2023 State of the Union: Biden Showcases Accomplishments and Renewed Energy


On February 7, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union, speaking to the story of America, and referencing the nation’s resilience and the progress made during his presidency thus far. Despite a back-and-forth with Republican hecklers that dominated headlines, Biden expressed his optimism for the nation’s future, touting investment in American innovation, the passing of legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, and his hopes for bipartisan partnership in passing critical legislation.

Biden opened by congratulating congressional leaders, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who recently won the gavel after 15 votes and several tumultuous days of voting, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the first black leader of a party within Congress. He also congratulated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on their renewed positions.

Biden continued by harkening back to his first address to a joint session of Congress in 2021, just 99 days after he assumed the presidency, when COVID-19 still impacted the daily life of most Americans and the country was in a period of economic downturn. Biden reminded the audience that he has since created more jobs in a single term than any other president in US history, as COVID has released its hold on the general population. He also emphasized that his presidency has spurred an increase in cooperation between the Democratic and Republican parties, such as with the Respect for Marriage Act, passed in a 61-36 Senate vote.

In a poll of 80 Tech students, 30% of respondents indicated that they watched the State of the Union. Of this 30%, 59% felt that Biden addressed issues that they genuinely cared about, with students emphasizing abortion policy, inflation, and party cooperation as their biggest concerns.

Finance major Robert Reatz (‘23) said, “I like that he addressed unity between the parties. The ability to compromise and come to agreements across party lines is vital for a functioning democracy.”

Dr. Cheung, a teacher in the Social Studies department, was not so optimistic. “It was terrible to keep pushing bipartisanship because it’s never gonna happen,” Cheung said, adding that Biden should focus on enacting executive orders to implement his policies.

As Biden continuously called for bipartisan collaboration, he highlighted that since he took office, 300 pieces of bipartisan legislation have been signed, and he anticipated that more will be signed in the new session of Congress.

Nicolas Wiedemann (‘26) said, “I really liked [Biden’s] strong and unwavering answers about vetoing any legislation banning abortion or cutting social security. However, he needs to go further and codify reproductive rights as well as expand social services and healthcare.”

Biden reiterated his promise to veto any federal legislation restricting abortion, which several Republican senators have attempted to introduce since Roe was overturned by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last June. Since the decision, thirteen states have put full abortion bans in place. However, courts have blocked proposed bans in eight states, and of the twenty-six states that legally permit abortions, twenty have placed new protections on abortion laws.

Reatz continued to express support for Biden’s words, saying, “I thought that the student loan forgiveness act was a good idea because I think the burdensome debt caused by student loans is negatively impacting social mobility.” As Biden addressed student loans, he emphasized the importance of an educated workforce in order to keep up with rising economic competition around the globe, as well as the opportunity of a “good career” for every American.

Alex Arkhinpenko (‘25) said, “I don’t feel like he addressed the country’s biggest issues and those he did, it seemed like he glossed over them a little. It seemed like he was purposefully saying inflammatory things to get a response out of the far right politicians and then putting them on the spot, like with the sunsetting of the Medicare/Medicaid comment,” in reference to Biden’s comment that congressional Republicans would rather terminate core health programs than alienate corporate donors.

Biden did not shy away from conflict with his conservative colleagues, making several comments casting a negative light on Republican platforms. In one example, he remarked, “Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans,” referring to the refusal of congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, which the nation reached earlier this year. These statements resulted in persistent jeering from congressional Republicans like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), who yelled “liar” at Biden across the House floor.

Wiedemann said, “I was not really surprised by the interruptions, they were mostly petty, but it was interesting to see their claim that they didn’t want to cut social security, so I want to see if they keep that promise.”

After the heckling died down, Biden responded to Taylor Greene’s taunts with a smile and a thumbs-up. “​​So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now, right?” Biden stated.

Wiedemann agreed that the hecklers worked against Republican interests, giving Biden a chance to showcase his sharp personality, disproving Republican labels like “Sleepy Joe,” a nickname coined by former President Donald Trump in reference to Biden’s age. “Biden was able to think on his feet well and give strong answers to interruptions, and I think that at a time when many are questioning his ability to serve another term, I think that it was good to show the public that Biden still has charisma and energy in him,” he said.