How to watch State of the Union Live: President Joe Biden to address SOTU in joint session of Congress
WASHINGTON– Look for new faces and political dynamics as President Joe Biden delivers this year’s State of the Union address, coupled with a focus on some old issues brought to the fore by recent events .
The president on Tuesday night will appear before a joint session of Congress for the first time since voters in the midterm elections handed control of the House to Republicans. Biden, like past presidents, will argue that the nation is strong and better days lie ahead. But he finds himself in choppy waters as he passes halfway through his term.
After a string of legislative victories in Biden’s first two years in office, Republicans are looking to undo some of his earlier victories. Recent mass shootings and a police killing in Memphis, Tennessee have renewed attention to issues of gun violence and excessive police force. And on the foreign policy front, Biden faces the formidable task of keeping a Western alliance — and the American electorate — united behind Ukraine in its effort to repel Russia’s ongoing invasion. He is also dealing with the fallout from the US dropping a suspected Chinese spy balloon that floated across the United States last week. On top of all that, a special advocate is investigating how classified information from Biden’s time as vice president and senator ended up in his home and former office in Delaware.
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A few things to watch for Tuesday night:
BIDEN vs MCCARTHY
It will be incoming GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wielding the gavel and seated behind Biden on the dais this time rather than Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Look at the body language between the two — and how Republican lawmakers are treating Biden overall after some loud GOP outbursts from the public last year.
The president and new president recently had a productive first meeting, but are at an impasse over the nation’s borrowing limit. Republicans have refused to raise the statutory debt ceiling unless Biden agrees to federal spending cuts. Biden said raising the cap was non-negotiable and Congress had to pay the nation’s bills or the country would face economic calamity.
The Democratic president said last week that McCarthy had made “absolutely offbeat” commitments to win the presidency. Biden’s rhetorical jabs may not be as sharp in official speech, but expect him to make a more subtle argument that there’s a massive chasm between how he and Republicans approach the economy. , health care and social security.
ARMED VIOLENCE AND POLICE
The parents of Tire Nichols, who was badly beaten by police in Memphis and later died, are expected to be in the audience for Biden’s speech. So did Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the gunman who shot and killed 11 people last month in Monterey Park, California, and others who responded to recent mass shootings.
Watch how Biden, in their presence, talks about the recent spate of mass shootings and the brutal death of Nichols, after his past efforts to address gun violence and police excesses were severely limited by resistance to the Congress.
There will be plenty of new faces in the crowd as Biden addresses the nation. The nation has a new Supreme Court justice since last year’s speech to Ketanji Brown Jackson, and in recent years justices have tended to attend speeches by the president who nominated them. There are also new legislators from both parties. Among those receiving outsized attention: Representative George Santos, the New York Republican who has been in the limelight for embellishments and lies about his education, work experience and other aspects of his personal life and professional.
THE CHINESE BALLOON
Look for Biden to talk about his decision to have the military shoot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on Saturday, but how tough will he be on China?
His comments on the ball will be part of a larger section on countering China’s more assertive economic and military actions around the world.
AND THE NEXT IN UKRAINE?
Biden has repeatedly said the United States is committed to helping Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to push back against Russia. The United States has already committed nearly $30 billion in security assistance since the start of the war.
Polls show Americans remain broadly in favor of backing Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russia. Administration officials, however, have made it clear to Ukraine that Congress’s patience with the cost of war is not endless.
Look for Biden to point out that Ukraine was able to stay in the fight with a more formidable Russian military thanks to the generosity of the United States and its allies. He will also attempt to explain why Americans must remain engaged in a war that has ramifications far beyond Europe.
CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT PROBE
Will Biden talk about it? Not likely.
After criticizing his predecessor, Republican President Donald Trump, for keeping classified documents after his presidency, Biden now finds himself in the middle of a special counsel’s investigation into classified documents that were found in his home and office. old office.
The White House argues it’s important to distinguish between Biden’s voluntary handover of documents and the behavior of Trump, who refused to hand over hundreds of documents, prompting the FBI to raid his home .
Biden is likely to avoid controversy in his speech, as past presidents have tended to avoid mentioning anything that gets them into trouble.
THE 2024 QUESTION
Biden is expected to announce he is running for office this spring, but voters are increasingly convinced he should stick to one term. Will Biden tackle the re-election issue head-on? Probably not. But his speech could well be framed as an argument for four more years of a Biden White House. And millions of viewers will evaluate not just Biden’s words, but also his delivery as they assess whether it’s a good idea.
New Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican response to Biden’s speech.
Sanders staked his early tenure on burning cultural issues in schools by issuing executive orders targeting the teaching of critical race theory in Arkansas schools and voicing support for legislation banning the teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.
Don’t expect her to hold back on the national stage arguing that Democrats are out of touch with mainstream American values.
THE RETURN OF THE FENCE
It’s back: the tall, imposing security fence of the Capitol complex.
Following the January 6, 2021, uprising at the United States Capitol by Trump supporters who refused to accept Biden’s election victory, a massive fence was erected around the grounds as a temporary security measure.
He stayed there for six months before finally being retired. It came up briefly before last year’s State of the Union address, when Democrats were still in charge of Congress. And now it’s back for this year’s address.
Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
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