President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress where he laid out his vision on the economy, social justice, climate change, immigration, gun control, and other issues he has faced in his first 99 days in office. Following is reaction from North Jersey politicians.
Sen. Bob Menendez
“Tonight, President Biden made clear that our goal as a country cannot simply be to end this pandemic and return to business usual – we must build back better. We must build a more equitable nation, one that roots out the disparities laid bare by this pandemic, protects our voting rights, ensures equal justice for all, and gives everyone a fair shot at the American dream.
“We must invest in 21st century infrastructure that connects communities of all backgrounds to greater economic opportunity and prepares American businesses and workers to compete globally. We must restore our commitment to the middle class and all those striving to join it with policies that strengthen families, like affordable child care, universal pre-K, and free community college.
“We must treat climate change not only as a challenge but also as an opportunity to restore American leadership around the world and create millions of new green jobs here at home. And we must provide the undocumented immigrants who picked our produce, packed our meat, cared for the sick and kept our country afloat during this pandemic with a path to citizenship that will unleash their full potential to grow our economy.
“From combating climate change to preventing gun violence, what I heard from the President tonight was not a divisive agenda but rather a platform of policies that enjoy tremendous bipartisan support from Americans in every corner of this country. They want real action and tangible progress and Democrats stand ready to deliver. I can only hope that my Republican colleagues come to recognize that we have so much more to gain as a country by working with each other instead of against each other.”
Sen. Cory Booker
As I listened to President Biden tonight I am inspired by his vision for our country. If we invest in each other and for each other, we can build an equitable and just future for all Americans.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
Rep. Tom Malinowski
“President Biden’s speech tonight highlighted how far we have come as a nation since his inauguration just 99 days ago — from last in the world to first in fighting COVID, from beating back an insurrection to building back our economy with 21st Century infrastructure.
My guest for this virtual presidential address, Mark Jakuboski, welcomed me at his Hillsborough restaurant, Old Man Rafferty’s, where we watched the speech together with a group of constituents. Like so many other restaurant owners, Mark was forced to close his business at the start of the pandemic, and he shared with me what a difficult time that was. Mark received two loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, which he used to keep his employees on payroll, to hire new staff, and to invest in his outdoor dining space. I’m grateful to him and his team for sharing their story and for their perseverance.
This evening President Biden focused on uplifting stories like Mark’s, and on how we will move our country forward, and that starts with the American Jobs Plan. We have a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild America — our roads and railroads, bridges, tunnels, ports, water pipes, power lines, broadband connections — and to do it in a way that allows America, not China or any other country, to lead the world in transitioning to clean energy.
What President Biden outlined tonight will create millions of jobs across America and will be great for New Jersey, cutting our balance of payments gap with the federal government in half. After years of resistance from the previous administration, we will finally move forward on the Gateway Tunnel. We will give our hard working citizens more affordable health care, better child care options, and help in caring for our elders, freeing us to be more productive. We will also tackle head on some of the most pressing issues facing our country: our broken immigration system, the epidemic of gun violence, and addressing systemic inequality in our justice system.
I hope Republicans will work with us to achieve these goals, which are overwhelmingly popular and bipartisan with the American people, and I’m willing to take on board their ideas so long as the central goals of the plan are preserved. As President Biden outlined this evening, we want to move forward in a fiscally responsible way, paying for investments in our infrastructure and workforce by making sure that corporations like Amazon and FedEx are actually paying federal taxes, and closing loopholes that enable corporations and the wealthy to use foreign tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share. As I have made clear before, any changes to individual taxes must also restore SALT deductions for my middle class constituents.
This is the agenda that New Jerseyans voted for in 2020. I look forward to working with President Biden to make it real.”
Governor Phil Murphy
“Tonight the President put forward a plan for American families as ambitious as the nation itself. As we prepare for our post-pandemic future, the American Families Plan would ensure that all families have the economic, educational, and health security necessary to more fully be part of that future.
“Greater investment in our public schools, especially in pre-K. Making health care and child care more accessible and affordable. Targeted tax breaks that build a stronger middle class. Putting a community college degree with reach of anyone who wants one. Tackling long-standing maternal health disparities. We have made great strides in each of these areas already in New Jersey and have positive proof points for how transformative these policies have been for families across the Garden State. We stand ready to support President Biden in leading the way with forward-looking policies to build a better tomorrow.”