In his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, U.S. President Joe Biden called for unity in a severely divided Congress and made a passionate appeal to Republicans to raise the $34.1 trillion debt ceiling.
As he sparred with Republicans over higher taxes on billionaires and immigration reform, Biden extolled the U.S. job growth, his infrastructure program, prescription price cuts for seniors, and the rise in domestic manufacturing. In his annual address to Congress, he also addressed the war in Ukraine, America’s energy dependence, and America’s strategic competition with China.
Biden was greeted with shouts and jeers when he stated that 25 percent of the outstanding U.S. national debt was accrued during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
“These are the facts, investigate.
Figure it out,” said Biden. Congress did the proper thing by lifting the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or a crisis. They paid American debts to avert a financial catastrophe.”
Tuesday marked the first time since 2019 that the president and congressional leaders were permitted to bring visitors to the event, which is typically attended by all House members. Five of the nine Supreme Court justices were present, as well as the majority of the president’s cabinet and diplomatic contingent.
Biden on Divided America: ‘This is Our Time’
Among the evening’s more notable attendees were the musician Bono, the parents of Tyre Nichols, Ukraine’s
Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, and House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s spouse Paul.
It was also the first time Biden had delivered the historic address to a divided Congress, following the November midterm elections in which Republicans gained control of the U.S. House.
In place of Pelosi, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California and Vice President Kamala Harris sat behind Biden’s left shoulder on the dais.
This year, a great deal depends on Biden’s ability to communicate with his audience. His approval rating remains unchanged at 45%, according to the most recent poll by NBC News.
Despite record job growth and new data indicating that inflation is moderating, Americans’ economic outlook remains pessimistic.
They attribute rising interest rates to Biden and fear a possible recession. Only 36% of U.S. citizens approved of Biden’s management of the economy, according to a poll conducted by NBC.
In addition to economic difficulties, the debt ceiling deadline lingers over Washington later this year. Biden will be required to negotiate with the newly elected Republican majority in the House, who have demanded substantial expenditure cuts before they will support a debt ceiling increase.