HomeTop StoriesWatch Live: Biden delivers State of the Union address for 2024

Watch Live: Biden delivers State of the Union address for 2024

President Biden is delivering his State of the Union address Thursday evening as he faces a broad array of challenges: widespread concern about the southern border, the public’s frustration with the economy, his handling of the Israel-Hamas war and the war in Ukraine. 

The speech, his third State of the Union and the final one of his first term, also takes place against the backdrop of the November election, two days after the Super Tuesday primaries effectively ensured that he’ll face former President Donald Trump this fall in a rematch of their 2020 race. As the only major Democratic candidate, Mr. Biden has dominated the nominating contests during his primary reelection campaign, but the 81-year-old president continues to face lingering questions about whether he’s too old to run.

The speech gives the president the opportunity to try to frame the early stages of the general election race in front of one of the largest television audiences of the entire campaign. If last year’s message to a newly divided Congress was one that urged bipartisanship and consensus, this year the president is expected to highlight the differences he has with Republicans. 

Mr. Biden will be speaking directly about the role of abortion access in Democrats’ political victories, and according to excerpts released by the White House in advance of his address, the president will be promising to restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land on abortion rights if Americans elect a Democratic Congress. 

And though he may not name Trump, Mr. Biden will be talking about him, contrasting his presidency with what the former president would offer — and reminding voters that his opponent’s age is close to his own. He’ll present his own political philosophy as one that respects everyone and aims “to give everyone a fair shot” and “give hate no safe harbor,” according to excerpts released by the White House.  

“Now some other people my age see a different story: an American story of resentment, revenge, and retribution,” Mr. Biden will add. “That’s not me.”

Mr. Biden will also be touting plans to lower costs for middle- and low-income families and draw what senior administration officials say is a “stark contrast” with GOP lawmakers, who they say prioritize  “tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, for large corporations.” 

Some recent general election polling shows the president trailing Trump. A CBS News poll this month found that a majority of Americans think the economy is bad and believe Mr. Biden’s policies would increase prices, compared to policies that would be implemented by Trump. This seems to be the case despite evidence that the economy has been steadying. Unemployment has remained at record lows, under 4%, and inflation is down to around 3%, well below peaks exceeding 9% two years ago. 

But during Mr. Biden’s presidency, Americans have experienced a higher cost of living: grocery prices are 20% higher than they were three years ago, home prices are rising and mortgage rates are hovering at just over 7%.

The president is expected to urge Congress to take action to ease the economic strain on Americans by working to lower health care costs, among other ideas.

Mr. Biden will also ask Congress to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit, which has been extended before but has since expired. The White House says this would cut the taxes of 39 million low- and middle-income families by an average of $2,600.

He’s also going to be targeting big companies, with a proposal to raise the corporate minimum tax rate from 15% to 21%. Mr. Biden will also introduce a plan to deny corporate tax deductions to companies that pay any employees over $1 million, according to the top White House economic adviser, Lael Brainard, and other senior administration officials. They said that this would raise $250 billion in revenue. The president will not be able to deliver any of these measures without support from Congress, and the Republican-led House, which has one of the narrowest majorities in history, has struggled to pass legislation.

Mr. Biden is also expected to press Congress to pass national security funding to support Ukraine, which is rapidly exhausting military weapons and supplies it needs to resist Russia’s invasion. The national security bill that includes funding for Ukraine and Israel remains stalled in Congress after Trump opposed the measure.

Alabama Sen. Katie Britt is set to deliver the Republican response to Mr. Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address, a rebuttal that comes as the GOP seeks to draw a contrast with the president heading into the November general election and establish that the Republican Party is better positioned to lead the nation.

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