramatic speech to a joint session of Congress, President Harry S. Truman asks for U.S. assistance for Greece and Turkey to forestall communist domination of the two nations. Historians have often cited Truman’s address, which came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, as the official declaration of the Cold War.

In February 1947, the British government informed the United States that it could no longer furnish the economic and military assistance it had been providing to Greece and Turkey since the end of World War II. The Truman administration believed that both nations were threatened by communism and it jumped at the chance to take a tough stance against the Soviet Union. In Greece, leftist forces had been battling the Greek royal government since the end of World War II. In Turkey, the Soviets were demanding some manner of control over the Dardanelles, territory from which Turkey was able to dominate the strategic waterway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.


Transcript of President Bush's address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans, in the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed it has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife Lisa Beamer here tonight?

We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.

We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of union, and it is strong.

Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time.

All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol singing "God Bless America."

And you did more than sing. You acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military. Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country.

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support.

America will never forget the sounds of our national anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo.

We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own. Dozens of Pakistanis, more than 130 Israelis, more than 250 citizens of India, men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan, and hundreds of British citizens.

America has no truer friend than Great Britain. (APPLAUSE) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause.

I'm so honored the British prime minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity with America.

Thank you for coming, friend.

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars, but for the past 136 years they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war, but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning.

Aericans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day, and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking, "Who attacked our country?"

The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Al Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money, its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.

The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children. This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden, are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries.

They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction. The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan we see al Qaeda's vision for the world. Afghanistan's people have been brutalized, many are starving and many have fled.

Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough. The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime.

It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.

By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban:

-- Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Qaeda who hide in your land.

-- Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned.

-- Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country.

-- Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities.

-- Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion.

The Taliban must act and act immediately.

They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate. I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.

The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.

The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.

It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

Americans are asking "Why do they hate us?"

They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.

We're not deceived by their pretenses to piety.

We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. Americans are asking, "How will we fight and win this war?"

We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network.

Now, this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we're not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security.

These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight, I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me, the Office of Homeland Security. And tonight, I also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor, a true patriot, a trusted friend, Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge.

He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism and respond to any attacks that may come. These measures are essential. The only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it and destroy it where it grows.

Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents, to intelligence operatives, to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I have called the armed forces to alert, and there is a reason.

The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud.

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us.

We will ask and we will need the help of police forces, intelligence service and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded with sympathy and with support -- nations from Latin America to Asia to Africa to Europe to the Islamic world.

Perhaps the NATO charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all. The civilized world is rallying to America's side.

They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror unanswered can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments.

And you know what? We're not going to allow it.

Americans are asking, "What is expected of us?"

I ask you to live your lives and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here.

We're in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions. Those who want to give can go to a central source of information, Libertyunites.org, to find the names of groups providing direct help in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it. I ask for your patience with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity they did not touch its source.

America is successful because of the hard work and creativity and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11, and they are our strengths today.

And finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead. Tonight I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do.

And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do together.

Tonight we face new and sudden national challenges. We will come together to improve air safety, to dramatically expand the number of air marshals on domestic flights and take new measures to prevent hijacking.

We will come together to promote stability and keep our airlines flying with direct assistance during this emergency.

We will come together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track down terror here at home.

We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists before they act and to find them before they strike.

We will come together to take active steps that strengthen America's economy and put our people back to work.

Tonight, we welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New Yorkers, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress and these two leaders to show the world that we will rebuild New York City.

After all that has just passed, all the lives taken and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them, it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear.

Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them.

As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror. This will be an age of liberty here and across the world.

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment.

Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us.

Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

It is my hope that in the months and years ahead life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines and that is good.

Even grief recedes with time and grace.

But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing.

Some will remember an image of a fire or story or rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others.

It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.

I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come.

In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom and may he watch over the United States of America. Thank you.


Biden laid out a foreign policy plan that differs from the Trump doctrine

During his address, Biden's focus on foreign policy centered mainly around strengthening the US' relationship with allies and forging working but stern relations with Russia and China.

Biden said that in approaching foreign policy, his administration would operate on the belief that, "America is the most unique idea in history."

In a contrast to Trump, Biden directly charged Russia for interference in the 2016 elections as well as the recent SolarWinds cyberattacks which breached government and private business systems.

The President added that in conversations with his Russian counterpart, he has "made clear," to Vladimir Putin that the US will not seek escalation, but Russia's, "actions will have consequences." Biden added that the US and Russian should cooperate when interests are aligned.

Biden added that he had held hours-long conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and put forth a similar balance. The President also singled out Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs, describing them as threats, but committed to working with allies and both nations through "diplomacy and stern deterrence."

He also spoke about his promise to end the "forever war in Afghanistan," acknowledging and justifying the US' long footprint in the country. Saying that the US fulfilled their promise to bring Osama Bin Laden to the "gates of hell," and that soldiers are serving in "the same war zone as their parents," he said it's time to bring troops home.


Presidential Address

2001-09-20T20:40:30-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/924/166196-m.jpg President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He pledged to pursue terrorists around the world, called on Americans to be patient in what could turn out to be a protracted operation, demanded cooperation by Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, and praised the American people for their resilience in the wake of the attacks.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary Tommy Thompson did not attend the session due to security concerns.

President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He… read more

President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He pledged to pursue terrorists around the world, called on Americans to be patient in what could turn out to be a protracted operation, demanded cooperation by Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, and praised the American people for their resilience in the wake of the attacks.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary Tommy Thompson did not attend the session due to security concerns. close


“America Is Rising Anew”: In Congressional Address, Biden Makes the Case for His Ambitious Agenda—and Democracy Itself

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Joe Biden delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress April 28 as Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi look on. Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden on Wednesday evening touted his administration’s accomplishments on the pandemic and the economy in his first hundred days in office, outlined ambitious plans to address climate change, racial inequality, and other major issues, and called on the country to recommit itself to democratic values that have been under threat since the political rise of his predecessor, Donald Trump. “The insurrection was an existential crisis—a test of whether our democracy could survive,” Biden said. “And it did. But the question is far from over. The question of whether our democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent.”

