: Biden’s State of the Union: Here are key proposals from his speech
President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech offered new proposals on a range of issues, as he tries to make a mark on Wall Street, Big Tech, housing, healthcare and other sectors.
Below are some of the key plans. Many of the Democratic president’s ideas could be dead on arrival in the Republican-run House of Representatives.
The 46th commander-in-chief’s legislative initiatives might not have much chance of becoming reality, but they’re “meant to show Biden is working to lower prices and be fiscally responsible,” said analysts at Beacon Policy Advisors, in a note.
The White House released some details for the proposals ahead of Biden’s address.
Quadrupling the tax on stock buybacks: Biden, as expected, called for quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks, after the Inflation Reduction Act last year imposed a 1% levy on repurchases. The Biden White House says it’s aiming to encourage companies to invest in their growth, while defenders of buybacks say they typically don’t cause investment cuts — and they’re a more flexible way to return money to investors
than dividend payouts.
Billionaire minimum tax: The president urged Congress to pass a billionaire minimum tax, as his administration says billionaires pay an average tax rate of just 8%. The Biden White House says this proposal would ensure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a lower tax rate than teachers and firefighters.
Big Tech proposals: Biden called for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage. He also urged lawmakers to hold social media companies accountable for what he described as the experiments they’re running on children. In addition, he said it’s time to pass legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting kids’ personal data, as well as ban targeted ads aimed at kids. There wasn’t much progress on these fronts in Biden’s first two years in office.
Cutting the deficit: Biden pledged to cut the deficit by $2 trillion, as his next budget proposal is due to be released next month. He has talked up deficit reduction in the past, and at least one watchdog flagged his claims as misleading.
More housing aid for low-income veterans: Ahead of the speech, the White House said Biden’s upcoming budget will “triple the number of extremely low-income veterans who can access the assistance they need to afford rent over the years ahead, paving the path to an entitlement for those who have served our country.” In his address, the president called for “helping veterans afford the rent.”
Expand $35 cap for insulin copays: Biden, as expected, called on Congress to extend a monthly price cap of $35 for insulin copays to all Americans, after the Inflation Reduction Act last year introduced that cap for people on Medicare.
Junk fees: Biden reiterated his call for Congress to pass a “Junk Fees Prevention Act” that would target early termination fees from telecoms, resort fees and similar practices. The president criticized junk fees last week, highlighting airline charges aimed at parents who want to sit with their children and concert-ticket fees.
Policing reform: Biden again urged Congress to pass policing reform. He said police officers put their lives on the line and are asked to do too much, but what happened to Tyre Nichols occurs too often. Nichols was the Black man who died after he being beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tenn.
New “Made in the USA” rules: Biden rolled out proposed rules to ensure construction materials are made domestically. The president said he’s “announcing new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.”
Extend subsidies for Obamacare: The president touted Democratic efforts that lowered premiums for Affordable Care Act coverage by an average of $800 per person per year, as he called on Congress to make these ACA savings permanent.
MarketWatch’s Robert Schroeder contributed to this report.