"Let's finish the job."

That was President Joe Biden's message to both Democrats and Republicans alike in his second State of the Union address, a speech largely unlike either of his previous two addresses to a Joint Session of Congress.

Tuesday night's speech was Biden's first to a divided government — a difference highlighted both by the presence of newly minted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., sitting over his left shoulder, and the at times rancorous objections of Republican lawmakers sitting in the audience to some of the president's comments.

Biden urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to "finish the job" on rebuilding an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering health care costs for Americans, addressing climate change and healing the divisions in the country.

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never giving up. A story that is unique among all nations,” Biden said. “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it."

"That is what we are doing again," the president said, adding: "We’re not finished yet by any stretch of the imagination."

Here are takeaways from President Biden's second State of the Union address:

President Biden calls on Democrats and Republicans to come together, touts recent bipartisan laws

AP Photo

Biden on Tuesday began by telling the Congress that the nation is “writing the next chapter in the great American story – a story of progress and resilience.”

He pointed to a laundry list of critical bipartisan legislation passed in his first two years.

“Time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together,” he said, listing examples such as numerous bipartisan bills to fund Ukraine’s defense against Russia, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law, a bill to expand veterans’ health care and more.

“To my Republican friends: If we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress,” he said.

He noted the 2022 midterm elections, when voters overwhelmingly rejected more extreme candidates and elected a Congress with slim majorities in both chambers.

“The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere,” he said.

Biden then made a direct reference to the motto of his 2020 campaign, just weeks before he’s expected to announce a 2024 bid.

“That’s always been my vision for our country. To restore the soul of the nation. To rebuild the backbone of America, the middle class. To unite the country,” he said.

“We’ve been sent here to finish the job in my view,” he urged.

Biden touts infrastructure investments in past year: ‘We’re just getting started’

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., applaud. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Biden focused a decent amount of Tuesday’s speech highlighting the progress made so far in revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure, saying the work is “just getting started.”

“We’re seeing these fields of dreams transform the heartland,” Biden said. “But to maintain the strongest economy in the world, we also need the best infrastructure in the world.” 

Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, signed by Biden during his first year in office, the United States has seen new projects pop in across the country – much with a focus on green and renewable energy.

Biden and many members of his administration have, in recent months, criss-crossed the country to highlight the projects funded by the infrastructure law. 

Last week, the president showcased the Hudson Tunnel Project in New York, which is set to receive $292 million to finish construction. Biden on Tuesday said the administration has already funded 20,000 infrastructure projects, ranging from railway improvements to airport renovations in overlooked communities. 

“These projects will put hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, bridges, railroads, tunnels, ports and airports, clean water, and high-speed internet across America,” he said. “Urban. Suburban. Rural. Tribal.”

Biden on Tuesday thanked Republicans and Democrats who voted for the infrastructure law, saying it is a prime example of what can happen when lawmakers reach across the aisle to pass legislation that favors the American people. 

“And we’re just getting started. I sincerely thank my Republican friends who voted for the law. And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry,” he quipped. “I promised to be the president for all Americans. We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.” 

President Biden also shouted out many of the union workers employed by the new infrastructure projects, including one who was in attendance Tuesday: a Cincinnati ironworker named Sara. 

“Sara said she can’t wait to be ten stories above the Ohio River building that new bridge. That’s pride,” Biden said. That’s what we’re also building – Pride.” 

Biden also announced “new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America."

“On my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products," he pledged.

Biden addresses inflation, hails job creation

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Early in his speech, Biden addressed one of the issues his critics have attacked him most about over the past year — inflation.

The president said rising prices has been a global problem and blamed them on supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But, he argued, the United States is “better positioned than any country on Earth” to deal with the issue.

Biden acknowledged his administration has more work to do to rein in higher prices, but noted inflation is cooling, including for gas and food. 

Biden said part of his economic strategy is strengthening domestic supply chains to prevent future disruptions.

“I've been criticized for saying this, but I'm not changing my view: We're going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America,” he said.

