President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address Tuesday night to a divided House chamber that featured bipartisan moments intertwined with partisan heckling.
The speech — which spanned just over 70 minutes — included an impromptu, and informal, policy negotiation with Republicans and a solemn moment that captivated the entire chamber. There were also outbursts of enthusiasm from Democrats, and a testy interaction between two lawmakers shortly before the address.
Here are the five biggest moments from Biden’s speech.
Greene calls Biden a ‘liar’
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called Biden a “liar” while he was discussing potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of a debt limit deal.
“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” Biden said, prompting loud boos in the chamber.
A number of Republicans shook their heads in disapproval, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was seated behind the president.
“Anybody who doubts it, contact my office,” Biden added. “I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”
Greene then yelled “liar.”
Biden traps GOP on Social Security, Medicare cuts
After Republicans erupted in boos following Biden’s statement that some want to sunset Social Security and Medicare, the president expressed happiness at what had just transpired.
“We’ll I’m glad to see, I tell you, I enjoy conversion,” Biden said, prompting laughs.
“So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” the president told the crowd, adding “we got unanimity.”
Some Republicans have suggested reforming entitlements — including increasing the retirement age for Social Security — but McCarthy has said that any cuts to Social Security and Medicare are off the table when it comes to debt ceiling negotiations. Republicans are pushing for spending cuts as part of any increase to the borrowing limit.
Parents of Tyre Nichols receive bipartisan standing ovation
President Biden prompted a rare moment of intense silence when he introduced the parents of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old man who died in Memphis last month after being brutally beaten during a traffic stop.
“Joining us tonight are the parents of Tyre Nichols, welcome,” Biden said, prompting a standing ovation among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, “who had to bury Tyre last week.”
“As many of you personally know, there’s no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child. But imagine, imagine if you lost that child at the hands of the law,” he added.
The chamber, which had featured a number of raucous moments earlier in the speech, was completely quiet as he spoke.
Biden then discussed “the talk that Brown and Black parents have had to have with their children,” before detailing a conversation he had with Nichols’s mother.
“Here’s what Tyre’s mother shared with me when I spoke to her. When I asked her how she finds the courage to carry on and speak out. With the faith in God she said her son was a beautiful soul, and something good will come from this,’” Biden said. “Imagine how much courage and character that takes.”
“It’s up to us. To all of us. We all want the same thing,” he added. “Neighborhoods free of violence. Law enforcement who earns the community’s trust. Just as every cop when they pin on that badge in the morning has a right to be able to go home at night, so does everybody else out there. Our children have a right to go home safely.”
Bowman screams ‘let’s go Joe’
Progressive Democrats — who are not always Biden’s biggest fans — were fired up during the president’s speech, emerging as some of the most enthusiastic members in the House chamber.
“Mr. President, that was awesome,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) yelled to Biden shortly after he finished his remarks.
That was not the only time Bowman showed his excitement. When Biden said public school teachers should receive a raise, the New York Democrat — who is a former teacher in a Bronx public school — let out a lively “yeah.” And when the president said “no billionaire should be paying a lower tax rate than a school teacher or firefighter,” Bowman and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) screamed “let’s go Joe.”
At one point, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) yelled “you tell ‘em Joe.”
Romney, Santos exchange words before speech
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) were caught on camera exchanging words before Tuesday night’s speech when the senator walked into the chamber and passed the embattled freshman congressman, who was positioned next to the aisle that senators and other dignitaries entered through.
Romney tore into Santos after the speech, calling him “a sick puppy.”
“I don’t know the exact words I said. He shouldn’t have been there. Look, he’s a sick puppy. He shouldn’t have been there,” he told reporters.
“I don’t think he ought to be in Congress and he certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the president of the United States and dignitaries coming in. It’s an embarrassment,” he added.
Santos has drawn scrutiny after admitting that he embellished his resume, and for submitting campaign finance reports that have prompted questions. But despite the controversy, the lawmaker has said he will remain in Congress. McCarthy has stopped short of calling on him to resign, noting that the Ethics Committee will look at his situation.
“He shouldn’t be in Congress and they’re going to go through the process and hopefully get him out,” Romney said of Santos. “If he had any shame at all, he wouldn’t be there.”
Santos shot back at Romney on Twitter: “Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!”
Source: The Hill