Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon Reacts to President Biden’s First Address to a Joint Session of Congress

Tonight, President Biden delivered a Joint Address to Congress, but he was clearly speaking to the American people. He did not shy away from the challenges our nation faces or the tensions that exist in our society. Rather, he offered solutions that give us a shared path forward.

The speech was a welcome return to tradition as President Biden used the opportunity to address the entire nation, to lay out his vision for the country, and to start a conversation with the country and Congress about how we can best work together for the American people. We came together this evening for a powerful moment of reflection and ambition. When President Biden took the oath of office 100 days ago, he pledged that help was on the way. Now, thanks to our work together to enact the American Rescue Plan, help is here. But we know it’s not enough to only meet the needs of today; we must empower our communities with the growth and innovation of tomorrow.

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, we heard President Biden’s plan to do just that. The American Families Plan is a once-in-a-generation investment in the foundations of middle-class prosperity: education, health care, and child care. This is a plan to invest in our kids, our families, and our economic future, because when American families do well, our nation thrives.

This ambitious and historic plan is another promise kept by the President — it’s time to Build Back Better.

On a personal note, I was so moved by the historic image with which we started the night: For the first time ever, two women were flanking the President of the United States as he delivered the address. While I was personally moved to see the first woman Vice President and the first woman Speaker of the House sitting on the dais, I was even more thrilled that our children would see that image and internalize the possibilities for their own lives and futures.

I was also glad to welcome Dr. Ala Stanford, Founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, as my virtual guest tonight. I’ve worked with Dr. Stanford since the early days of the pandemic, and no one in our region has done more to address the needs of our underserved communities in Philadelphia and Delaware County during the pandemic. People like Dr. Stanford are the true heroes of America’s recovery, and tonight was the perfect opportunity to honor those who have worked so hard to help America get back on track.

I am ending this evening feeling hopeful and ready to get to work. It’s time to deliver results for American families, restore their faith in government, and demonstrate that government can in fact work for the people.

Mary Gay Scanlon currently serves a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.