WASHINGTON – Follow along for real-time updates on President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times are Eastern — are brought to you by AP journalists at the White House, on Capitol Hill and beyond.
A DIFFICULT SHOT
It’s not easy to capture the president entering the House chamber for the big speech.
The photojournalist doing it must walk backward as the president walks forward, shaking hands and waving, to his place on the rostrum in the House.
For this year’s State of the Union, that journalist is AP’s Jacquelyn Martin. The Senate Press Photographers Association rotates which organization gets the honors. It’s the first time AP has done it in seven year
IN BIDEN’S WORDS
“American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products,”
— President Joe Biden, announcing new federal standards requiring that all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects be made in the United States He said buying American products has been the law since 1933, but past administrations have found ways to circumvent it.
The standards could have a big impact. As part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year, Congress allocated $550 billion for roads, bridges, water infrastructure, broadband internet and other projects.
President Joe Biden says he’s never had to have “the talk” with his kids — the discussion about how to behave when pulled over by police.
It’s a talk that many Black parents must have in order to protect their children from harm.
Biden, in his State of the Union address, asked people in his audience to imagine how some parents feel, worrying their children may not come home. As he spoke, the president acknowledged the parents of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who was beaten to death by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.
Nichols’ parents sat with first lady Jill Biden during the speech in the House chamber.
The president said he knows that most police officers are good, “decent people” who risk their lives when they go to work. But he urged better training for them and more resources to reduce crime.
“What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better,” Biden said.
OIL STILL NEEDED
President Joe Biden drew derisive laughter from Republicans when he said the United States will need oil “for at least another decade.″
Biden made the comment in his State of the Union address as he promoted a landmark law to slow climate change. That law authorizes hundreds of billions to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power and help consumers buy electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances.
Republicans have criticized Biden for seeking greater oil production from OPEC and other countries even as he had sought to boost renewable energy. Biden appeared to be trying to reassure critics that he recognizes the need for continued oil production, although the 10-year time frame seems far short of what experts expect — that oil will be needed for decades to come.
Republicans got riled up when President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech touched on Medicare and Social Security.
Biden suggested Republicans had fallen in line behind a proposal to put the continued existence of those two program to a vote every five years. In response, Republicans in the House chamber hollered, booed and shouted “liar!”
Some Republicans even jumped to their feet to object.
The proposal comes from Florida Sen. Rick Scott, but it hasn’t been endorsed by the majority of the Republican Party.
In response, Biden said: “Anybody who doubts it, contact my office.”
And he told his audience, “So we all agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the table.” That drew a standing ovation from members of both parties.
TRUMP WEIGHS IN
Donald Trump has been heard from.
He released a brief online video minutes before President Joe Biden’s State of the Union. The former president ticked through a familiar list of grievances, blaming Biden and Democrats for things such as the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and inflation.
Trump also went after the Justice Department. It’s been investigating the unlawful retention of top secret records at Trump’s Florida home after Trump left the White House.
Trump is the only major Republican so far who’s announced a 2024 presidential campaign.
Members of Congress rose to their feet and briefly chanted “not anymore” as President Joe Biden cited Democratic-led efforts to cap the cost of insulin to $35 per month for older Americans who use Medicare.
In his State of the Union address, the president urged Congress to extend that price limit to millions of people on private insurance. That idea was scratched in Congress last year and is unlikely to gain traction now.
Roughly 8.4 million Americans use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association. About 1 million of those people, who have type 1 diabetes, can die without access to insulin.
IN BIDEN’S WORDS
“I’ll see you at the groundbreaking”
— President Joe Biden, promising that money from his big infrastructure package will go to projects in Republican parts of the country as well as Democratic ones. Biden used much of his State of the Union speech to call for bipartisanship. This quip was a nice way to reach out Republicans. Democrats have criticized some Republicans who opposed the infrastructure plan but still want the dollars in it to cover projects in their districts.
President Joe Biden began the speech with friendly remarks to Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The president turned to briefly shake hands with McCarthy.
“I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you,” Biden told McCarthy with a chuckle.
Biden is urging both parties to to find bipartisan unity during his speech.
Before Biden began speaking, McCarthy said he wouldn’t tear up his copy of Biden’s speech. That was a reference to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doing just that with her copy of President Donald Trump’s speech in 2020 just after he finished giving it.
Pink — and its shades — appears to be the color of the evening — at the State of the Union.
There’s first lady Jill Biden’s purplely pink and Vice President Kamala Harris’ magenta pantsuit. And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a reddish-pink tie.
Aides insist it’s all just a coincidence — just the color of preference this evening.
Remember that cherry blossom season in Washington is on the horizon, so perhaps it’s just a nod to the time of year.
For this year’s State of the Union, it’s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh who’s the “designated survivor.”
The Cabinet member isn’t at President Joe Biden’s address in the House chamber. Walsh instead is at an undisclosed location.
The idea is to preserve the government’s succession in case of an attack or other incident at the Capitol where the president, vice president, speaker of the House and the rest of Biden’s Cabinet are gathered.
Walsh is an interesting choice. He’s set to leave the Biden administration to run the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Six NHL games were being played Tuesday night and overlapping with Biden’s speech.
Last year, when Biden gave his first State of the Union, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was chosen for the role.
COURT’S IN SESSION
A majority of the nine-member Supreme Court is attending the speech.
Among the justices in the House chamber is Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the high court. She was nominated by President Joe Biden.
Also in attendance are Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.
For the first time since 1997, retired justices are at the address.
