President Joe Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address this week, as tensions between Democrats and Republicans remain high. The speech, which will be broadcast live on the major television networks and online, presents an opportunity for Biden to tout his achievements and contrast himself with his opponents before tens of millions of viewers.
The address comes at a time when Biden has yet to officially announce his reelection run, and as the GOP majority in the House seeks to stymie his agenda and investigate his family and administration. Despite the political gridlock, the president has economic numbers to gloat about, including the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, inflation that is easing, and an economy that ended 2022 with solid growth.
The State of the Union speech is an annual event where the President of the United States outlines their proposals for the upcoming year. The tradition began in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson had the opportunity to address Congress personally to promote his agenda. Since then, the speech has become one of the biggest draws on television. Last year, Biden's address drew more than 38 million viewers, but each of his four predecessors had drawn at least 45 million or more for their first comparable address.
Biden's speech is expected to focus on his legislative achievements and urge Republicans to continue to work with him to advance the business of the American people. It is unlikely that he will see significant legislative success in the second half of his term, but the White House hopes that the gesture will leave Americans with the impression of a reasonable president blocked at every turn by an unreasonable opposition party.
To ensure safety and security, fencing is up around the Capitol, and road closures and tour bus reroutes are expected. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the Republican response after Biden’s speech, and Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz.The address will also be provided in Spanish.
Biden is likely to use the speech to emphasize the importance of the US economy and the need for additional aid to defend Ukraine. It is unclear if he will explicitly address the brinkmanship, with the new House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, seated behind him, but the stakes remain high for the president and the country’s economy.
Though polls show Americans aren’t giving Biden credit for the good economic numbers, the president has ample accomplishments to crow about.
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