Biden bragged about giving more Americans easier access to hearing aids without a prescription and asked Republicans to help him cap the price of insulin for everyone, not just people on Medicare.

It sets up an interesting debate for the next two years as Biden tries to prove the government can help everyone – at the same time Republicans, like Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in her official response to the speech, try to convince voters that “Democrats want to rule us with more government control.”

Mobilizing the government to protect consumers

Biden’s screed against hidden “junk fees” was particularly striking since it’s more an annoyance than a major policy issue. It’s also the kind of thing that could get bipartisan support in the next two years.

His White House has already tasked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with cracking down on these fees, which it says can be exploitative and predatory.

Perhaps drafting off the furor over “dynamic pricing” that led to a congressional hearing over stratospheric Taylor Swift concert tickets, Biden has endorsed the Junk Free Prevention Act, a bill that would go further and target four types of fees, according to a report from CNN’s Donald Judd:

  • Excessive online concert, sporting event and entertainment ticket fees.
  • Airline fees for families sitting together on flights.
  • Exorbitant early termination fees for TV, phone and internet services.
  • Surprise resort and destination fees.

Even on culturally sensitive issues, Biden looked for common ground, trying to draw a throughline from people who are concerned about violence in their communities and those who are afraid of police brutality.

He outlined what could be a workable, if incomplete, immigration compromise when he suggested combining a GOP priority, border security funding, with a Democratic priority: legal status for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.

This was Biden’s argument, and Republicans are now proceeding to poke holes in it. But as a pitch for a second term, it represented a new direction.