April 29, 2021 by David Silverberg
Southwest Florida Democrats were elated by President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress last night, April 28, laying out a sweeping vision and comprehensive plans for national recovery and improvement.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans were less than thrilled.
“It’s so refreshing to have a president leading and serving the people, instead of fanning the flames of division and insurrection,” Cindy Banyai, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 19th Congressional District, observed in a message to The Paradise Progressive.
The address to Congress demonstrated the success of his first 100 days, which included administering 200 million vaccines, providing a needed economic stimulus and revealing a vision for the future, she said.
She particularly praised the unveiling of the American Families Plan to boost and support working families and the next generation.
“When we take care of kids, they can get on a meaningful path and we integrate more women into the workforce,” said Banyai. “Family leave, universal pre-kindergarten and access to community colleges just make sense for our economy. We must make these investments if we want to remain global economic leaders.”
She added: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say that I so was proud to have two women, Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Harris, on the dais behind President Biden during the joint address. I’m feeling so optimistic for the future of our country!”
Annisa Karim, chair of the Collier County Democratic Party, was similarly effusive. “President Biden made it clear that we must move forward together as a country,” she said. Moving forward, she pointed out, means investing in the future, making sure everyone is treated equally under the law and acting immediately on the climate crisis by leading development of alternative energy and training people for future jobs.
“I’m proud to have a President that cares for the people of this country and about how we interact with the global community,” she said. “Under President Biden, we can finally move forward together.”
Nationally, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.), who was seated on the dais behind Biden when he spoke, called the speech “a unifying message of resilience, resolve and hope.”
“As the President said,” she noted, “‘America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.’”
Unsurprisingly, Republican congressional representatives were dismissive.
Both Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) and Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), complained that Biden removed his mask to speak, which they argued violated rules against going unmasked on the House floor, and they vowed to go similarly unmasked in the future, risking a $5,000 fine.
Both also criticized the speech for paying insufficient attention to the southwest US border and the influx of migrants there.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) did not issue any comments regarding the speech.
Donalds tweeted his criticisms of the speech in real time. They largely followed Republican doctrine to date.
- He attacked Biden’s infrastructure proposal: “The American Jobs Plan is a plan to spend trillions we don’t have on liberal policies we don’t need.”
- When Biden called for major investment in American public education and teachers, Donalds tweeted: “You don’t improve the quality of education (or anything) by making it free. You improve quality through competition.” Donalds and his wife Erika have long been active in promoting charter and private schools. (See “Byron Donalds and the war against America’s schools.”)
- When Biden said “My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked,” Donalds called it an outright falsehood: “Ok. That is a lie. Trickle down, supply side, or whatever you want to call it has always worked. It works far better than when politicians think they know better.”
- When Biden called for passage of the For the People Act, House Resolution (HR) 1, protecting voting rights, Donalds tweeted: “HR 1 is a disaster” and argued it would destroy Florida election laws.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) was similarly critical in a series of tweets:
- “The Democrats’ ‘infrastructure’ package has nothing to do with real infrastructure. It’s an excuse to spend American taxpayer money on outrageous proposals related to climate change, supporting partisan unions, and increasing funding for schools that refuse to open.”
- He also complained that the Biden administration was insufficiently hard on China and had emboldened Iran.
Nationally, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-23-Calif.) tweeted: “This whole thing could have just been an email.”
Liberty lives in light
© 2021 by David Silverberg