Biden to Deliver State of the Union Address on March 1

The date is later than usual and was set as the White House confronts an evolving pandemic and a stalled legislative agenda.

Biden to Deliver State of the Union Address on March 1 |

President Biden at the White House on Friday. It is unclear how the Omicron variant might affect this year’s State of the Union address. 

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday invited President Biden to deliver the State of the Union address to Congress on March 1 as the White House grapples with an evolving pandemic and looks for ways to regain momentum for a legislative agenda stuck in congressional gridlock.

Mr. Biden accepted Ms. Pelosi’s invitation, the White House said.

The date is later than is traditional — the address will be the first to be delivered in March — but it gives Mr. Biden more time to try to advance his domestic policy package, which has been hung up in the Senate because of the objections of a single Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. The president is also struggling to pass federal voting rights legislation that would counter restrictions put in place by Republicans in some states.

Mr. Biden is likely to use the address to promote the gains of his administration, including the passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last year.

It is unclear how the surging Omicron variant might affect this year’s State of the Union. Mr. Biden’s first address to Congress last year, which was not technically a State of the Union address, was made under the cloud of the pandemic.

The president spoke to a socially distanced audience of fewer than 200 officials, a small fraction of the usually packed crowd of lawmakers that is usually present for the speech. Those who were allowed to attend were instructed to wear masks, and they sat with several empty seats separating them from other audience members.

Mr. Biden has suffered from low approval ratings driven by rising inflation and a persistent pandemic, and he is in need of legislative victories. Economists are bracing for the current surge in cases to further disrupt job growth after the Labor Department reported on Friday that the United States added only 199,000 jobs in December, the smallest monthly gain of 2021.

But the president has failed to sway the single Democratic holdout, Mr. Manchin, to vote for his $1.7 trillion social safety net, climate and tax package.

Mr. Manchin and another centrist Democrat, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have also resisted an intensified push by fellow Democrats to change the Senate’s filibuster rules so that the party can muscle through the stalled voting rights measures over Republican opposition.


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