March 3, 2022

Last January, President Biden was sworn into office as a nation in disarray looked on – left shocked by the attacks on our democracy and battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic harm. But during his State of the Union Address, President Biden reported that America is coming back strong. Here are five things I took away from his speech:

1.     America Is Well on the Road to Recovery

We’ve made big strides over the last year, from the deployment of millions of vaccines to defeat the pandemic to record job growth. This progress was made possible by the resilience of people across Maryland and the nation and the passage of the American Rescue Plan. Through the American Rescue Plan, we delivered historic relief to Maryland families, workers, and communities and gave our economy a boost. As President Biden highlighted, America is seeing the fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years. Cases are down, businesses are opening up, and a sense of normalcy is returning. And with the passage of the infrastructure modernization law, we’ve started the historic effort of putting millions of Americans to work building the infrastructure of the 21st century by investing in our roads, bridges, public transit, tunnels, broadband, water and sewer systems, ports, electric vehicle infrastructure, and more. These two achievements, taken together, have brought vital relief to those suffering from the pandemic and will create once-in-a-generation change across Maryland and the country. They are already improving the lives of countless Americans and providing more opportunity to folks across our state.

2.     We Must Stand Up for Democracy and Stand Against Tyrants

Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine has already caused grave suffering. Putin has blood on his hands, and he must be held accountable for unleashing this unprovoked violence in the heart of Europe. In his address, President Biden underscored the swift and severe actions our nation has taken – in concert with NATO and other global allies – to stand up to Putin’s aggression. Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has already proven to be an epic miscalculation. America has rallied our allies. We stand united with the people of Ukraine, and we will continue to deliver military, economic, and humanitarian assistance. The President has it right: democracy will always triumph over autocracy.

3.     We Must Meet This Moment To Lower Costs and Grow Opportunity for All

Even with all of the economic progress we’ve made, too many families are still struggling to make ends meet. But together with President Biden, we’re working to lower everyday costs for the things that matter most – health care, elder care, child care, prescription drugs, and gas. It’s time to redouble our efforts to accelerate our economic recovery, grow opportunity, cut costs, and invest in the prosperity of every Marylander and every American. President Biden laid out a vision to do just that. By enacting this plan, we will help ease the strain on Marylanders’ pocketbooks and help our communities thrive. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to get this done.

4.     We Must Come Together on Shared Priorities

We should all be able to agree on solutions to many of the everyday challenges that affect Americans. In his address, President Biden laid out a unity agenda with four areas that are deeply impacting our communities – and where we believe we can find bipartisan consensus. For starters, as far too many Marylanders know, the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on our communities. Additionally, we’ve made incredible medical advances, but cancer still has a devastating impact on too many families. And we must do more to help Americans with mental health issues and keep the promises we’ve made to our veterans. These are priorities that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle know we must address, and I hope my Republican colleagues will join us in our efforts to pass legislation on each of these fronts.

5.     Our Best Days Lie Ahead

Big challenges remain, from beating COVID-19 once and for all, to continuing our economic recovery, to defending democracy and charting the course of our shared future. It’s time to take bold climate action. It’s time to enact gun safety measures to regulate ghost guns and strengthen federal oversight so we can protect our families and our communities. It’s time to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It’s time to get dark money out of our democracy. President Biden laid out his plan to meet these priorities, and others too – while reiterating his faith that our brightest days are still to come. As the President said in his address: “It is never a good bet to bet against the American people.”

In the weeks and months ahead, I will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the White House and my colleagues in Congress to advance the priorities laid out in President Biden’s State of the Union Address and build a stronger America for all. We have a duty – but also a unique opportunity – to tackle the challenges facing our communities head-on and to deliver results to the American people. But democracy isn’t a spectator sport. We must work together to build a stronger Maryland and a stronger country. I hope you will join me in that cause.






          Chris Van Hollen