President Biden gives his first joint address to Congress
Retuers/Pool

President Biden during his first address to a joint session of Congress went off-script to thank Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for naming a 2016 medical research bill in honor of the president’s late son, Beau Biden. 

Biden on Wednesday went off-script to commend McConnell, who while Biden was vice president called for the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act aimed at accelerating cancer research to be renamed after Beau Biden, who had died from brain cancer less than a year prior. 

Biden while addressing lawmakers broke from prepared remarks the White House had sent earlier in the day, saying, “I’ll still never forget when we passed the cancer proposal in the last year I was vice president, almost $9 million going to NIH,” referring to the National Institutes of Health. 

Biden, who was presiding over the Senate session when McConnell proposed the name change, added, “You’ll excuse the point of personal privilege — I’ll never forget you standing, Mitch, and saying, naming it after my deceased son.” 

“It meant a lot,” he added. 

The president while verbalizing his thanks to McConnell called for the creation of an agency within the NIH to focus on research to “develop breakthroughs — to prevent, detect and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.” 

“I can think of no more worthy investment,” Biden continued. “I know of nothing that is more bipartisan.” 

“So let’s end cancer as we know it. It’s within our power. It’s within our power to do it,” he added, prompting a standing ovation from both Democrats and Republicans. 

In 2016, McConnell during remarks from the Senate floor called for the tribute in honor of Biden’s late son, noting, “I think it’s fitting to dedicate this bill’s critical cancer initiatives in honor of someone who would be proud of the presiding officer today — and that’s his son, Beau.”

Tags 21st Century Cures Act Beau Biden Biden Cancer research Congress Joe Biden Joint Address to Congress Joint session Mitch McConnell National Institutes of Health

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