State of the Union 2023
The president promised a lot last year. See how we evaluate some of these promises.
POLITICO Illustrations/Photos by AP Photo/Getty Images/iStock
promise promise. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address last year was full of it: from Ukraine to infrastructure, immigration and reproductive rights.
So how did the president fulfill those promises? POLITICO has reviewed some of the allegations over the past year to track its progress just before delivering what is expected to be another political speech on Tuesday night.
Here is our testimonial with the following scale: Successful, In Progress, Needs Improvement, Failed.
What Biden said:"Together with our allies, we stand with Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Military, economic, humanitarian aid. We are giving over a billion dollars in direct aid to Ukraine and will continue to help the Ukrainian people defend their country. your suffering."
“...In the struggle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are emerging at the moment. The world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security. This is the real test. It will take time. So let's continue to be inspired by the iron will of the Ukrainian people."
Who has:In the year since Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden and his administration have formed a surprisingly strong Western alliance.committed more than $27.1 billionin security assistance since the beginning of the war.
Last month, Biden pledged 31 Abrams tanks, helping to persuade reluctant Germany to send its own tanks to help Ukraine repel a spring offensive. The next phase will be abiggest challenge: Biden's task of holding the alliance together becomes more difficult as the war rages on.
inflation and economy
Note: In progress
What Biden said:“My top priority is getting prices under control. ... My anti-inflation plan will reduce your costs and reduce the deficit. ...First, lower the cost of prescription drugs. ... Second, let's reduce household energy bills by an average of $500 a year by fighting climate change. …Third, reduce the cost of daycare.”
Who has:Inflation continued to weigh on the economy, although it has steadily dropped to 6.5% from a peak of 9.1% in June. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says he wants to bring inflation down to the central bank's 2 percent target.Biden praised a great job last weekreport, but the concern is that a buoyant market will boost wages and further fuel inflation.
As for its specific proposals, the Anti-Inflationary Law gave the Minister of Health the power to negotiate prices for a select number of drugs: 10 by 2026. That number will increase to 20 in 2029.
For energy costs, Washington Post Fact CheckerGlenn Kessler had exposedBiden's entitlement to $500 a year and the president's childcare proposals were removed from the final version of the IRA.
What Biden said:“We will build a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin replacing toxic lead pipes so every child and every American has clean water at home and at school, and provide affordable high-speed Internet service to all. Americans: urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. ... And tonight I am announcing that this year we will begin repairing over 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 crumbling bridges.
Who has:The White House in Augustannounced that all 50 statesand Puerto Rico presented plans for the national electric vehicle charging network. And last month, the government launched its“Lead and Paint Tube Action Plan”to replace all major service lines over the next 10 years.
On bridges, the administration "has launched 2,800 bridge repair and replacement projects across the country," the White House said in a November memo describing what it accomplished.a year after Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The government did not release specific highway mileage numbers, but said states will receive $60 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure bill this fall for additional highway and bridge projects.
Note: In progress
What Biden said:“But friends, to compete for the jobs of the future, we also need a level playing field with China and other competitors. That's why it's so important that Congress passes the bipartisan Innovation Act, which will enable record investment in new technologies and American manufacturing."
Who has:That bill ended up on Biden's desk as the CHIPS and Science Act. The measure has been watered down over time, but has given the president an additional victory in addition to a series of legislative victories.
Note: Need to improve
What Biden said:"And I will continue to do everything in my power to crack down on the gun trade, with ghost guns you can buy online and assemble at home, serial numberless, untraceable."
“And I urge Congress to take proven measures to reduce gun violence. Pass universal background checks, ... ban assault weapons with high-capacity cartridges, ... end the liability protection that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that cannot be sued."
Who has:The Biden administration has cracked down on ghost guns, but other key measures like background checks, banning assault weapons and lifting the liability shield still seem unrealistic, especially with the House now led by the GOP.
The president has made big strides on guns this year after the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas: He signed the first gun law in nearly three decades in June, strengthened background checks on young gun buyers, and helped states to implement this. Warning signs and firearms kept away from more domestic abusers. The following month, the Senate confirmed the first director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms since 2013. Biden also became the first president to speak at the national vigil for all victims of gun violence on Dec. shooting at Sandy Hook. . .
