President Joe Biden will take center stage on Tuesday night to give his second State of the Union address in front of a divided Congress and [public audience – or, audiences in the United States and around the world]. In addition to touting administration successes and acknowledging persistent challenges, Virginia Tech political expert Karen Hult said he will also lay his foundation, hinting at a 2024 re-election bid.

Among the key areas he will address, Hult said economic policies are expected to take center stage. “We can expect him to touch on evidence of slowing inflation, stabilizing interest rates, and economic prosperity bolstered with boosts from infrastructure/CHIPS investments, while also recognizing the economic difficulties that exist for many.”

Hult said the President will also likely highlight several administration accomplishments such as moving from an emergency response to COVID-19 to adaptation and vigilance and the passage of major infrastructure, prescription drug cost control, climate change, and semi-conductor legislation. He’s also likely to tout the passing of modest gun-safety legislation and a number of other initiatives that earned bipartisan support.

Hult points to other key issues that will be addressed, including:

  • Importance of raising the debt ceiling
  • National / Homeland Security
    • Underscore focus on China, including response to recent spy balloon incident and actions to balance ongoing threat to Taiwan
    • Continue support for Ukraine
    • Emphasis on matters of cybersecurity
  • Ongoing problems of race and policing, specifically pushing Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
  • Further climate change commitments

“When it comes to looking ahead, the President isn’t expected to specifically address a re-election bid, but he is likely to focus on the remaining work to be done. That includes increasing the minimum wage, initiatives to secure reproductive rights, and reducing racial disparities in law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” said Hult. He may also touch on the importance of “furthering initiatives now in place such as nominations to the federal courts and crafting comprehensive immigration policy.”

About Hult

Karen Hult teaches political science at Virginia Tech and serves as chair of its Center for Public Administration & Policy, with expertise in the U.S. Presidency, federal and state politics, policy, and governance, and federal and state courts. See her bio.

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