Biden’s 2023 State of the Union speech: How to watch, what to expect

President Biden on Tuesday is due to deliver his second State of the Union address, setting a unity-oriented course for the second half of his first term and relishing in rosy recent trends for American job creation and price suppression.

Biden, whose approval ratings remain mired in the low 40s, is expected to speak to Congress at 9 p.m. Eastern time in remarks carried live on major TV networks. A stream will be viewable here.

Even with America’s economy looking stronger and his Democratic Party boosted by a better-than-expected showing at the November midterm elections, Biden — now governing with a divided Congress — faces a host of challenges.

Russia’s bloody war still rages in Ukraine. An emboldened China just flew a suspected spy balloon across the continental U.S., frustrating attempts to repair diplomatic links between Washington and Beijing, and embarrassing the Pentagon.

And political and economic unrest in Venezuela is feeding a migrant crisis that is being felt in broad areas of the U.S., including New York and Chicago.

At home, a partisan showdown over lifting the nation’s debt cap is brewing, and a small army of Republicans are plotting campaigns to take down Biden. Former President Donald Trump has already jumped in the race.

The 80-year-old Biden, who spent his first months in office managing COVID and America’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan, is also reckoning with a simple but salient concern: his age.

America’s oldest serving president is prepared to run for reelection by all public indications. The State of the Union speech offers Biden a chance to show his energy to a skeptical public. He has carefully prepared for the speech.

“He takes this very seriously. He sees this as an important moment,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told MSNBC on Tuesday. “He’ll talk about the progress of the last two years.”

The speech is also expected to look forward, illuminating Biden’s approach to a House now narrowly controlled by a fractious Republican Party.

In a statement, the White House said Biden plans to further his so-called Unity Agenda and to detail new policies that will “deliver results for families across the country.”

Those policies will include investments intended to fight crime, heal the nation’s fraying pandemic-era mental health and combat the out-of-control opioid epidemic, according to the White House.

From New York, Mayor Adams was flying into Washington on Tuesday afternoon to attend the speech. He has pushed the president for more federal support to handle the influx of migrants arriving in the city in recent months.

Two New York parents, Maurice and Kandice Barron, are expected to attend with their 3-year-old daughter, Ava, who has survived a rare pediatric cancer, according to the White House. They are to sit in the box of Jill Biden, the first lady.

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience,” the president’s prepared remarks say. “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it.”