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Biden to deliver final State of the Union address before rematch with Trump in 2024 election: Live updates

Biden to deliver final State of the Union address before rematch with Trump in 2024 election: Live updates

President Joe Biden will seek to lay out the case for his re-election and address a range of pressing issues both domestic and international when he delivers his latest State of the Union address to a joint-session of Congress on Thursday evening.

The Democrat is expected to tout his achievements in the White House, allay concerns about his age and warn of the threat to democracy posed by Donald Trump and hard-right Republicans across the country as he readies for a crucial election year.

The president’s address is likely to cover the economic recovery and infrastructure wins he has overseen from the Oval Office and feature a call for greater cooperation in the House of Representatives on spending deals to avert another looming government shutdown and to resolve the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border.

He is also expected to stress the need for international unity in the face of conflicts raging in Ukraine and Gaza.

House speaker Mike Johnson has meanwhile said he has sent a “very clear” message to his fellow Republicans to “turn the temperature down” and show “decorum” to avoid some of the more raucous scenes of recent years.

Key Points

  • State of the Union: Biden to unveil new healthcare and tax relief plans

  • What time is the president's address and how can you watch it?

  • Who has been invited to watch the SOTU speech?

  • House passes $460bn package of spending bills, with Senate expected to act before shutdown deadline

  • Haley pulls out of Republican presidential race

Biden ‘cannot be silent’ on anti-LGBT+ threats, Human Rights Campaign says

22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

In the wake of Nex Benedict’s death and a surge of anti-LGBT+ legislation across the country, President Joe Biden “cannot be silent” in his State of the Union remarks, Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson told reporters on Thursday.

His address must reflect “that he sees us … and believes our experiences,” she said.

His remarks should be “an opportunity to stand up to all the bullies … and to make sure that, when he’s speaking, that he’s backing it up with actions, and speaks to it with urgency,” she said.

State of the Union: LA congressman brings SAG-AFTRA exec as guest

21:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Rep Jimmy Gomez, who represents California’s 34th District including much of Downtown Los Angeles, has brought SAG-AFTRA executive vice president Linda Powell as his guest for tonight’s State of the Union speech to mark the union’s successful negotiation for the rights of actors on TV and in movies.

“The state of our union is strong, and also I represent 33,000 SAG-AFTRA members in my congressional district,” Mr Gomez said. “So no better person to invite is one of the leaders who helped negotiate this contract for their members, but also to send a message that workers are empowered more than ever to fight for what they believe is in their best interests and the interests of their communities.”

Ramaswamy calls Haley ‘irrelevant’ after she suspends campaign — almost two months after he did...

21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Ramaswamy calls Haley ‘irrelevant’ after dropping out of presidential race

State of the Union: Women denied emergency abortion care in Louisiana attending as guests

21:00 , Alex Woodward

Two women who were denied emergency abortion care in Louisiana will be the guests of US Rep Jerry Nadler of New York at the State of the Union.

Kaitlyn Joshua, who was denied abortion care at two Baton Rouge-area hospitals while miscarrying, and Nancy Davis, who was denied an abortion in the state despite carrying a fetus with acrania, will be attending. Ms Davis eventually travelled to New York for abortion care.

Kate Cox, who was denied emergency abortion care in Texas, is a guest of President Joe Biden.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, meanwhile, has invited Louisiana Right to Life president Ben Clapper, among the architects of that state’s anti-abortion laws.

State of the Union: Biden gets advice on speech from Hollywood’s ‘presidents’

20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

The president has been on Zoom with a group of actors who have played American presidents in movies or on TV: Morgan Freeman (Deep Impact), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Michael Douglas (The American President), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) to get their advice on how best to deliver his speech tonight.

Biden takes advice from past ‘presidents’ ahead of State of the Union speech

Watch: Security fencing surrounds Capitol ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address

20:20 , Ariana Baio

State of the Union: Which guests have been invited?

19:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s who will be attending tonight’s address as the guests of the Bidens and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Which guests have been invited to the State of the Union?

Republicans accuse Biden of trying to ‘circumvent law’ to replace John Kerry

19:25 , Louise Boyle

Republicans have accused Joe Biden of trying to “circumvent the law” in replacing presidential climate envoy, John Kerry, with White House senior adviser John Podesta.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, sent a letter to the president this week, saying that his decision violated the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

Under that act, special envoy roles, or positions with similar functions, should be subject to Senate approval, the letter states.

