WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, President Joe Biden will appear before Congress to present his domestic and international policy agenda to an American audience that has consistently low approval ratings . He also plans to defend his response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
According to White House prepared remarks, Biden will highlight the unity of the U.S. with NATO allies in responding to Russia's "premeditated, unprovoked" invasion. Biden stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin underestimated NATO's strength.
Biden will say that "through our history, we've learned this lesson -- when dictators don't pay a price to their aggression, they cause even more chaos." They keep moving. The costs and threats to America, and the rest of the world, keep increasing."
These remarks come following another day of bloody fighting in Ukraine, where Russia shelled major cities as the conflict escalated to its sixth day. A large Russian contingent was threatening Kyiv's capital.
Biden will also be focusing on domestic issues, including the economy and inflation. This is a concern that has been raised by voters. Biden will outline how his administration plans to lower American costs, including making more products here and less dependent on foreign supply chains.
We have the option to choose. To fight inflation, we can drive down wages and make Americans less wealthy. Biden will say that he has a better way to combat inflation. Reduce your costs and not your wages. America needs more semiconductors and cars. America needs more infrastructure and innovation. America has more goods that move faster and are cheaper. You can make a living here by finding more jobs. Instead of relying upon foreign supply chains, let's make it here.
Biden will also discuss the efforts he made to stabilize the U.S. and to control the pandemic. He will also press Congress to revive his domestic policy agenda.
According to two participants, Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, said that he will tie it together under the theme of "building America a better America".
This speech is timely for Biden at home as well as abroad. Only Donald Trump, his immediate predecessor, has a lower approval rating than Biden. Voters gave Biden low marks for everything, from his leadership style to how he handled the economy.
Biden may not have another chance to present his domestic policy agenda to a Congress controlled solely by his party. Many Democrats will be fighting for their votes in the midterms.
According to sources, Richmond said to Democrats that "You can't rule if you don’t win." He also stated that it was best to repeat Biden’s message about how their achievements are improving the lives and well-being of Americans.
In recent days, the president's team has been refining his remarks to emphasize Russia's response to Ukraine's invasion. Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, spoke to MSNBC this week and compared the moment with remarks President Barack Obama made during the financial crisis or one that President George W. Bush made after the September 11 attacks.
Oksana Markarova (the Ukraine's ambassador in the U.S.) will attend the State of the Union speech as a guest of Jill Biden. She will be seated in her viewing room, a senior administration official said to NBC News.
Officials from the administration said that while Ukraine is still the focus of attention, they hope to make the case for Biden's work on the economy and assure Americans that there are plans to address their economic worries.
Psaki stated that the American people would hear much about his plans to lower their cost and how he will continue to build an economy that is strong over time.
A senior administration official stated that while the majority of Americans disapprove Biden's economic handling, the president intends to claim that his administration helped the economy achieve its fastest job-growth in American history and the most rapid economic growth in almost 40 years.
Inflation is the number one concern cited by Americans according to polls. It has reached its highest point in decades. Psaki stated that Biden would talk about overall inflation and reducing costs in certain areas, such as child care and prescription drugs, with the legislation he is trying to pass Congress.
Biden will announce a specific action to address rising prices. This is an agreement between the Justice Department (Federal Maritime Commission) that ensures large ocean freight companies don't overcharge U.S. clients, according to the White House.
Biden will also announce other programs to help improve the nursing home staffing and make nursing homes more accountable for their poor performance.
The president will also outline a plan for addressing the country's mental illness crisis.
A senior administration official stated Tuesday that Biden will demand a significant investment in the U.S. workforce in order to increase capacity to address mental health needs. The official said that Biden will call for the expansion of community mental hospitals and investments in mental resources in schools.
Officials said that the plan calls for action to address the harm social media causes to young people's mental health. They also announced that the Department of Health and Human Services would launch a crisis hotline this summer to connect people with mental health resources.
Biden will also emphasize his nomination of Ketanji brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. This includes her deep qualifications as well as the fact that she is a jurist in line with retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. According to a source, Jackson will not be attending the speech.
Biden will continue to push Congress to pass programs from his failed Build Back Better legislation. These include programs that lower prescription drug prices and child care costs. Biden also intends to press Congress for other ideas, such as better housing options for older adults or disabled, raising the federal min wage to $15 an hr, and lower costs of higher education. This includes a increase in the maximum Pell Grant award of more than $2,000.
Biden will address the nation about the pandemic as the country enters what public officials hope will be an easier phase. This is where vaccines, booster shots, and new treatments will help to control the virus.
He will highlight the new guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week, which said that many people in the country don't need to wear masks anymore.
Masks are optional for members and guests of Congress, as well as others who attend the speech Tuesday with Brian P. Monahan (the Capitol's attending physician), pointing out the decreasing Covid-19 cases rates as well the new CDC guidelines.
Some members of Congress tested positive for Covid, including Reps. Suzan DeBene (D-Wash.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). ; and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Sen. Alex Padilla -- who won't be attending the speech Tuesday night.
After a surge in earlier this year, the number of covid cases has continued to fall across the country.