But as the shootings continue,Marine groups want to see moreof the president
Rating: NEEDS IMPROVEMENT - TRUE BUT MISLEADING
What Biden said:"By the end of this year, the deficit will have been reduced to less than half the level it was before I took office, the only president to reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year."
Who has:The deficit was incredibly large in 2020 due to the Covid shutdown of the economy and the federal government spending trillions on pandemic relief, so a big drop was expected.
The fiscal deficit in fiscal 2020 was $3.1 trillion and in 2021 it was $2.8 trillion. The deficit in 2022 was $1.4 trillion, so technically the president is right, although his policies have not resulted in significant spending cuts.
Salary and family allowance
What Biden said:“We are going to pass the Paycheck and Holiday Paid Fairness Act. Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And extend the tax credit to children so nobody has to raise a family in poverty.”
Who has:Both wage measures failed to make headway in Congress, and lawmakers failed to extend the child tax credit enacted in Biden's freshman year. Efforts were made to include it in the year-end bill, but these too failed.
Note: In progress
What Biden said:"Based on the progress we've made, your resilience and the tools this Congress has given us, I can say tonight that we are safely returning to a more normal routine."
"We will continue to fight the virus as we do other diseases," Biden said, ensuring confidence that vaccines will be ready for younger Americans, antiviral treatments will be widely available, and the administration's "Test to Treat" initiative will be launched. He also called for schools and businesses to reopen.
Who has:Biden was right that 2022 was the year many Americans returned to pre-pandemic activities, including travel and larger gatherings. The government has also taken additional measures to combat covid, including a campaign to encourage people to get upgraded booster shots.
However, Covid has not gone away and the administration has been unable to get additional pandemic funding from Congress. Furthermore, Biden's action means ending Covid and national public health emergencies.Americans must start payingHe defended many of these measures in last year's speech.
Note: Need to improve
What Biden said:“I know what works: investing in crime prevention and community police who control the pace, know the neighborhood and can restore confidence and security. Therefore, we will not leave our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice. Let's unite to protect our communities, restore trust and hold authorities accountable. ... We must all agree: the answer is not to fund the police. The answer is to FINANCE the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”
Who has:The Biden administration has made historic investments in community violence intervention programs, many of which fund community police.
But talks on police reform never resumed last year after they collapsed in 2021. After the George Floyd Fairness in Policing Act failed to move forward in Congress, Biden signed an executive order reforming police practices. But since the murder of Tire Nichols by Memphis cops last month, Bidenrecognized the shortcomingsreform efforts - and again urged Congress to reach a compromise.
What Biden said:“And if we want to promote freedom and justice, we have to protect the border and fix the immigration system,” he said, defending the need for new technologies to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking. He also said the federal government must create a path for Dreamers, those with temporary protection status, farm workers and essential workers.
Who has:The president didn't earn muchadvances in immigrationReform since its last SOTU. A bipartisan deal in Congress seems out of reach, and there has been little movement on popular measures like a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other dreamers.
The border remains a vexing issue for the White House, though it's worth noting that a divided Congress and courts have prevented them.
Note: Need to improve
What Biden said:“Constitutional law maintained byRoe contra Wade– a half-century precedent – is under attack like never before. If we want to move forward, not backward, we must protect access to care. Preserve women's right to choose.
Who has:POLITICO reported this two months after Biden's speechThe Supreme Court voted in favor of Roe v. drop wade.While Biden spoke of preserving voting rights in the SOTU speech, his administration and Democrats have been criticized for not enshrining reproductive rights in law.
Since the Supreme Court overturned the right in June, Vice President Kamala Harris has taken the lead on the issue, recently traveling from Florida to Florida for the 50th anniversary.Roe contra Wade.Shouted "extremists"as state legislators seek to enact more restrictions on reproductive rights.
What Biden said:"And for our LGBTQ+ Americans, we will finally have the bipartisan Equality Act on my desk. The state law's attack on transgender Americans and their families is wrong."
Who has:That bill was never voted on in the Senate, but Biden saw it.Marriage Equality Act in December, which legally codifies same-sex and interracial marriages.