Joe Biden promised to work with political rivals in his latest State of the Union address.
The US president was addressing Congress for the first time since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives last month.
While acknowledging that American democracy is bruised, Mr Biden stressed that it is “unyielding and unbroken”.
The Democrat said ‘there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress’ – and Americans yearn for unity.
He added: “The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for fight, power for power, conflict for conflict, gets us nowhere… We were sent here to finish the job!
What is the State of the Union?
This annual address gives the President the opportunity to outline his legislative priorities for the coming year.
Mr Biden called for bipartisan efforts for cancer research, support for veterans and tackling “the epidemic of opioids and overdoses”.
But some of his other proposals — like a minimum tax for billionaires — are unlikely to pass the current Congress.
And the President’s wish for a national cap on the cost of insulin, meaning diabetes patients would pay no more than $35 (£29) a month, may not win Congress’s approval either. .
Among those uninsured, the cost of insulin can reach $900 (£746) a month, forcing many people to ration or skip doses and put their health at risk.
Elsewhere in the speech, Mr Biden focused on police reform following the death of Tire Nichols, a black man who died after being beaten by officers in Memphis.
The White House and new Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are at odds over the $31.4bn (£26bn) US debt ceiling, which is due to be raised in the coming months to avoid payment default.
In a video ahead of the State of the Union, Mr McCarthy said he respected Democrats but had the right to disagree on policy.
He added: “I want to make sure this country is stronger, economically sound, energy independent, safe and responsible.”
Mr McCarthy also cautioned Mr Biden against using the term “extreme MAGA Republicans” in his speech – a nod to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Biden remains unpopular
A recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll put Biden’s approval rating at 41%, near the lowest level of his presidency.
Right now, 65% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, up from 58% a year ago.
Like the UK, the US has also suffered from searing levels of inflation in recent months – but the Federal Reserve expects “significant declines” throughout 2023.
Mr Biden’s speech was designed to set an optimistic tone ahead of a second presidential campaign in 2024, which is expected to kick off within weeks.
He turned 80 in November and would be 82 if re-elected for a second term – and recent polls suggest that is a cause for concern for many Democratic voters.