“We have to prove democracy still works,” Biden said, describing the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol as “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

Biden struck similar themes to his rousing inauguration speech, describing the country as being at a crossroads of “crisis and opportunity”—poised to emerge from overlapping emergencies set to win the future. “After just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” Biden said. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”

It was classic Biden, grounded in empathy. “There’s still more work to do to beat this virus,” he said, describing poignant scenes of parents seeing smiles on their kids faces as they get on school buses and grandparents hugging grandchildren “instead of pressing their hands against a window” as more than 200 million shots and counting went into arms over the past three months. “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.” But the speech also showcased the progressive ambition of his agenda, arguing both for specific plans—including the American Families Plan he introduced Wednesday to improve education, child care, and parental leave—and more broadly for a commitment to “real justice” and “real opportunities” for all, both at home and abroad. He touted his American Jobs Plan as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.” “There is nothing—nothing beyond our capacity—nothing we can’t do—if we do it together,” Biden said.

In two of the most powerful segments of his speech, Biden renewed his pushes to address systemic racism after the Derek Chauvin conviction and to reform the nation’s gun laws in the wake of more mass shootings, telling lawmakers that the American public supports changes. “The country supports this reform,” Biden said. “Congress should act.”

The speech—the first joint address delivered in front of a female vice president and a female House Speaker in Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi—was given before a sparse, socially-distanced audience due to the pandemic, and marked a stark contrast from those of Trump in his last State of the Union address, delivered in February 2020, just before the COVID crisis exploded in the U.S., Trump was a torrent of false claims and partisan indignation, and at one point announced he would award Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Biden didn’t pull punches in comments about the last administration and Republicans, many of whom still refuse to let go of Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud at one point, he directly called on the other side of the aisle to “join with the overwhelming majority” of Democrats in actually working to find solutions on gun violence. But he was characteristically civil as he did so, emphasizing the need for unity in addressing the country’s challenges. “One hundred days ago, America’s house was on fire,” Biden said. “We had to act. And thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Speaker Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer]—and the overwhelming support of the American people: Democrats, Independents, and Republicans—we did act.”

Biden has, indeed, racked up significant accomplishments in the opening months of his presidency improving the vaccine rollout to help bring the public health crisis and its economic side effects more under control is perhaps chief among them, despite efforts by Republicans to rewrite history and claim the improved pandemic outlook as a Trump achievement. And while the GOP is likely to put up significant roadblocks to much of his agenda, there are likely more areas he can make progress on, either through executive action or via his party’s narrow majority on Capitol Hill. But the answer to the question he posed about the security of American democracy? That’s a little less certain, thanks to the extremist GOP. Biden is choosing to be optimistic, choosing “light over darkness.”

"We all know life can knock us down,” he said. “But in America, we never, ever, ever stay down. Americans always get up. Today, that’s what we’re doing. America is rising anew.”

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Address to a Joint Session of Congress

No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.

Members of the United States Congress and the Cabinet – and distinguished guests.

While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is very different – a reminder of the extraordinary times we are in.

Throughout our history, Presidents have come to this chamber to speak to the Congress, to the nation, and to the world.

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: America is on the move again.

Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.

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 darkness.

After 100 Days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff.

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.

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.

When I was sworn in, less than 1% of seniors were fully 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 door.

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 trunk.

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.

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 record.

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 progress.

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 more.

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 lines. 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 it.

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 disability.

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.

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 homes.

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.

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 line.

And we need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women.

Let’s get the Paycheck Fairness Act to my desk for equal pay.

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 bipartisan.

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.

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 children.

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 Century.

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 families.

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.

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.

We’re going to reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair share – and help pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit from.

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%.

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 Americans.

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.

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 worked.

It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out.

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 2.

The climate crisis is not our fight alone, either.

The United States accounts for less than 15% of carbon emissions.

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 world.

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 conflict.

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 principle.

With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences.

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 interests.

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 deterrence.

And American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan.

We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.

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 America.

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 well.

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.

We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral universe toward 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 water.

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 American.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 issue.

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.

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.

But the last administration shut it down.

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.

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.

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.

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 people?

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 rage.

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.

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.

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 flinch.

At the very moment our adversaries were certain we would pull apart and fail.

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.

We are the United States of America.

There is nothing – nothing – beyond our capacity – nothing we can’t do – if we do it together.


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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 bipartisan. 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 children. 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 Century.

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.

Only 200 guests were in the chamber, compared to the 1,600 at past speeches, due to the coronavirus pandemic

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 families.

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 that. 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 from.

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%.

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 Americans.

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 worked. It´s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out. 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 2.

The climate crisis is not our fight alone, either. It´s a global fight. The United States accounts for less than 15% of carbon emissions. 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 world.

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 conflict.

For the first time, two women sat behind the president on the House rostrum with Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi flanking Biden during his remarks

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 principle.

With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin that while we don´t seek escalation, their actions have consequences. I responded in a direct and proportionate way to Russia´s interference in our elections and cyberattacks 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 interests. 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 deterrence.

And American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan. We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. 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 America. 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 well.

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.

Biden exchanged fist bumps with lawmakers before and after his speech

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 water. 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 American.

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 issue.

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 down. 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 people? 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 rage. 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 flinch. 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.


Watch the video: NBC News 9 13 2001 Live Coverage 6:30 1:00


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