“This appears to be a blatant attempt to sidestep congressional oversight and install Mr Podesta in a position that under federal law requires the advice and consent of the United States Senate,” the letter reads.

Mr Kerry stepped down on Wednesday after three years as special presidential envoy for climate, a role which was part of the state department. Mr Biden created the new Cabinet-level position after winning the 2020 election.

Read more here

Bob Menendez to be arraigned Monday

19:06 , Ariana Baio

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey will be arraigned on Monday, March 11th alongside his wife Nadine Menendez and co-defendants Wael Hana and Fred Daibes after another superseding indictment against them.

Mr Menendez will appear in downtown New York before Judge Sidney H Stein at 11am.

State of the Union: What time will President Biden’s speech commence and what will he say?

18:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s address.

What time is the State of the Union?

‘How many women have to tell their most heartbreaking journey publicly before something changes?’

18:20 , Joe Sommerlad

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins talks to the courageous Kate Cox below, a guest of the first lady at tonight’s State of the Union address.

Speaking of SOTU guests, this prediction feels eerily accurate.

Biden ready for 2020 rematch, say insiders

17:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Andrew Feinberg on Team Biden’s quiet confidence that the president will be able to turn his incumbency into an electoral advantage between now and the 5 November election.

The stage is set for a 2020 rematch. And Biden insiders say he’s ready for it

Biden will order US forces to build ‘emergency’ aid seaport on Gaza coast

17:43 , Andrew Feinberg

President Joe Biden is set to order US forces on an “emergency” mission that will see them construct a seaport on the Gaza coast to allow a new influx of much-needed humanitarian aid into the territory amid the continuing Israeli war on Hamas.

A senior administration official said Mr Biden will announce the new aid mission on Thursday evening when he delivers his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

The official said Mr Biden will tell Congress that he is “directing the US military to lead an emergency mission to establish a port in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters”.

“This is an initiative that will get underway here when the President makes the announcement and issues the orders,” the official said, adding later that the building of a bespoke temporary seaport in Gaza is part of continuing efforts to “get life saving humanitarian aid into Gaza to alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinians who have nothing to do with Hamas”.

Read more here

Trump thanks McConnell for endorsement despite past animosity

17:20 , Joe Sommerlad

On Truth Social, Trump kept it short and sweet in thanking the outgoing Senate minority leader for his support.

The veteran Republican’s decision did not come without its fair share of awkward questions on Capitol Hill, however.

Here’s Gustaf Kilander’s report.

McConnell endorses Trump calling him responsible for ‘violent insurrection’ on Jan 6

Stefanik ridiculed for claiming US was better off during Covid: ‘Do these people have amnesia?’

16:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump vice presidential wannabe Elise Stefanik is rightly being ridiculed for claiming on Wednesday that the US was “better off” four years ago at the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic that killed tens of thousands of people and slammed the planet into lockdown.

Kelly Rissman has this report on her witless grandstanding as the House of Representatives passed a $460bn package of spending bills to keep the money flowing to key federal agencies through the remainder of the budget year.

MAGA lawmaker ridiculed for claiming US was better off during Covid

State of the Union: Nikki Haley’s 2016 GOP rebuttal resurfaces

16:20 , Joe Sommerlad

Ready for a throwback to a simpler, gentler time?

Well I’m not sure that 2016 qualifies but here is a resurfaced clip of a younger Nikki Haley, then governor of South Carolina, delivering the Republican rebuttal to Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Unfortunately, the “loudest voice in the room” drowned her out yet again just yesterday.

State of the Union: Biden gets advice on speech from Hollywood's ‘presidents’

15:50 , Oliver O'Connell

The president has been on Zoom with a group of actors who have played American presidents in movies or on TV: Morgan Freeman (Deep Impact), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Michael Douglas (The American President), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) to get their advice on how best to deliver his speech tonight.

Trump makes belated appeal to Haley supporters – in competition with Biden

15:20 , Joe Sommerlad

Also over on the former president’s social media channel, he’s been deriding Nikki Haley after she finally dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination yesterday and belatedly making an appeal to her supporters, whom he has previously worked pretty hard to alienate – as the Never Trump campaign ad below helpfully illustrates.

