Biden will focus on war, immigration and inflation

WASHINGTON – A Divided Congress. An expected upcoming re-election announcement. It is the twin forces that will shape President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

By delivering the second State of the Union of his presidency, Biden will amplify his message that Democrats and Republicans can work together.

But faced with dim prospects for bigger legislative victories, a looming showdown over the federal budget, and a GOP house probing his administration and family, Biden will brag about his successes and explain what more he wants to do next. he has the opportunity.

“For me, that sets the stage because I think it’s just going to be one back-to-back battle this year between Joe Biden and House Republicans,” said Robert Gibbs, who served as former President Barack’s press secretary. Obama, on the “Hacks on Press” podcast.

The latest news to know

  • Full house: Biden will face a full house as COVID restrictions that limited attendance have disappeared. Unlike last year, lawmakers are allowed to bring a guest.
  • Divided government: The newly divided government will be obvious to viewers. Instead of two fellow Democrats sitting behind Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, will look over Biden’s shoulder with Vice President Kamala Harris.
  • Biden endorsement: More voters disapproved of the job Biden is doing as president than approved in the latest USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, which was taken in early December.
  • Setting the stage for this year and beyond: The speech will begin to lay out the case Biden will make both in his two-year battle with House Republicans and for his likely re-election in 2024.
  • Before and after: In the week leading up to the speech, Biden traveled to Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York to tout transportation and other projects funded by his massive infrastructure program. He is likely to continue to hit the road to highlight what has been achieved in his first two years, particularly because his legislative accomplishments in the next two years may be few and far between.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Biden devoted the first 11 minutes of last year’s hour-long speech to supporting Ukraine, a rallying cry issued just days after the invasion of Russia. War should also feature prominently this year. Biden will speak as the first anniversary nears. And while Russia hasn’t had the quick success many hoped for a year ago, the longer the fighting continues, the harder it will be for Biden to maintain his support for Ukraine at home and abroad. .

Many members of the GOP House are calling for greater scrutiny — even reduction — of US involvement. This reflects the erosion of support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationwide. The share of Republicans who say the United States is giving Ukraine too much aid has been rising steadily since March, according to the Pew Research Center. Moreover, unlike at the start of the war, there is now a wide partisan divide over whether or not Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a major threat to US interests.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine:As Biden seeks to avoid wider war, delivery of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine escalates conflict

Federal spending and the debt ceiling

Expect to hear a lot about the federal budget. The dispute between Biden and congressional Republicans over the federal deficit and whether budget cuts should be agreed before the debt ceiling is raised will dominate the debate in Washington over the coming months.

Biden should amplify his argument that Republicans are holding the economy hostage by not automatically agreeing to pay the bills the United States already owes. House Republicans don’t want to raise the debt ceiling without cutting future spending. Biden, who will present his budget plan on March 9, challenged Republicans to specify what they want to cut. He also compared his record on deficit reduction with that of Republicans.

The United States reaches the debt ceiling: Amid default fears, Treasury begins ‘extraordinary’ measures

Call for bipartisanship in Washington

Facing a GOP-controlled House that can block his legislative agenda and launch investigations into his family and administration, Biden is nonetheless likely to make the case for a good deal. Still eager to restore its bipartisan good faithBiden should highlight issues he’s worked on with Republicans over the past two years, including a 2021large infrastructure package.

After the midterm elections, Biden said he was “willing to compromise with Republicans where it makes sense.” But he flatly ruled out making fundamental changes to Social Security and Medicare, or compromising on other areas, including abortion rights, the cost of prescription drugs and the climate change.

A new Congress with new priorities:What to know about President McCarthy and the fate of Biden’s agenda

Immigration Reform

Biden called for immigration reform during last year’s State of the Union, telling lawmakers, “Let’s do this once and for all.” That didn’t happen, so expect him to mention immigration again during this year’s speech.

Last month, Biden traveled to the US-Mexico border, where he heard calls for help to deal with the migrant crisis. The number of migrants crossing the border – some legally seeking asylum, others entering illegally – rose dramatically in his first two years in office. Republicans blame the surge on Biden’s border policies. Last week, the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee opened the first in a series of hearings it calls “Biden’s border crisis.”

Biden could use his speech to remind Americans of the steps his administration has taken to secure the border and to once again urge Congress to pass immigration reform.

A legal quagmire:As Biden seeks answers to the migrant crisis, his policies increasingly stall in court

inflation and the economy

Biden celebrated when the government announced last month that inflation had fallen significantly for the third month in a row. “My economic plan is actually working,” he said. You can bet he will stress this point again during his speech on Tuesday.

It’s not hard to see why. Fifty-four percent of Americans cited inflation and the economy as their No. 1 and No. 2 concerns in a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in December. Americans have been grappling for nearly two years with a historic spike in inflation that has driven up the price of food, housing and energy. While inflation appears to be slowing, fears that the country could slide into recession this year persist. Despite those concerns, the Labor Department reported Friday that employers created a booming 517,000 jobs in January, suggesting to some economists that inflation could continue to fall even as employers continue to add jobs.

Dealing with inflation:Even with a mild winter, more Americans are struggling to pay their energy bills

Crime and police brutality

Biden devoted a significant portion of last year’s State of the Union to crime, gun control and policing, saying Americans shouldn’t have to choose “between safety and security.” equality of justice”. In the year since, a wave of mass shootings and high-profile cases involving allegations of police brutality have kept these issues in the public mind.

Biden can cite the bipartisan gun control legislation he signed into law last summer as an example of steps taken over the past year to keep guns away from dangerous people. The law, approved following a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, was the largest gun reform program passed in 30 years.

Lawyers are now pushing Congress to review federal police accountability legislation after the brutal death of Tire Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. Five Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes related to Nichols’ death. Lawyers are also urging Biden to address police brutality again in Tuesday’s speech. RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, Nichols’ mother and stepfather, are expected to attend the address.

Maureen Groppe and Michael Collins cover the White House. Follow Groppe on Twitter @mgroppe and Collins @mcollinsNEWS.

Editorial:Bad cops deserve to be exposed. The police must stop dodging requests for information.

USA Today

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