Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address: What to expect

Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address: What to expect

February 7, 2023

Washington: US President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. The speech that may mark the unofficial start of the 2024 presidential campaign season.

Here is what to expect.

In 2022, US President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Credit:AP

When is the State of the Union?

Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at about 9pm Eastern time (1pm AEDT on Wednesday). It will be broadcast live. You’ll be able to watch it on The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald online.

Why is it important?

The speech will give Biden a chance to shape public perceptions over the debt limit, social spending, the Russian war in Ukraine and other topics as he plans to announce his re-election campaign in the coming weeks.

It also gives him an opportunity to shore up support among Democrats, some of whom are concerned about his age and other issues. Biden turned 80 in November and, if re-elected, would be 82 at the start of a second term.

What is Biden expected to say?

He is expected to use the speech as an unofficial start to the 2024 presidential campaign season, laying out a set of policy priorities that may or may not find support in Congress.

Gun violence and policing

The parents of Tyre Nichols, who was severely beaten by police officers in Memphis and later died, are expected to be in the audience for the address.

So is Brandon Tsay, who disarmed a gunman who shot and killed 11 people in Monterey Park, California, last month, along with others who jumped in during recent mass shootings.

Watch how Biden, in their presence, speaks to the recent rash of mass shootings and the beating death of Nichols, after his past efforts to address gun violence and police excesses have been sharply restricted by resistance in Congress.

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?

What next in Ukraine?

Biden has repeatedly said the US is committed to helping Ukraine “as long as it takes” to beat back Russia. The United States has already committed nearly $US30 billion ($43 billion) in security assistance since the start of the war.

Polls show Americans remain broadly in favour of providing support to Ukraine. Administration officials, however, have made clear to Ukraine that Congress’ patience with the cost of war is not endless.

Who attends the speech?

The speech is delivered during a joint session of Congress. All members of both the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House are invited. Members of Biden’s cabinet, the armed forces and the Supreme Court also attend. Partisan outbursts can occur.

Biden was formally invited to give the address earlier in January by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy will preside over the event and be accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also the president of the Senate.

Who will give the Republican response?

Republicans have picked Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as White House press secretary under Donald Trump, to deliver their response. That speech is generally delivered shortly after the president’s.

Don’t expect her to hold back on the national stage in making the case that Democrats are out of touch with mainstream American values.

Reuters, AP

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