President Biden will deliver his State of the Union address on Feb. 7
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 7 in his first appearance before a new Republican House majority eager to block the White House's agenda.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president accepted an invitation that Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sent Friday to appear for the annual address as required by the Constitution.
It will be Biden's second State of the Union speech since taking office in 2021 and his first since McCarthy became speaker following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in last year's midterm elections.
"The American people sent us to Washington to deliver a new direction for the country, to find common ground, and to debate their priorities," McCarthy said in the invitation.
In his State of the Union address last year, which took place March 1, Biden hailed a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and pushed for components of his stalled Build Back Better in a then-Democratic-led Congress.
Jean-Pierre said Biden is "grateful" for the invitation and "looks forward to speaking with Republicans, Democrats, and the country about how we can work together" to build an economy that "works from the bottom up and the middle out."
But he faces a vastly different political landscape with Republicans in control of the House.
Biden ended the year with momentum after Democrats defied headwinds and exceeded expectations in the midterm elections by holding onto the Senate and only narrowly losing control of the House. He opened 2023 touting bipartisanship wins in Congress from the first two years of his presidency.
Yet this week's revelation of unclassified documents at two locations tied to Biden opened himself to fresh attacks from Republicans and threatens to halt the traction.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel Thursday to investigate whether laws were violated concerning the documents. House Republicans promised their own congressional probes into the matter in addition to other investigations planned for Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and other subjects.
Topping legislative concerns, Biden faces a potential debt ceiling crisis if Republicans are unwilling to take action with Democrats to raise the cap on borrowing. Some hardline conservatives have pushed for spending concessions in debt limit talks. The White House has drawn a line against cuts to entitlements.
"We will not be doing any negotiation over the debt ceiling," Jean-Pierre said. "It should not be a political football. This is not political gamesmanship. This should be done without conditions."
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.