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State of the Union 2023: Everything you need to know about Biden’s address

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/7/2023 Sarah Westwood
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President Joe Biden is set to give his second State of the Union address on Tuesday as his administration both celebrates heartening economic numbers and fends off criticism of how it’s handled a dust-up with the Chinese.

The annual speech traditionally provides each president with his largest spotlight of the year.

In 2022, Biden’s address attracted an estimated 38.2 million voters, according to the Nielsen ratings.


State of the Union addresses typically clock in at about one hour. The longest on record was President Bill Clinton’s 2000 speech, which lasted one hour and 28 minutes.

When Biden’s speech begins at 9 p.m. EST, the House chamber will be filled with lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, their invited guests (each lawmaker can invite one person), the nine Supreme Court justices, and members of Biden’s Cabinet.

The president may invite a number of guests to attend the speech, many of whom he will acknowledge by name.

Among this year’s invited guests are the parents of Tyre Nichols, the man who died at the hands of Memphis, Tennessee, police officers last month, who will almost certainly receive a shout-out in Biden’s speech.

President Ronald Reagan began the tradition of citing guests in State of the Union addresses when he referenced one of his invitees during his 1982 speech.

Lawmakers were not permitted to invite guests to the event last year due to COVID-19 protocols that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden required. Those included a negative test for the virus and the use of an approved mask.

This year, Republican leadership has discarded the last vestiges of pandemic rules in the House, including the ability for members to cast votes remotely.

Article II of the Constitution spells out the requirement for presidents to provide an update on the State of the Union each year, and the responsibility has evolved into the modern spectacle involved today.

News networks devote days of coverage to the speech, clips circulate on the internet for weeks, and even the fashion of attendees receives scrutiny.

Biden takes such a high-profile stage next week at a fraught time for his presidency.

The FBI is investigating his handling of classified documents. Fellow Democrats expect an answer from him within the next several months as to whether he plans to seek a second term. His party has just lost control of the House and looks, at least by the tilt of the 2024 map, to be at risk of losing the Senate next election cycle.


But Biden will also have some good news to tout.

Economic numbers on Friday showed unemployment at decadeslong lows, and inflation has at last begun to ease.

Biden is likely to focus on the Inflation Reduction Act and other pieces of legislation Democrats passed last year to argue that his party has done a good job of shepherding the country out of the pandemic.


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Tags: State of the Union, News, Biden Speech, Classified Documents, White House, Joe Biden

Original Author: Sarah Westwood

Original Location: State of the Union 2023: Everything you need to know about Biden’s address


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