Biden boasted about the job growth during his administration. The unemployment rate stands at 3.4%, the lowest level since 1969.

He said 800,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created since he took office, a number that is expected to increase further because after the passage of a law last year to boost microchip manufacturing.

“I ran for president to fundamentally change things to make sure our economy works for everyone,” Biden said, adding his focus was on strengthening the middle class.

“For too many decades, we import a project and exported jobs,” he said. “Now, thanks to what you've all done, we're exporting American products and creating American jobs.”

Biden faces GOP boos over Medicare, Social Security in call to raise the debt ceiling

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., reacts as President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Biden, typically not known for his oratory, appeared relaxed and confident as he delivered his address. He casually adlibbed remarks, fed off the responses from Democratic lawmakers who frequently stood up with thunderous ovations and playfully engaged with his Republican critics.

One notable example came when the president turned his attention to the looming battle over the debt ceiling.

President Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., last week as the two sides remain far apart over increasing the country’s borrowing power. The U.S. reached the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling last month, prompting the Treasury Department to start taking “extraordinary measures” to allow the country to continue paying its debts, which are expected to run out in June.

Biden touted his administration’s efforts to slash the deficit, while slamming his predecessor’s for racking up the country’s debt. His comments were met with boos from Republicans throughout.

“My administration has cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history,” Biden said. “Under the previous administration, the American deficit went up four years in a row. Because of those record deficits, no president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.”

“Nearly 25% of the entire national debt, a debt that took 200 years to accumulate, was added by that administration alone,” he continued, met by boos by the Republican side of the room. “How did Congress respond to all that debt? They lifted the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or crisis. They paid America’s bills to prevent economic disaster for our country. Tonight, I’m asking this Congress to follow suit.”

“Let us commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned,” Biden urged.

Biden slammed the proposals of some Republicans who want to sunset Medicare and Social Security on a five-year basis, or want to cut the programs entirely.

“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years. That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away,” the president said. “Other Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history.

Republicans booed, with at least one shouting "Liar!" at the president.

As the tumult died down, Biden flipped that resistance back on Republicans: "As we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are apparently off the books now! We've got unanimity!"

“I won’t let that happen,” he pledged. “Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors. Americans have been paying into them with every single paycheck since they started working. So tonight, let’s all agree ... to stand up for seniors. Stand up and show them we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare.”

"It sounds like its not gonna be a problem," he quipped.

“Those benefits belong to the American people,” Biden continued. “They earned them. If anyone tries to cut Social Security, I will stop them. And if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them. I will not allow them to be taken away. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.”

Biden said he will offer his fiscal plan next month, and urged Republicans to do the same, adding: “We can sit down together and discuss both plans together. I really mean it."

“My plan will lower the deficit by $2 trillion,” the president pledged. “I won’t cut a single bit of Social Security or Medicare. In fact, I will extend the Medicare Trust Fund by at least two decades."

"I will not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000," Biden said, noting he will pay for his proposals "by making the wealthy and big corporations begin to pay their fair share.”

Biden calls for Congress to address his 'Unity Agenda': Ending cancer, addressing the opioid epidemic, aiding veterans

President Joe Biden shakes hands with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after handing him a copy of his speech as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at left. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden on Tuesday brought up a number of issues that impact nearly every American, regardless of political affiliation — eradicating cancer, combatting the opioid epidemic, supporting the country's veterans and tackling the mental health crisis.

In discussing fentanyl, Biden referenced one of the guests at the address — a father named Doug from New Hampshire, who wrote the president and First Lady Jill Biden a letter about his daughter Courtney, who died of a fentanyl overdose.

"He shared a story all too familiar to millions of Americans," Biden said. "Courtney discovered pills in high school. It spiraled into addiction and eventually her death from a fentanyl overdose. She was 20 years old."

"Describing the last eight years without her, Doug said, 'There is no worse pain,'" Biden continued. "Yet their family has turned pain into purpose, working to end stigma and change laws."

"He told us he wants to 'start the journey towards America’s recovery.' Doug, we’re with you," Biden said. "Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year."

