Ewan Larkin PR Week
4 takeaways for PR pros from the State of the Union address
March 8, 2024
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  • WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Thursday evening delivered a fiery, partisan State of the Union address that could have implications for several business sectors, including aviation, healthcare and energy. 

    As well as discussing the war in Ukraine and the January 6 insurrection, Biden laid out some of his future plans, such as reshaping the corporate tax system, if he’s reelected in what is likely to be a bruising reelection campaign against former President Donald Trump.

    Here are the key details PR practitioners need to know. 

    Reproductive rights and health costs

    “Clearly, those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women in America,” Biden said early in his address. “They found out though when reproductive freedom was on the ballot and won in 2022, 2023, and they will find out again, in 2024.”

    Biden added that, if Americans sent him “a Congress that supports the right to choose,” he would “restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.” Several organizations, including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, publicly thanked the president for his allyship. 

    Biden then turned his attention to drug prices and health costs. 

    “Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anywhere else,” he said. “It’s wrong and I’m ending it.” 

    Building on the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden called for capping insulin costs to $35 per month for all Americans. 

    The American Diabetes Association applauded Biden’s comments. 

    Biden said it’s time to go further on Medicaid and give the program the “power to negotiate lower prices for 500 drugs over the next decade,” a move he said would save taxpayers “another $200 billion.”

    He also mentioned capping prescription drug costs at $2,000 a year for everyone, and making permanent tax credits on health insurance that “save $800 per person per year.” 

    Those tax credits are set to expire next year. 

    Addressing the climate crisis 

    Biden, referring to climate change instead as the “climate crisis,” repeatedly underscored the economic benefits of addressing environmental issues. 

    He said, over the next decade, he wants to triple the size of the American Climate Corps, a national service program that trains 20,000 young adults for careers in clean energy and conservation, according to The New York Times. 

    The president also emphasized his goal of slashing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. 

    “I see a future where we save the planet from the climate crisis,” Biden concluded his speech.

    Going after corporate jets

    Biden called for Congress to pursue business income deductions for the use of corporate jets, an area the Internal Revenue System Business is already cracking down on. Business aviation groups clapped back on Friday.

    Alliance for Aviation Across America interim executive director Devin Osting said in a statement the president’s comments “unfairly singled out the business aviation industry — an industry that supports an economic impact of $247 billion and 1.2 million American jobs.” 

    National Business Aviation Association CEO and president Ed Bolen echoed Osting’s sentiment and said in a separate statement, “the vast majority of flights are taken by U.S. companies to help them compete effectively in a global marketplace.”

    “Business aviation allows companies to optimize efficiency, productivity and flexibility and access hard-to-reach communities across the country with little or no airline service,” Bolen added. “That’s why the president’s own Cabinet members sometimes use business aircraft to do their jobs and visit with people in towns and cities across the nation.”

    The Republican response 

    Alabama Senator Katie Britt’s Republican response to Biden’s address drew baffled and appalled responses from fellow GOP members, The Guardian reported. An unnamed Republican strategist told the Daily Beast, “It’s one of our biggest disasters ever.”

    “What the hell am I watching right now?” another unnamed Trump adviser told Rolling Stone.