WATCH: President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress

MSR News Online/ President Biden addresses Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (l) and Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history as the first women behind a president

President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress looked and felt a bit different than previous addresses. First, it was notably scaled-down, as only 200 members of Congress were invited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Also, a bit of history was made, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi becoming the first two women to sit behind the president.

President Biden marked his 99th day in office with a forward-looking speech that touched on a mix of issues, from voting rights and climate change to infrastructure. Biden celebrated the COVID relief package and also pitched future plans, including his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that experts say could cut child poverty by more than half.

President Biden condemned White supremacy and the “knee of injustice on the neck of Black America.” He lauded the guilty conviction of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd and called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act before the anniversary of Floyd’s death.

“It was nearly a year ago before her father’s funeral when I spoke with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s young daughter,” said President Biden. “As I knelt down to talk to her so we could talk eye-to-eye, she said to me, ‘Daddy changed the world.’  After the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer, we can see how right she was – if we have the courage to act. We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black America.”

He continued, “My fellow Americans, we have to come together.  To rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. To root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system.  And to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already. 

“We need to work together to find a consensus. Let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death. The country supports this reform.  Congress should act,” said Biden. “We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  Real justice. And with the plans I outlined tonight, we have a real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues American life in many other ways.  A chance to deliver real equity.”

Watch more of the address below:

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