OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden has a date with a joint session of Congress to deliver his annual “State of the Union Address” after receiving what the White House described as a “kind invitation” from newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The Epoch Times reported that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the president had accepted McCarthy’s invite, per a statement issued late last week by the administration. It will be the first time Biden will address a divided Congress, with Republicans now controlling the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate.
“We have received Speaker McCarthy’s kind invitation, and the president has accepted it and looks forward to delivering the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023,” Jean-Pierre noted in the statement.
In extending the invitation, McCarthy noted that “the new year brings a new Congress, and with it, a responsibility to work towards an economy that is strong, a nation that is safe, a future that is built on freedom, and a government that is accountable.”
“The American people sent us to Washington to deliver a new direction for the country, to find common ground, and to debate their priorities,” he added. “In that spirit, it is my solemn obligation to invite you to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, so that you may fulfill your duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union. Your remarks will inform our efforts to address the priorities of the American people.”
The outlet noted further:
Biden’s second State of the Union address will be held, as is the custom, in the House chamber. The GOP-controlled House, meanwhile, is expected to stymie Biden’s legislative agenda for the remainder of his first term in office, which ends in 2024. Earlier this year, Biden met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and expressed hope that some Republicans would work to pass legislation.
“We disagree on a lot of things,” Biden said about McConnell on Jan. 4. But, their recent work on infrastructure spending “sends an important message to the entire country: we can work together,” he added.
Issues such as combating the opioid epidemic could draw broad support. Both Republicans and Democrats will have to deal with the looming debt ceiling crisis, following a warning issued by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week that her agency will have to take “extraordinary measures” while calling on both parties to pass a bill to raise the limit.
Meanwhile, McCarthy’s tenure appears to be getting off to a smooth start after the Speaker’s chair was denied him for days while he worked through disagreements with a faction of Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the holdouts, is now applauding McCarthy for “fulfilling the commitment” to several lawmakers to release nearly 14,000 hours of footage from the incident at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Bravo, Speaker McCarthy. This was not an agreement that we had at the beginning of last week, but as the week progressed, Speaker McCarthy, to his great credit, understood this was important to a great many of us. And when we get these 14,000 hours out, we’re going to be able to see the extent to which the federal agents and assets that were present that day, may or may not have increased the level of criminal acuity. We’re going to be able to see their coordination with one another,” Gaetz said during an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“And we’re also going to be able to see if there is exculpatory evidence that would show that people never intended to violate a law, even though they might have been technically out of compliance with whatever the standard was, at that time, based on the Vice President’s movements that they probably weren’t aware of anyway,” Gaetz continued. “It is interesting, though, that at every time from the JFK files to 9/11, to now January 6, it’s our own government, it is our own Department of Justice, that seems to stand in the way of transparency. The Speaker of the House is now fulfilling the commitment he made to us, and he deserves a great deal of credit for it.”
“Amen. I feel the same way, and I had similar views about McCarthy,” host Tucker Carlson replied. “That’s the ones you had, but I’m so thankful for this.”