President Biden's State of the Union address

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Jason Kurtz and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 5:35 PM ET, Wed March 2, 2022
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10:06 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden announces new "Test to Treat" initiative and says Americans will get free Covid-19 antiviral pills

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

President Biden announced a new “Test to Treat” initiative and said Americans will be able to get tested for Covid-19 at a pharmacy and receive free antiviral pills “on the spot” if they test positive. 

“If you get Covid-19, the Pfizer pill reduces your chances of ending up in the hospital by 90%,” Biden said. “I’ve ordered more pills than anyone in the world has. Pfizer is working overtime to get us a million pills this month and more than double that next month.” 

Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and severe illness and was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration last year.

Upon its authorization, Biden announced a purchase of 10 million courses. The President has since said the federal government will double its order from 10 million to 20 million treatment courses. 

10:12 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Steelworker and 13-year-old boy share heartwarming handshake during Biden's speech


President Biden's State of the Union just offered audiences an impromptu, heartwarming moment.

The occasion came as Biden was discussing infrastructure, during which he recognized a guest in attendance: Joseph "JoJo" Burgess of the United Steelworkers union.

As Biden introduced Burgess — saying, "Thanks Buddy," — the man stood and waved to the room, allowing applause to set in.

It was at this point that Burgess received a warm handshake from an unlikely source: 13-year-old Joshua Davis, a fellow guest seated just to the steelworker's right.

Watch the moment:

10:28 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Fact check: Biden's claim on building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations

From CNN's Ella Nilsen

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Biden said in his speech tonight that his administration will “build a national network 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations” on the nation’s roads, using money included in the bipartisan infrastructure law he signed in November.  

Facts First: This needs context. For a few reasons, it’s questionable whether the Biden administration will be able to meet its goal of installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations on US roads.  

The $7.5 billion allocated to charging stations in the bipartisan infrastructure law that Biden signed into law last year is just half of the $15 billion that Biden had originally proposed for the charging network. This change from the original proposal could significantly hinder the administration’s ability to meet the goal. 

Second, there’s a wide range in how much different types of chargers cost, and individual states have a lot of leeway deciding what kinds of chargers will go on their roads. DC fast chargers can charge a car to mostly full in 20-30 minutes and are meant to go on major highways and roads. Another kind of charger known as an L2 charger can take hours to charge a car to full. DC fast chargers typically cost around $100,000 compared to around $6,000 for an L2, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, a senior resident fellow at the think tank Third Way, has told CNN.  

In a recent interview with climate publication Grist, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that ultimately the number of EV chargers on the roads “really depends on how the states decide to mix the fast chargers and different types of technology.” 

10:09 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says that Americans will be able to order additional free Covid-19 tests starting next week

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Biden said that his administration has made "hundreds of millions" of free Covid-19 tests available to Americans.

The President said that if you've ordered free tests already, starting next week you can order more through the government's website.

"If you already ordered free tests, tonight, I'm announcing you can order another group of tests, go to starting next week and you can get more tests," Biden said.
9:56 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden calls on Congress to confirm Federal Reserve nominees

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

President Biden called on Congress to confirm his Federal Reserve nominees that have been stalled in the Senate after Republicans boycotted votes, ultimately leaving the President’s five picks in limbo as key decisions on raising interest rates near.

“And while you’re at it, confirm my nominees to the Federal Reserve, which plays a critical role in fighting inflation,” Biden said Tuesday in his first State of the Union address as President while detailing his newly released plan to lower inflation.

“So what are we waiting for? Let’s get this done,” he said moments before.

In February, Senate Republicans boycotted a vote in protest of Biden's nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to be the top banking regulator, halting a slate of pending nominees for the central bank of the United States.

9:55 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says government will start repairing more than 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges this year

From CNN's Sam Fossum

President Biden during his State of the Union remarks announced that his administration plans to start fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges this year through funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

"And tonight, I’m announcing that this year we will start fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair," Biden said in remarks from the House chamber. "We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks. We’re now going to talk about an infrastructure decade."

Biden touted the bipartisan bill and thanked both parties for their work, tying the law to American competition with China. 

"Look, it's going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century that we face with the rest of the world—particularly with China," Biden said.  

He added, "I’ve told Xi Jinping, it's never been a good bet to bet against the American people."

10:02 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden on Covid-19: We have the tools we need to "end the shutdown of schools and businesses"

(Saul Loeb/Pool/AP)
(Saul Loeb/Pool/AP)

President Biden addressed the need for life to get back to normal as his administration's Covid-19 efforts have provided the tools to mitigate the pandemic.

"We can end the shutdown of schools and businesses. We have the tools we need," the President said.

"It's time for America to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again with people. People working from home can feel safe and begin to return to their offices. We're doing that here in the federal government. The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person. Our schools are open. Let's keep it that way," Biden said.

He added, "Most Americans can remove their masks and stay in the classroom and move forward safely. We achieved this because we provided free vaccines, treatments, tests, and masks."

10:05 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says his plan to tackle inflation includes cutting the cost of child care

(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AP)
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AP)

President Biden laid out his plan to tackle rising inflation during his State of the Union remarks, including a proposal to cut the cost of child care.

"Folks, if you live in a major city in America, you pay up to $14,000 a year for child care per child. I was a single dad for five years raising two kids. I had a lot of help, though. I had a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister that really helped. But middle class and working folks shouldn't have to pay more than 7% of their income to care for their young children," Biden said.

He continued, "My plan would cut the cost of child care in half for most families. And help parents, including millions of women who left the workforce during the pandemic, because they couldn't afford child care. To be able to get back to work, generating economic growth. But my plan doesn't stop there. It also includes home- and long-term care. More affordable housing. Pre-K for 3 and 4-year-olds. All of these will lower costs families. Nobody, let me say this again, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes. Not a single penny."
9:47 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden draws some boos as he hits previous administration for Trump tax cuts

From CNN's DJ Judd

President Biden took the opportunity Tuesday to tout his administration’s Covid-relief package, the American Rescue Plan, passed one year ago this week, during his State of the Union remarks.

He boasted that, “Unlike the $2 Trillion tax cut passed in the previous administration that benefitted the top 1% of Americans, the American Rescue Plan — the American Rescue Plan helped working people — and left no one behind.”

Biden’s line, and swipe at his predecessor former President Trump’s tax cuts legislation, prompted the first audible boos of the night, as some lawmakers gathered in the House chamber showed their frustration with the President’s comments.

He then criticized “trickle-down” economics, which he said “led to a weaker economic growth, lower wages, bigger deficits, and widened gap between those at the top and everyone else in nearly a century.”

“Look, Vice President Harris and I ran for office — and I recognize that we have fundamental disagreements on this — with a new economic vision for America,” Biden said, departing from prepared remarks to acknowledge the partisan divide in the chamber, before circling back to his administration’s Infrastructure Bill, passed with a narrow bipartisan majority.

“That’s why it was so important to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I thank my Republican friends who jointed to invest and rebuild America, the single biggest investment in history,” Biden said. “This was a bipartisan effort, and I want to thank the members of both parties who worked to make it happen.”