Tlaib diverges from Biden's State of the Union address



Tlaib particularly focused on climate change, calling on Biden to ban federal fossil fuel leasing and to direct federal agencies to reject permits for new projects. In contrast, the president barely mentioned climate change ― which was at odds with his domestic agenda of making the biggest climate investment in U.S. history.

Other progressives noted Biden’s meager climate mentions, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who told MSNBC, “It definitely was a lost opportunity.”

Tlaib’s comments also contrasted with the president’s on police reform, specifically on defunding the police.

“We can’t police away homelessness, poverty or our mental health crisis in our country,” said Tlaib. “Care, not more criminalization is how we ensure lasting safety for all.”

During Biden’s address, he attracted bipartisan applause with his continued support for police.

“We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them.”

Tlaib also dinged both the Republican Party and “corporate-backed Democratic obstructionists” for blocking the party’s $1.7 trillion social spending plan, formerly known as “Build Back Better.” The bill, which would increase climate provisions, lower drug costs, and offer universal pre-K, was shot down by Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), although Tlaib did not call out the detractors of the bill by name.

The Michigan lawmaker announced she would be delivering remarks on behalf of the Working Families Party last Thursday, continuing the organization’s tradition of recruiting a progressive response to the State of the Union. Previous remarks were delivered by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in 2021 ― although this was in response to Biden’s joint address — Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) in 2020, Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Mandela Barnes in 2019, and former Rep. Donna Edwards in 2018. Her speech was live streamed on the organization’s Facebook page following the president’s address.

It’s quite unusual for members of the president’s party to respond with their own remarks ― it’s a role usually reserved for the opposing party’s. But it’s a growing trend in recent years.

The congresswoman’s decision to rebut the president’s message was not well received across the political spectrum, with both Republicans and Democrats mocking the divisions with the governing party. But Tlaib is not the only one to offer a Democratic response to the State of the Union ― Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) delivered remarks on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, while Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) gave a “bipartisan perspective” for the centrist group No Labels. Gottheimer also blasted Tlaib for offering her own response, comparing it to “keying your own car and slashing your tires,” according to Axios.

A State of the Union response has been seen as a slot that could highlight rising talent within a party ― but on the flipside, it could be a point of blunder for lawmakers whose mid-speech mistakes could stain their reputation.





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