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Biden will address nation in State of the Union. Here's what to know

The president is said to have had a significant hand in crafting the speech, and has even spent the day-of fine-tuning it.
Biden hopes State of the Union address will show he's up to the job
Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 07, 2024

President Joe Biden is expected to make some key announcement in his State of the Union address Thursday. The White House said President Biden was personally and closely involved in crafting the speech.

The president's third State of the Union speech marks a significant moment for him to reach a large audience of Americans and tout what he

believes are his administration's accomplishments and vision for the future. 

In addition to announcements about new domestic priorities and policies, President Biden will reveal that the U.S. will build an emergency port on the Gaza coastline to help deliver aid.

The White House said President Biden spent last weekend at Camp David working on the speech and has been fine-tuning it with stories and issues that are important to Americans he's spoken with.

"He's going to talk about our democracy, our freedoms, continue to fight for that reproductive freedom. How that is an issue that the American people truly care about," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre outlined during Wednesday's press briefing. "There's a lot of issues in front, obviously, in front of the American people that they care, and they want to hear directly from the president. And so that's what he's going to focus on."

There are key themes the president is likely to focus on, including the economy. The White House touts the economic recovery under the Biden administration since the pandemic, noting the cooling of inflation, lower unemployment, job growth, bolstered manufacturing and improving supply chains. Despite what the administration sees as progress, President Biden has faced headwinds in polling on the issue.

"President Biden has made clear whose side he's on every day we see him fighting for working people and middle-class families like the ones he grew up with in Scranton. The president will continue to put the middle class first as he lays out his plan for the American economy," said National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard.

President Biden's economic agenda has focused on lowering costs for Americans by capping insulin, getting rid of junk fees and a tax vision that encourages the ultra-wealthy to pay their "fair share."

SEE MORE: State of the Union guest lists show political nature of invitations

President Biden will introduce a budget proposal next week that administration officials say will reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years, in part, by raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, expanding denial of tax breaks for corporations paying people more than $1 million and taxing the ultra-wealthy. 

President Biden will also work to lower health care costs, the White House said. That includes pushing to allow Medicare to negotiate 50 drugs, instead of just 10 per year. He is also expected to call on making Affordable Care Act tax credits permanent.

The Biden administrations hopes to make a stark contrast of the president's vision for America compared to what another Trump administration would look like. White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt claimed a second Trump administration would be the "MAGA Republican agenda: rewarding billionaires and corporations with tax breaks, taking away rights and freedoms, and undermining our democracy."

First Lady Jill Biden's guest box also often speaks to main themes of the night.

This year, she will be joined by Latorya Beasley, a mother who was using In vitro fertilization to expand her family when her embryo transfer was canceled following the Alabama Supreme Court decision; and Kate Cox, who was denied an abortion in Texas, suing the state to obtain one due to her health.

Other notable guests include sister to Uvalde shooting victim Jazmin Cazares, and UAW president Shawn Fain.

Sweden's prime minister — following NATO officially welcoming the country as its 32nd member — will also attend. The expansion of NATO is highlighted as a success for the administration in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

President Biden's speech comes as he has faced an impasse in Congress on key issues, including a bipartisan negotiated border deal in the Senate and a national security supplemental including aid for Ukraine and Israel that House republicans have not moved forward.

President Biden has given multiple speeches urging Congress to pass the supplemental, highlighting the urgent need for Ukraine to receive more U.S. aid as officials warn they're running out of ammunition on the front lines in the face of Russia's continued war. The White House invited Ukraine's first lady, but said she was unable to attend.

SEE MORE: Ukraine's first lady declines State of the Union invitation

As the U.S. works to usher through a second deal for a six-week ceasefire in Gaza, families of Americans held hostage by Hamas will be in attendance as guests of lawmakers.

Officials indicated President Biden will speak to the hostage's plight. 

The White House will work to share the State of the Union message across the country in the days that follow. President Biden is expected to travel to Philadelphia and the Atlanta area and Vice President Kamala Harris will go to Arizona and Nevada, according to a White House official. Cabinet and administration members will also fan out across the country.

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