WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden will use Tuesday's State of the Union address to highlight the United States' united response to Russia . He also plans to promote the economic condition and present an optimistic outlook on the future of the country, administration officials announced ahead of the speech.
In recent days, the president's team has been refining his remarks to emphasize Russia's response to Ukraine's invasion. This speech is expected to be held amid scenes of a growing attack on Kyiv. Officials from the administration said that Biden's domestic policies agenda would also be the main focus of his remarks. These will include a plea for Congress to approve parts of his Build Back Better legislation.
In an interview with MSNBC, Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated that every State of the Union address gives the president the opportunity to address the American people directly about what's happening at the moment and the progress being made as well as the challenges facing them. "Certainly, we see on the ground in Ukraine that the president has created a coalition of nations around the globe to fight Russia and Putin, and placed crippling sanctions. That is what people will hear."
Psaki said that the moment was similar to remarks made by President Barack Obama in the financial crisis, or those made by George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. This is a very different context from the one White House officials anticipated weeks ago, for a speech that usually provides presidents one of their largest television audiences every year.
Officials from the administration said that while the focus of the world is still on Ukraine, they intend to make use of the moment to address domestic issues, especially the economy. Although the majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s economic handling and the direction that the country is headed in polls, the president intends to speak about the achievements of the economy in his first year of office.
Jane Hall, an associate professor in media and politics at American University, stated that "He must speak to Ukraine. I believe in many ways it's a very momentous moment. But he has to address domestic concerns -- How is this going to impact you and what am I doing for your here at home?"
Biden will focus on the economy and argue that "entrepreneurship has rebounded, America achieved its fastest job growth, the fastest economic growth for nearly 40 years, and a faster recovery rate than any other advanced economy within the G-7." A senior administration official said.
Biden will also be praising manufacturing gains made in his first year of office, which included $200 billion in investments in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.
"The president is proud about the progress made by the administration to date. "We all look forward to building upon this progress by easing the price pressures, and extending the historic labor markets recovery in the coming months," said a senior administration official.
A second official confirmed that Biden will also address persistent inflation, which Americans have named as one of their top worries. He will outline a plan for making more goods in America, encouraging fair competition and helping small businesses, and eliminating barriers that prevent them from getting better-paying jobs.
Biden will announce a specific agreement between the Justice Department (Federal Maritime Commission) that would ensure that large ocean freight companies don't overcharge U.S. clients, according to the White House.
Biden will also promote his $500 billion infrastructure bill, which he passed last year. He will announce plans for governments that they will work on 65,000 mile roads and 1,500 bridges, along with 600 airport infrastructure projects. A second administration official said that Biden would also spend on 15,000 new buses and subway cars in the next year.
Biden will announce several programs including an effort to increase nursing home staffing, hold poorly performing nursing homes responsible for unsafe and improper care, and make publicly available information about the conditions of nursing homes.
Biden will continue to push Congress to pass programs from his failed Build Back Better legislation. These include programs to lower prescription drug prices and child care costs. Biden also intends to push Congress to implement other ideas, such as better housing for seniors or the disabled, raising federal minimum wage at $15 an hour and lowering the cost higher education like increasing the maximum Pell Grant award to more than $2,000.