Biden to give State of the Union address to split Congress
US President Joe Biden will try to reassure Americans in his State of the Union address amid poor poll numbers and a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.
US President Joe Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night, seeking to overcome pessimism in the country and concerns about his own leadership.
His speech before a politically divided Congress will come at a time when just a quarter of US adults say things in the country are headed in the right direction, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The setting for Biden's speech will look markedly different from a year ago, when it was Democratic stalwart Nancy Pelosi seated behind him as House speaker. She's been replaced by Republican Kevin McCarthy, as Biden's party lost control of the House of Representatives.
Biden to call on Republicans to work together
With Republicans now in control of the House, Biden will point to areas of bipartisan progress in his first two years in office, including on states' vital infrastructure and high tech manufacturing. "There is no reason we can't work together in this new Congress," the president will say in excerpts of the speech released by the White House.
Biden will call on Republicans to work with him to "finish the job'' of rebuilding the economy and uniting the nation. "The story of America is a story of progress and resilience," the president will declare.
He will highlight record job creation under his tenure as the country has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden will also say that two years after the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, the country's democracy is "unbowed and unbroken."
Police reform and new taxes
Reforms in policing will loom large in Biden's speech after the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man fatally beaten by officers in Memphis, Tennessee last month.
The president will call on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill named for a Black man killed under the knee of a white police officer in 2020.
He will also insist that Congress vote to require background checks for all gun sales, require safe storage of firearms and ban assault weapons.
In addition, he will push for Congress to quadruple the 1% tax on corporate share buybacks that was enacted in Democrats' climate and health care bill passed last year, known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
Support for Ukraine
Last year's address occurred just days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and as many in the West doubted Kyiv's ability to withstand the onslaught. Over the past year, the US and other allies have sent tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to bolster Ukraine's defenses.
The parents of Tyre Nichols will be among those seated with First Lady Jill Biden.
Other Biden guests include Ukraine's Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova, former Afghan Ambassador to the United States Roya Rahmani, the rock star/humanitarian Bono and the 26-year-old who disarmed a gunman in last month's Monterey Park, California, shooting.
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