Biden was then interrupted by Republican hecklers, one of whom shouted at the president "it's your fault." The president smiled at the hecklers while House Speaker Kevin McCarthy shushed them. 

"So let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border," Biden continued after order was restored.

The president also called on Congress to reauthorize the National Cancer Act, the 1971 bill signed into law by then-President Richard Nixon which established the National Cancer Institute. The White House says reupping the law "will update the nation’s cancer research and care systems to put modern American innovation fully to work to end cancer as we know it."

The president also called for lawmakers to "do more" on mental health, especially for children: "When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school."

"We must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit," he continued. "And it’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us."

Biden also urged lawmakers to honor the country's "one truly sacred obligation" of aiding veterans — including job training and placement for veterans and their families, helping veterans afford rent and preventing veteran suicides — and to aid his administration's ambitious goal of slashing the cancer death rate in half over the next quarter-century.

Biden remembers Tyre Nichols, calls for further law enforcement reform

RowVaughn Wells, fourth from left, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, and her husband Rodney Wells, third from left, are recognized by President Joe Biden as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Biden’s speech came a little less than a month after Tyre Nichols was killed following a beating by Memphis police officers.

Nichols’s parents were the president’s guests Tuesday night and were recognized as he led into a call to reform policing.

“We all want the same thing — neighborhoods free of violence, law enforcement who earn the communty’s trust,” Biden said. “Equal protection under the law; that’s the covenant we have with each other in America.”

But the violence against Nichols, he said, comes too often.

Biden shared that, when he spoke with Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, he asked how she “finds the courage to carry on and speak out.”

“With faith in God,” she said, according to Biden. “Her son ‘was a beautiful soul, and something good will come from this.’”

Biden called on Congress to enhance law enforcement training; to help first responders better address mental health and substance abuse emergencies in the field; create more resources for community intervention programs and invest in public benefits — housing, education, and job training.

He also spoke about his executive order, the George Floyd Act, named for the man killed by Minneapolis police in 2020.

As he spoke, Wells — seated next to her husband, Nichols’ step father, Rodney Wells — appeared to wipe away tears.

“All of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment,” Biden said. “We can’t turn away. Let’s come together and finish the job on police reform.”

Washington, he said, must commit to making Wells’ words come true: that something good must come from her son’s death.

Biden calls for Roe v. Wade to be restored, vows to ban a nationwide abortion ban

President Joe Biden greets Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as he arrives to delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2023, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

One of the many lines that garnered a standing ovation from a siable portion of the crowd was when President Biden called for Congress to restore the right to an abortion taken away by the Supreme Court last summer.

"Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms. Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose," Biden said, with the high court's justices sitting in the House gallery. 

"The Vice President and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy," Biden said. "But already, more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans."

"Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it," he vowed.

Biden also called for Congress to pass a bill to enshrine protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.

"Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity," he said. "Our strength is not just the example of our power, but the power of our example. Let’s remember the world is watching."

‘We are not bystanders to history’: Biden finishes address by urging Americans to embrace, hope, democracy, U.S. ideals

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., look on. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Biden wrapped up his address Tuesday while he called on Americans to reject political violence and extreme partisanship, and instead choose unity and democratic ideals.

“Democracy must not be a partisan issue. It must be an American issue,” he said. 

“Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called on to protect our democracy, to defend it, to stand up for it,” he added. “And this is our moment.”

As he has done at least a dozen times as president, he told Americans that the nation is at an “inflection point,” making decisions that will define the country for years to come.

“We are not bystanders to history,” he said.

“We have to be the nation we have always been at our best. Optimistic. Hopeful. Forward-looking. A nation that embraces light over darkness, hope over fear, unity over division. Stability over chaos.”

And he urged Americans to see each other in a better light. 

“We’re the only nation based on the idea that all of us, every one of us is created equal in the image of God. A nation that stands as a beacon to the world. A nation in a new age of possibilities,” he said.

Biden ended by summarizing how he sees the country: “Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong.”

“‘I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of America,” he said. “We are the United States of America and there’s nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.