President Biden's State of the Union address

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Jason Kurtz and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 2235 GMT (0635 HKT) March 2, 2022
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11:31 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Fact check: Biden's claim touting record job growth

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam 

(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AP)
(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AP)

President Biden touted record job growth under his administration during his speech tonight.

“Our economy created over 6.5 million new jobs just last year, more jobs in one year than ever before in the history of the United States of America,” Biden said. 

Facts First: This is true. The US added 6.6 million jobs in the first 12 months of Biden’s term, more than the US added in any year going back to 1939, when this data series was first published. However, the Biden-era gains should be viewed with contextual caution. Biden inherited an economy that had been crushed by unprecedented pandemic-related job losses.  

Biden took office less than a year after the economy shed more than 22 million jobs in two months because of the pandemic. Even with the jobs rebound — which began under President Trump in May 2020 — the US was still, as of January 2022, down more than 2 million jobs from when the pandemic hit. In other words, the substantial Biden-era gains are still filling the giant pandemic hole. 

Biden is free, of course, to argue that he is doing a good job filling that hole, and some economists argue that the pandemic stimulus package he signed into law in early 2021 has played a significant role in the subsequent job growth. But the timing of Biden’s inauguration was a key factor too. 

9:59 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says the current American tax system "ain't fair"

President Biden said that his policies would not raise taxes on anyone "earning less than $400,000 a year."  

The President continued, "I may be wrong, but my guess is if we took a secret ballot on this floor, that we would all agree that the present tax system ain't fair." 

Biden said that the US has to "fix" the tax system.

"I'm not looking to punish anybody. But let's make corporations and wealthy Americans start paying their fair share," he added.

Watch the moment:

9:45 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden addresses rising gas prices

From CNN's Allie Malloy

(Saul Loeb/Pool/AP)
(Saul Loeb/Pool/AP)

President Biden addressed rising gas prices as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused prices to spike.

“I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming to all Americans but I want you to know we’re going to be okay," he said.

“To all Americans, I will be honest with you, as I’ve always promised I would be. A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world,” Biden continued.

The President formally announced that the US and its allies agreed to a release of 60 million barrels from their reserves, as leaders seek to dampen the effect of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on gas prices at home. 

Biden said he was making the move to make sure “we use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers.”

“America will lead that effort, releasing 30 million barrels from our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And we stand ready to do more if necessary, united with our allies,” Biden said.

“These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home. But I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming to all Americans but I want you to know we’re going to be okay, we’re going to be okay. When the history of this era is written, Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” Biden added.

9:40 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden on manufacturing: "Let's make it in America"

President Biden said he wants to fight inflation by lowering costs to make goods, not lowering wages for Americans.

"One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer. I think I have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower costs, not your wages."

The President said that lowering costs will lead to more American manufacturing.

"Folks, that means make more cars and semi-conductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. Instead of relying on foreign supply chains. Let's make it in America," he said.

 

12:44 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Biden calls on Congress to "stand and send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

(Shawn Thew/Poo/AP)
(Shawn Thew/Poo/AP)

President Biden began his first State of the Union address with a display of solidarity for the Ukrainian people, receiving a bipartisan standing ovation as he called on members of Congress to stand in the House chamber in a show of support for Ukraine.

“In this struggle, President Zelensky said in his speech to the European Parliament, ‘Light will win over darkness.’ The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States is here tonight sitting with the first lady,” Biden said.

He continued, “Let each of us here tonight in this Chamber if you’re able to stand, stand and send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world.”

He received a loud standing ovation from the members, many of whom wore blue and yellow in support of Ukraine. Ukraine Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova stood beside first lady Jill Biden as the chamber applauded, holding her country’s flag.

“We, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people,” Biden said.

Biden later praised the people of Ukraine and Ukranian-Americans amid the ongoing crisis, which he conceded would “take time.”

“This is a real test. And it’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people. To our fellow Ukrainian-Americans who forged a deep bond that connects our two nations, we stand with you,” he said.

9:34 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden on infrastructure law: "The single biggest investment in history. It was a bipartisan effort."

President Biden touted the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, thanking both Democrats and Republicans for their support.

"America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on earth. Our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world. Won't be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st century if we don't fix it. That's why it was so important to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law," Biden said. 

"I thank my Republican friends who joined to invest in rebuilding America. The single biggest investment in history. It was a bipartisan effort. I want to thank the members of both parties who worked to made  it happen. We're done talking about infrastructure weeks. We're now talking about an infrastructure decade," Biden continued.

9:43 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden recognizes the Ukrainian ambassador to the US: "She's bright, she's strong, she's resolved"

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, acknowledges President Joe Biden as first lady Jill Biden applauds.
Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, acknowledges President Joe Biden as first lady Jill Biden applauds. (J. Scott Applewhite/PoolAP)

President Biden recognized the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, who is sitting in first lady Jill Biden’s box watching the President’s State of the Union address. 

“Let’s each of us, if you’re able to stand, stand and send an unmistakable signal to the world, to Ukraine,” Biden said to the members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and members of his Cabinet attending the speech in the House chamber. 

Markarova placed her hand over her heart and held a Ukrainian flag. The first lady leaned over to embrace Markarova as the chamber rose to its feet and applauded. 

“She’s bright, she’s strong, she’s resolved,” Biden said. “Yes. We the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Watch the moment:

9:25 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden pledges US forces "are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine"

From CNN's DJ Judd

President Biden reiterated Tuesday that the US would not deploy troops to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, telling members of Congress gathered for his State of the Union, “Let me be clear — our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.”

Instead, the President said, American troops were deployed to Europe not to fight in Ukraine, “but to defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west.”

“For that purpose, we have mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia,” he added.

Previously, Biden has said the US would hold fast to NATO’s Article 5 principle, which says that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all member counties—in Tuesday’s remarks, he pledged, “As I’ve made crystal clear, the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power.”

For Ukraine, the President touted “more than $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine,” including military, economic, and humanitarian aide from the US and allies.

9:47 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden to Americans alarmed by news in Ukraine: "We're going to be okay"

(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AP)
(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AP)

President Biden aimed to calm concerned Americans who are worried about the war going on Ukraine.

"I know news about what is happening can seem alarming to all Americans. What I want you to know, we're going to be okay. We're going to be okay." 

"When the history of this era is written, Putin's war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger," the President said.