March 8, 2024

Biden’s SOTU Address Highlights Whitehouse Priorities to Grow the Middle Class and Defend Freedoms at Home and Abroad

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, today applauded President Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address, which highlighted an array of Whitehouse priorities aimed at growing the middle class and defending freedoms at home and abroad.

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

President Biden: “Working people who built this country pay more into Social Security than millionaires and billionaires do.  It’s not fair.  We have two ways to go on Social Security.  Republicans will cut Social Security and give more tax cuts to the wealthy.  I will protect and strengthen Social Security and make the wealthy pay their fair share!”

Whitehouse’s Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act would shore up the solvency of Social Security and Medicare indefinitely by making the nation’s highest earners contribute a fairer share of their income.

Making the Wealthiest Americans Pay A Fair Share

President Biden: “No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a teacher, a sanitation worker, a nurse!  That’s why I’ve proposed a minimum tax of 25 percent for billionaires.  Just 25 percent.  That would raise $500 billion over the next 10 years.”

Whitehouse has long championed the Buffett Rule, which would set a simple 30 percent minimum effective tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.

Ending Dark Money

President Biden: “But 59 years later, there are forces taking us back in time: voter suppression, election subversion, unlimited dark money, extreme gerrymandering.  John Lewis was a great friend to many of us here. But if you truly want to honor him and all the heroes who marched with him, then it’s time to do more than talk.  Pass the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Right Act!”

The Freedom to Vote Act includes Whitehouse’s DISCLOSE Act.  The DISCLOSE Act would end the scourge of dark money, shine a bright light of transparency on politics, and make government more accountable to the will of voters.

Making Homeownership Affordable

President Biden: “I want to provide an annual tax credit that will give Americans $400 a month for the next two years as mortgage rates come down to put toward their mortgage when they buy a first home or trade up for a little more space.”

In the coming days, Whitehouse is set to introduce the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Act, which would put home ownership within reach for more families across Rhode Island.

Preventing Junk Fees

President Biden: “I’m saving American families $20 billion a year with all of the junk fees I’m eliminating.  And I’m not stopping there.  My Administration has proposed rules to make cable travel utilities and online ticket sellers tell you the total price upfront so there are no surprises.”

Whitehouse is an original sponsor of the Junk Fee Prevention Act, which is led by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Whitehouse issued the following statement yesterday evening after the conclusion of the President’s address:

“We saw a forceful, very hopeful message from President Biden tonight.  The President made clear that he is energetically fighting for the middle class and putting a real check on corrupt corporate special interests and the fossil fuel industry, which ran the show during the previous administration.  And he strongly addressed the climate crisis and pledged to rid our political system of dark money.

“I am very pleased to hear the President call for safeguarding Social Security and Medicare by having the wealthiest Americans finally start paying their fair share.  Social Security and Medicare would be under threat in a Republican-run government.  It is time to finally level the playing field so teachers and firefighters aren’t paying a larger share of their income in taxes than billionaires. 

“There are big challenges ahead.  Namely, tackling climate change and defending democracy and freedom at home and abroad.  Democrats have shown time and time again that we are the only party willing and able to tackle these challenges.  The battle isn’t won overnight, but we are using every available tool to fight hard for a better future for every American.”

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921