Biden to begin laying out second-term vision

President Joe Biden will begin laying out a second-term agenda in his State of the Union address to Congress on Thursday evening, shifting campaign focus ahead of his expected rematch with former President Donald Trump in November.

Biden will talk about freedom — including strengthening abortion rights after last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“It is clear that those who brag about overturning Roe v. Wade have no idea about the power of women in America. But they found out when reproductive freedom was on the ballot and won in 2022, 2023, and they’ll find out again in 2024,” Biden says. will say, according to prepared remarks released by the White House. “If Americans send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you: I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.”

Among the announcements expected to happen, Biden will announce plans to add a port in Gaza that will be used by the US and partners to get aid into Gaza. He will also speak about the government’s efforts to free the hostages still held by Hamas. And Biden plans to announce a new border crossing to open in northern Gaza.

Once built, the pier “will provide the capacity for hundreds of additional truckloads of aid every day,” a senior government official said.

The US plans to coordinate with Israel, the United Nations and several non-governmental organizations on getting humanitarian aid into Gaza through the port, but the administration official made clear that the operation would not involve US boots on the ground in Gaza will be.

White House aides have additionally said that Biden will emphasize the post-Covid economic recovery and outline the administration’s plans to overhaul the tax code, expand housing supply and reduce the federal budget deficit.

“Since the president took office, the economy has added nearly 15 million jobs. The unemployment rate has been below 4% for two full years, while inflation has fallen by two-thirds. Wages have risen more than prices and are higher than before the pandemic, and we are seeing a boom in small businesses,” White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden told reporters on a press call. “Reducing costs for working families is his top economic priority.”

Follow live updates on the State of the Union address

But while the speech will be delivered in Biden’s official capacity as president, the political subtext is undeniable. This comes just two days after the Super Tuesday primaries, when Biden and Trump both effectively clinched their party’s nominations and saw their main challengers drop out.

Biden will frame his speech around the rhetorical question of asking whose side the politicians are on, hoping to portray himself as a fighter for working Americans and democratic values, while his opponents want tax breaks for the wealthy at home and leave Ukraine to the Russian autocrat Vladimir. Putin abroad.

He will use the speech to remind voters of his legislative achievements, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, which polls show many Americans are unfamiliar with or confused about.

And it will be a chance for him to make a positive case for what he would do with another four years in the White House, as Democratic rhetoric around the election has so far focused on stopping Trump.

And Biden will try to calm concerns within his own party about his political and physical health as polls show Trump with an edge in key battleground states.

In today’s fragmented media environment and polarized Washington, State of the Union addresses have less agenda-setting power than in the past.

But with millions expected to watch, they are nonetheless a rare opportunity for Biden to speak to some Americans who don’t follow politics closely but tune in for big moments.

One thing he won’t do is issue new orders on immigration.

Biden is unlikely to unveil new executive actions on immigration or the southern border, according to two administration officials and a congressional official who saw a draft of the speech.

The Biden administration has been considering unilateral action for weeks that would make it harder for migrants to pass initial screening for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, as NBC News previously reported.

During Thursday’s speech, Biden is expected to criticize the Republican Party for failing to advance a bipartisan border deal this year, an administration official and a congressional official said. The tone will likely be similar to Biden’s visit to the southern border last week, in which he criticized Republicans in Congress for the lack of action and told them they needed to “show a little backbone.”

Biden’s aides have consistently emphasized that any executive action would pale in comparison to legislation that would provide the necessary funding to implement some of their priorities, including adding border personnel and concrete policy reforms.

Leave a Comment