Good evening, I’m Senator Tim Scott from the great state of South Carolina. We just heard president Biden’s first address to Congress. Our president seems like a good man. his speech was full of good words, but President Biden promised you a specific kind of leadership. He promised you to lower the temperature, to govern for all Americans, no matter how we voted.
This was the pitch. You just heard it again. Our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes. we need policies and progress that brings us closer together. But three months in, the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further and further apart. I won’t waste your time with finger-pointing or partisan victory bickering. You can get that on TV anytime you want. I want an honest conversation about common sense and common ground. About the feeling that I nation’s leading off the shared foundation, and how we move forward together. Growing up, and never dreamed I would be standing here tonight.
When I was a kid, my parents divorced. My mother, my brother and I moved in with my grandparents. Three of us, sharing one bedroom. I was disillusioned, angry, and I nearly failed out of school. But I was blessed. First, with my mom. To the single mothers out there who are working their tails off, working hard, trying to make the ends meet, wondering, is this worth it? You can bet it is. God bless. Your amazing effort on the part of your kids.
I was also blessed by a Chic-fil-a operator, John Monise, with a string of opportunities that are only possible here in America. This past year and watched COVID attack every rung of the ladder that held me up. So many families have lost parents and grandparents too early. Too many small businesses have gone under. Becoming a Christian transformed my life, but for months to many churches were shut down. Most of all, I’m saddened that millions of kids have lost a year of learning when they could
not afford to lose a single day. Locking vulnerable kids a of the classroom is locking adults out of their future. Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries did. Private and religious schools data. Science has shown for months that schools are safe. But too often, powerful grown-ups set science aside and kids like me are left behind.
The clearest case I’ve seen for school in our lifetimes, because we know that education, is the closest thing to magic in America. Last year, under Republican leadership, we passed five bipartisan COVID packages. Our schools, hospitals, saved our economy, funded Operation Warp Speed, delivering vaccines in record time. All five bills got ninety, ninety votes in the Senate! Common sense found common ground ground. In February, Republicans will President Biden we wanted to keep working together to finish this fight. But Democrats wanted to go it alone. They spent almost $2 trillion on a partisan bill that the White House bragged it was the most liberal bill in American history. Only 1% with the vaccinations, no requirement to reopen schools promptly. COVID brought congress together five times. This administration pushed us apart.
Another issue that should unite us is infrastructure. Republican support everything you think of when you think of infrastructure, the roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways, high-speed broadband. We are in for all of that. Again, Democrats want a partisan wish list. They won’t even build bridges to build bridges. Less than 6% of the President’s plan goes to roads and bridges. It’s a liberal wish list, a big government waste. Plus, the biggest job killing tax hike in a generation. Experts say, when all is said and done, it would lower wages of the American worker and shrink our economy.
Tonight, we also heard about a so-called family plan. Even more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life from the cradle to college. The beauty of the American Dream is that families get to define it for themselves. We should be expanding opportunities and options for all families, not throwing money at certain issues because Democrats think they know best. Infrastructure spending that shrinks our economy is not common sense. Weakening our southern borders and creating a crisis is not compassionate.
The president is also abandoning principles he’s held for decades. Now he says, your tax dollars should fund abortions. He’s laying groundwork to pack the Supreme Court. This is not common ground.
Nowhere do we need common ground more desperately than in our discussions of race. I’ve experienced the pain of the discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason, to be followed around the store while I’m shopping. I remember every morning at the kitchen table, my grandfather would open the newspaper, and read it, I thought. Later I realized, he had never learned to read it. He just wanted to set the right example.
I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called Uncle Tom and the “N” word by Progressive roots, by Liberals. Just last week, a national newspaper suggested my family’s poverty was actually privileged. because a relative owned land generations before my time. Believe me, I know firsthand, our healing is not finished. In 2015 after the shooting of Walter Scott, a rotating bill to fund body cameras. The last year, after the death of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, I built an even bigger police reform proposal. My Democratic colleagues blocked it. I extended an olive branch, offered amendments, but Democrats used a filibuster to block the debate from even happening. My friends across the aisle seem to want the issues more than they want a solution. But I’m still working, I’m hopeful that this will be different.
When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress, but powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in the classroom were taught the color of their skin was the most important characteristic. If they looked a certain way, they were inferior. Today, humans are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again. If they look a certain way, they are an oppressor.
From colleges common to corporations come into our culture, people are making money and getting power by pretending we haven’t made any progress at all. By doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.
You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backward to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. It’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shutdown debates, debates in the present. I’m an African-American who has voted in the south my entire life. I take voting rights personally. If Republicans support making it easier to vote, and harder to cheat. So do the voters. If big majorities of Americans support early voting and big majorities support voter ID, including African-Americans and Hispanics. Common sense makes common ground. Today, this conversation has collapsed.
The state of Georgia passed a law that expands early voting, preserves no excuse meal in voting, and despite what the President claimed, did not reduce election day hours. If you actually read this law, it’s mainstream. It will be easier to vote early Georgia than in Democrat run New York. The left doesn’t want you to know that. They want people virtue signaling by yelling about a law they haven’t even read.
Fact-checkers have called out the White House on these statements. The President absurdly claims that this is worse than Jim Crow. What is going on here? I will tell you: A Washington power grab. This is supposed to justify Democrats’ new sweeping bill that would take over elections for all 50 states.
It would send public funds to political campaigns you disagree with, and to make the Federal Elections Commission, partisan. This is not about civil rights or our racial past. it’s about rigging elections in the future. The same filibuster that President Obama and President Biden praised when they were senators, the same filibuster that the Democrats used to kill police reform bill last year has now suddenly become a racist relic because the issue is now on the other foot. Race is not a political weapon to sell every issue the way one side wants. It’s far too important. There should be a joyful springtime for a nation. This administration inherited a tide that had already turned. The Corona virus on the run, thanks to Operation Warp Speed, Our country is flooded with faith and effective vaccines.
Job openings are rebounding. Why do we feel so divided? Anxious? A nation with so much cause for hope should not feel so heavy laden. A president to promise to bring us together should not be pushing agendas that tear us apart.
The American family deserves better, and we know what it looks like. Just before COVID, we had the most inclusive economy by lifetime. The lowest unemployment rate ever recorded. African-Americans, Hispanics, wages were going faster at the bottom than at the top. Bottom 25% saw their wages go up.
If that happens because Republicans on expanding opportunity for all Americans. In addition to that, we passed opportunity, criminal justice reform, and permanent funding for starkly black colleges and universities for the first time ever. We fought the drug epidemic, rebuilt our military, and cut taxes for working families of single moms like the one that raised me.
Our best future will not come from Washington schemes or Socialist dreams. It will come from you, the American people. Black, Hispanic, White, and Asian. Republican and Democrat. It braved police officers Black neighborhoods. We are not adversaries. We are families. We are all in this together, and we get to live in the greatest country on earth, the country where my grandfather and his 94 years saw his family go from cotton to Congress in one lifetime. I am more than hopeful, I am confident that our finest hour has yet to come. Original sin is never the end of the story. Not on our souls, and not for nation. The real stories always redemption.
I’m standing here because my mom has prayed me through some really tough times. I believe our nation has succeeded the same way. Generations of Americans in their own ways have asked for grace, and God has supplied it.
I will close with a word from a worship song that really helped me through the past year COVID.
And the music is new, but the words draw from scripture. May the Lord to bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May His presence go before you, and behind you, and beside you And you’re weeping, and your rejoicing. He is for you. May his favorite be a partner nation for a generations, and your family, and your children, and their children.