President Biden also wasted no time in offering disappointed Haley boosters a home yesterday.

Here’s more on the carve up from Gustaf Kilander.

Biden and Trump both pounce for Haley supporters as she finally bows out

Watch live: Federal Reserve chief Powell questioned by Senate committee

14:50 , Joe Sommerlad

You can watch a live feed of Fed boss Jerome Powell taking questions from senators on the US economy below via IndyTV’s YouTube channel.

State of the Union: Senator Katie Britt to deliver Republican response

13:50 , Joe Sommerlad

The youngest Republican woman to serve in the Senate will deliver the response to President Biden’s State of the Union address today.

Alabama Senator Katie Britt is set to give the remarks – a rebuttal speech to the president’s address made by the opposing party – which she has promised will be a “candid discussion about the future of our nation”.

Mike Bedigan reports.

Who is Katie Britt, Republican set to deliver response to Biden’s State of the Union?

State of the Union: Family of US hostages held by Hamas to attend

12:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Family members of Americans held hostage by Hamas are expected to attend president Joe Biden’s State of the Union address tonight as he faces mounting pressure over his handling of the conflict.

“It’s a living hell. A living hell from the moment you get up in the morning until you go to bed,” Jonathan Dekel-Chen, father of American hostage Sagui Dekel-Chen, told NBC News.

He is hopeful that his presence in the Capitol will remind Americans of the horrific situation of the hostages, as they continue efforts to secure their release.

Namita Singh reports.

Family members of US hostages held by Hamas to attend State of the Union address

State of the Union: Biden to unveil new healthcare and tax relief plans

12:20 , Joe Sommerlad

President Joe Biden will use his State of the Union address today to tout his administration’s progress in lowering prices for consumers and to push for Congress to expand efforts to lower healthcare costs and reform America’s tax code, according to administration officials familiar with his plans.

President Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress — his third since taking office in 2021 — comes as he gears up for a tough general election rematch against the man he defeated in 2020, former president Donald Trump, amid lagging poll numbers and questions over whether he, at age 81, is too old to serve.

Here’s the very latest from Andrew Feinberg on a speech of huge significance.

Biden to unveil new health care and tax relief plans in State of the Union address

Trump demands Biden debates after refusing to take part in GOP contests and pledges to live-troll State of the Union

11:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has expressed a sudden enthusiasm for debating President Joe Biden, despite having previously refused to take part in televised Republican Party face-offs against his GOP challengers, insisting there was no advantage in it for him as the front-runner.

“It is important, for the Good of our Country, that Joe Biden and I Debate Issues that are so vital to America, and the American People,” the Republican nominee-presumptive wrote on Truth Social after his last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, dropped out of the race, leaving the two men to battle it out for her supporters and, ultimately, November’s presidential election.

“I am calling for Debates, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE!”

Biden’s likely debate performance was also the subject of spirited debate between Fox News reporter Peter Doocy and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre yesterday:

The president’s spokesman Michael Tyler has since responded to the challenge by saying: “I know Donald Trump’s thirsty for attention and struggling to expand his appeal beyond the MAGA base — and that’s a conversation we’ll have at the appropriate time in this cycle.

“But if he’s so desperate to see President Biden in prime time, he doesn’t have to wait! He can join the tens of millions of Americans who will tune in to watch the State of the Union tomorrow night. He might even learn a thing or two about bringing people together and actually delivering for the American people.”

Trump has in fact already promised to deliver a “play by play” response to President Biden’s address this evening, effectively an act of live-trolling that will see him” fact-check” the commander-in-chief.

“It is important for the Country to get the TRUTH!” he declared, with a frankly breathtaking lack of self-awareness.

Here’s more from Mike Bedigan and Andrew Feinberg.

Trump offers to debate Biden ‘ANYTIME, ANYWHERE’ ahead of State of the Union

House passes $460bn package of spending bills, with Senate expected to act before shutdown deadline

10:50 , Joe Sommerlad

The House of Representatives passed a $460bn package of spending bills on Wednesday that would keep money flowing to key federal agencies through the remainder of the budget year.

