U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver his annual State of the Union (SOTU) address on March 1, the White House said Friday, as Democrats continue to battle COVID-19 with their legislative agenda stalled in the U.S. Congress.
March, the slower time to deliver the annual address, which the president usually makes in late January or early February. That’s likely because the pandemic with the omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the United States as in any other country, the presidential address usually before a packed audience of Congress and many other VIP guests.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote Friday, formally inviting the US president to “speak at the Joint Session of Congress” on March 1 and share her vision for the country.
Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that president Biden had accepted the invitation.
The delayed SOTU gave Biden additional time to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic — which created new problems for the economy and added pressure to an already overburdened healthcare system — also bringing new momentum to the administration’s important domestic policy package.
Biden’s plan, known as Build Back Better – which includes more than a trillion dollars in funding for health care for children, the elderly, education, and climate change mitigation – has stagnated in the Senate. That’s because of opposition from one of Biden’s own party members, the current Democrat.
President Biden also hopes to pass a landmark voter rights bill as Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to limit choices in the voting process in some states.
If truly able to find a way to push for reforms, Biden’s State of the Union address will provide him with the main platform to herald victory to the American public.
The speech will come at a time of low approval ratings for the 79-year-old Biden leadership, and ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, in which the US president’s party almost always loses seats in Congress. [mg/pp]