Stephen Breyer, who retired last year, giving Biden the opportunity to nominate Jackson, and Anthony Kennedy, who retired in 2018, are even wearing robes.
Four members of the Supreme Court are absent: Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.
Vice President Kamala Harris and new Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California are playing nice —for now.
The two shook hands as they took their seats behind where President Joe Biden soon will deliver his State of the Union speech in the House chamber. Harris and McCarthy were smiling and chatting as they waited for the speech to begin.
Last year, Harris sat next to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi at what was the first State of the Union address with two women in those seats of power.
George Santos’ lies about his resume and family background have cost him his place on House committees and intensified bipartisan calls for his resignation.
But that didn’t stop the newly elected Republican congressman from New York from snagging one of the prime seats for Biden’s speech.
Santos grabbed a mid-aisle seat in the House chamber. That means he could be seen on national television during wide camera shots and he’ll get a chance to catch a close glimpse of Biden when the president arrives for the address.
Members of Congress generally sit together by party. But the seats in the House chamber aren’t assigned during the State of the Union. So Santos only had to get there early to stake out a prime location.
Given Biden’s penchant for frequently repeating his favorite phrases, supporters and detractors are assembling bingo cards of what reliable words and phrases he’s most likely to use during the speech.
From the League of Women Voters to the National Constitution Center and the Washington media outlet Punchbowl News, groups have produced their versions of the cards. When “Bidenisms” come up, especially attentive viewers can cross them off.
Some card list common one such as “folks,” “not a joke” and “inflection point.” Others are more policy focused. Think ”Ukraine,” “gas,” “inflation” and “tax cuts.”
Many versions of the cards make the center square a free space. But even that can come with a dose of ideology. The conservative Americans for Tax Reform’s bingo card referred to it as “tax-payer funded ‘free’ space.”
The last time many in Washington saw Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she was sparring with reporters in White House briefings as President Donald Trump’s press secretary. Now she’s the newly elected Republican governor of Arkansas, and on Tuesday night, she’s her party’s pick to give the response to Biden’s speech.
In excerpts of those remarks, Sanders is denouncing what she calls the “radical left” agenda and Biden’s policies. She’s using her national platform to carry on conservatives’ fights on social issues, including how race is taught in public schools.
The Sanders-Biden contrast is more than just ideological. Sanders is 40 years old and she’s the youngest governor in the country right now. Biden is twice her age.
‘FINISH THE JOB’
Biden will ask the country he leads to give him more time to accomplish his biggest goals.
“That’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America — the middle class — to unite the country.” That’s what the president plans to say in his State of the Union address, according to excerpts released by the White House before the prime-time speech.
And also this: “We’ve been sent here to finish the job.”
In the coming weeks, Biden is expected to formally announce his 2024 reelection campaign. A majority of Democrats now think one term is plenty for him, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
FLURRY OF PREPARATIONS
Preparations are underway at the Capitol with the president’s State of the Union address only a few hours away. And that means a flurry of behind-the-scenes operations to transform the stately building for the prime-time event.
The House chamber is cleared out now that lawmakers have completed most of their business for the day. Crews are beginning their work.
The gilded Statuary Hall is filling up with lights, cameras and broadcast teams for the many interviews that will air before before and after the speech.
It’s the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the Capitol has been fully reopened for the event. Security is tight. People have begun filling the Capitol halls
Biden has taken lots of heat from Republicans over his handling of the suspected Chinese spy balloon that drifted across the United States before being shot down on Saturday over the Atlantic Ocean. GOP lawmakers had talked about introducing a resolution, just as the president was set to give his prime-time speech, that would have condemned the administration over the matter.
Those plans have been scrapped, and instead a bipartisan proposal condemning China is being considered.
“It’s too important of an issue. And we want to stand strong together against China instead of having our own internal fights,” Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Associated Press. The Texas Republican is sponsoring the bipartisan resolution.
Not everyone is on board, it seems. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican congresswoman from Georgia, showed up at the Capitol on Tuesday with a big white balloon.
“We’re not going to do childish games tearing up a speech”
— Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. That was a reference to his predecessor, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who made a point of publicly ripping her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address just after he finished speaking in 2020.
Keep an eye out for guests invited to the speech by the White House and members of Congress.
Among those sitting with first lady Jill Biden will be the family of Tyre Nichols and the parents of a 3-year-old girl who has a rare form of cancer. There’ll be U2 frontman Bono, who has worked to combat HIV/AIDS, and Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the accused gunman in a mass shooting last month in California.
Some Democratic lawmakers are bringing relatives of Black men and boys who have died at the hands of police.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has invited former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, who changed name from Enes Kanter after becoming a U.S. citizen in 2021. He grew up in Turkey and has been critical of Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdoğan, and says a bounty has been issued against him in that country.
HERE WE GO
It’s State of the Union time, that day when the president delivers a speech to Congress that tries to accomplish a lot.
Biden will want to talk about his accomplishments, toss out some goals for this year, tick off things that need fixing and do some cheerleading for the nation. And, of course, characterize the state of the union.
Doing all of that can take a while. Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address ran just over 62 minutes. Bill Clinton gave the longest one ever, clocking in at one hour, 28 minutes in 2000. The award for the shortest speech goes to Republican George W. Bush, who spoke for 47 minutes in 2002.
The AP will be streaming this year’s speech at APNews.com. It starts at 9 p.m. EST. Follow AP’s coverage of the State of the Union address at: https://apnews.com/hub/state-of-the-union-address
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