Making his pitch for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan he considers a job booster, President Joe Biden warned Republicans they need to get on board or watch China "the most significant, consequential nation in the world."
"We can't be so busy competing with one another that we forget the competition that we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century," Biden said in his address to a joint session of Congress on his 99th day in office.
"Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken can tell you, I spent a lot of time with President Xi [Jinping], traveled 75,000 miles with him, spent 24 hours in private discussions with him. I called to congratulate him, we had a two-hour discussion.
"He's deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world. He and others, autocrats, think that democracy can't compete in the 21st century: It takes too long to get consensus."
Biden admitted getting Republicans on board for more spending will be difficult, but said he is willing to listen to other ideas before moving forward with or without consensus.
"I wanted to lay out before the Congress my plan, before we go to into the deep discussions, I would like to meet with those who have ideas that are different, that they think are better," Biden said. "I welcome those ideas. But the rest of the world is not waiting for us. I just want to be clear.
"From my perspective, doing nothing is not an option."
Biden also took some shots at the state of the union before his administration began Jan. 20, saying "America's house was on fire" and calling the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War."
"We all know life can knock us down," Biden said. "But in America, we never, ever, ever stay down. Americans always get up.
"Today that's what we're doing. America is rising anew, choosing hope over fear, truth over lies, and light over darkness.
"After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for a takeoff, in my view. We're working again, dreaming again, discovering again, and leading the world again.
Biden hailed 220 million COVID-19 vaccination doses administered in his first 100 days in office.
"Tonight, I can say, because of you, the American people, our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements, logistical achievements, this country has ever seen," Biden said.
Biden also hailed the economic revival after the pandemic lockdowns suppressed the economy.
"The economy created more than 1,300,000 new jobs in 100 days – more jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record," Biden boasted.
Biden used the term "crisis" a number of times during his address, but it was related to the global coronavirus pandemic and his administration's climate-change agenda and not the migrant immigration buildup at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
"There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can't be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing – no reason, none, no reason," Biden said. "So folks, there's no reason why American workers can't lead the world in production of electric vehicles and batteries. There is no reason. We have the capacity. The best trained people in the world."
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