The Senate is expected to take up the legislation before the latest shutdown deadline at midnight on Friday.

Lawmakers are negotiating a second package of six bills, including defence, in an effort to have all federal agencies fully funded before a 22 March deadline. In the end, total discretionary spending set by Congress is expected to come in at about $1.66tn for the entire year.

A significant number of House Republicans have lined up in opposition to the spending packages, forcing House speaker Mike Johnson to use an expedited process to bring the bill up for a vote. That process requires two-thirds of the House to vote for the measure for it to pass.

The House passed the measure by a vote of 339-85.

The non-defence spending in this year’s bills is relatively flat compared to the previous year. Supporters say that keeping that spending below the rate of inflation is tantamount to a cut, forcing agencies to be more frugal and focus manpower on top priorities. Johnson cited a 10 per cent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 7 per cent cut to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a 6 per cent cut to the FBI.

But many Republican lawmakers were seeking much steeper cuts and more policy victories. The House Freedom Caucus, which contains dozens of the GOP’s most conservative members, urged Republicans to vote against the first spending package and oppose the second one being negotiated.

“Despite giving Democrats higher spending levels, the omnibus text released so far punts on nearly every single Republican policy priority,” the group said.

Johnson countered that House Republicans have just a two-vote majority in the House while Democrats control the Senate and White House.

“We have to be realistic about what we’re able to achieve,” he said.

Democrats staved off most of the policy riders that House Republicans sought to include in the package. For example, they beat back an effort to block new rules that expand access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

Democrats also said the bill would fully fund a nutrition programme for low-income women, infants and children, providing about $7bn for what is known as the WIC programme. That’s a $1bn increase from the previous year.

As part of those negotiations, House Republicans pushed to give a few states the ability to disallow the purchase of non-nutritious food, such as sugary drinks and snacks, in the food stamp programme known as SNAP. The GOP’s effort was unsuccessful for now, but supporters say they’ll try again in next year’s spending bills.

House Republicans were able to achieve some policy wins, however. One provision, for example, will prevent the sale of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China. Another policy mandate prohibits the Justice Department from investigating parents who exercise free speech at local school board meetings.

Another provision strengthens gun rights for certain veterans.

The US Capitol (Kevin Dietsch/Getty)
The US Capitol (Kevin Dietsch/Getty)

State of the Union: Navalny's widow invited as first lady’s guest

09:50 , Joe Sommerlad

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden invited Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to be their guest at Thursday’s State of the Union address, the White House has said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the invitation had been extended to Navalnaya but the Russian opposition figure could not make it.

“I can confirm that she was indeed invited to the State of the Union. She is no longer able to attend,” said Jean-Pierre, who referred further questions to Navalnaya’s representatives.

Andrew Feinberg and Gustaf Kilander have more.

Alexei Navalny’s widow invited as Biden’s guest to State of the Union

State of the Union: Who has been invited?

08:20 , Oliver O'Connell

As is customary, a number of high-profile guests have been invited to watch the State of the Union in the company of their representatives or seated beside the first lady.

Here’s a list of this year’s list of invitees – not all of whom are able to attend:

Which guests have been invited to the State of the Union?

When is the State of the Union and how can you watch it?

06:20 , Oliver O'Connell

What time is the State of the Union?

Biden previews State of the Union address: ‘My report to you, the American people’

05:20 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden has previewed tomorrow’s State of the Union address, referring to it as “my report to you, the American people”.

The president wrote:

The State of the Union isn’t just a speech – it’s my report to you, the American people.

You hired me to get the job done, build an economy that works for working people, and make life better for families.

Tomorrow, I’ll update you on our progress and lay out the path ahead.

My Administration has accomplished more over three years than most presidents have in eight –

From investing in infrastructure and lowering health care costs to abolishing junk fees, making the wealthy pay their fair share, and fighting for women’s reproductive health care.

But there is still so much to do before the job’s done.

That includes lowering prescription drug prices for every American, getting student debt relief to hardworking borrowers, restoring a woman’s right to choose, and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Texas DA flags bizarre voting mix-up

04:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has raised alarms about voting procedures in Texas after she was turned away from the polls on Super Tuesday because her ballot had already been cast.

Martha McHardy has the details:

Texas DA reveals voting mix-up let partner cast vote in her name