Administration

LIVE COVERAGE: Biden delivers State of the Union

Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool

President Biden is delivering the first State of the Union address of his presidency on Tuesday evening.

The Hill will be providing live coverage of the address.

Biden’s address clocked in at 62 minutes

11:13 p.m.

President Biden’s State of the Union speech clocked in at roughly 62 minutes, making it the shortest first address for a president since George W. Bush’s speech in 2002.
 
Former President Trump’s first State of the Union address in 2018 was a whopping 80 minutes, the longest address going back to Ronald Reagan in 1982, according to C-SPAN. 
 
Former President Obama has the second-longest State of the Union since Reagan, with his first address in 2010 coming in at roughly 69 minutes, C-SPAN reported.
 
Below is the length of the other four first State of the Union speeches since 1982, per C-SPAN:
  • George W. Bush at nearly 48 minutes in 2002
  • Bill Clinton at nearly 64 minutes in 1994
  • George H. Bush went for 35 minutes in 1990
  • Reagan’s first address was 40 minutes
— Brad Dress

Biden continues tradition of ‘State of the Union is strong’

10:35 p.m.

With one of his final lines of the night, President Biden continued a decades-long tradition of declaring “the State of the Union is strong.”

“And my report is this: the State of the Union is strong — because you, the American people, are strong,” Biden declared near the end of his address. 

According to PBS NewsHour, President Ford was the first to begin the trend of presidents saying “The State of the Union is … ” and President Reagan was the first to incorporate a variation of “strong” into it.

— Brad Dress

Biden touts Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson

10:05 p.m. 

Biden touted his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson for a forthcoming Supreme Court vacancy, calling the federal appeals court judge “one of our nation’s top legal minds.”

If confirmed, Jackson would be the nation’s first Black female justice and would likely join the three-member liberal wing on the 6-3 conservative majority court.

Describing the nomination of a Supreme Court justice as “one of the most serious constitutional responsibilities a president has,” Biden said Jackson would continue the “legacy of excellence” of Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she will replace. Breyer, who was one of five justices on-hand at Tuesday’s speech, once counted Jackson among his law clerks. 

“A former top litigator in private practice. A former federal public defender. From a family of public school educators and police officers. She’s a consensus builder,” Biden said of Jackson, who currently sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. “Since she’s been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support — including the Fraternal Order of Police and former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans.”

—John Kruzel

Retiring Supreme Court Justice Breyer honored with standing ovation

10:03 p.m.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire from the Supreme Court this summer after 27 years on the bench, was honored with a standing ovation during Tuesday’s State of the Union speech.

“Tonight, I’d like to honor someone who has dedicated his life to serve this country: Justice Breyer — an Army veteran, Constitutional scholar, retiring Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said. “Justice Breyer, thank you for your service.” 

The 83-year-old Breyer will be replaced, pending Senate confirmation, by his former clerk Ketanji Brown Jackson, who currently sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson is expected to take Breyer’s place on the three-member liberal wing of the 6-3 conservative majority court.

—John Kruzel

Justice to appoint chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud

9:55 p.m.

President Biden announced that the Department of Justice will name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud.

“We’re gonna go after the criminals who stole billions of relief money meant for small business and millions of Americans,” Biden said. 

In December, the U.S. Secret Service said it had already seized more than $1.2 billion worth of relief funds that were illegally obtained and returned more than $2.3 billion in illegally obtained funds.

— Mychael Schnell

Biden says ‘Iranians’ instead of ‘Ukrainians’

9:50 p.m.

President Biden stumbled over his words toward the beginning of this State of the Union address, speaking of the “Iranian” people when he meant to say the Ukrainian people.
 
The gaffe took place early in the address as Biden opened with criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and words of praise for the Ukrainian people.
 
“Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he’ll never gain the heart and soul of the Iranian people,” he said.
 
The remarks were widely shared on Twitter, including by the account run by the House Judiciary Committee Republicans, which tweeted: “The Iranians?”
 
— Brad Dress

Biden calls for comprehensive immigration reform

9:29 p.m.

President Biden called for immigration reform that includes border security and changes to the immigration system. 

“And if we are to advance liberty and justice, we need to secure the border and fix the immigration system,” said Biden at his State of the Union address. 

“We can do both,” he added.

Biden repeated his wish list on immigration, which includes a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers,” agricultural workers and essential workers, but didn’t lay out a political pathway to achieve a legislative consensus on the matter.

Biden added that immigration reform is an economic priority. 

“It’s not only the right thing to do — it’s the economically smart thing to do,” said Biden.

—Rafael Bernal

Lawmakers pay tribute to Ukraine for State of the Union

9:11 p.m.

Lawmakers and attendees at the State of the Union address wore blue and yellow in a show of solidarity with Ukraine as Moscow continues its full scale military invasion of the country. 

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and first lady Jill Biden wore blue to the occasion, as did other lawmakers and guests present for President Biden’s remarks. 

Many people in the audience could be seen holding Ukrainian flags as lawmakers were expected to show a unified front in support of Biden’s upcoming remarks on Ukraine. 

Other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed unity and support for Ukraine with their clothing choices, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who wore a yellow flower pin and a blue blazer, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who donned a yellow tie and blue blazer.

While Biden wore a blue tie for the address on Tuesday, the president was seen earlier wearing a blue and yellow tie during a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I just spoke with President Zelenskyy to discuss our continued support for Ukraine — including security assistance and humanitarian aid — as it defends itself against Russian aggression. We will hold Russia accountable, and our sanctions are already having a devastating impact,” Biden said in a statement after the call.

—Monique Beals

Five Supreme Court justices in attendance 

9:07 p.m.

Five Supreme Court justices are in the House chamber for President Biden’s first State of the Union address: Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch are not in attendance.

— Mychael Schnell

Commerce Secretary is designated survivor

9:05 p.m.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is the designated survivor for President Biden’s first State of the Union address, a White House official said on Tuesday night.

Raimondo has served in Biden’s Cabinet since March 2021. As secretary of Commerce, she is 10th in the presidential line of succession.

Raimondo has been an integral part of the administration’s work on addressing the global semiconductor shortage and making the U.S. more competitive with nations like China.

— Alex Gangitano

McCarthy among attendees showing support for Ukraine

9:03 p.m.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was among many attendees who showed sartorial support for Ukraine at President Biden’s State of the Union address.

McCarthy carried a Ukrainian flag in the breast pocket of his suit, while a number of other lawmakers sported Ukraine’s blue and yellow.

— Sarakshi Rai

Boebert wears ‘drill baby drill’ dress to Biden’s speech 

8:53 p.m.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) wore a dress with the phrase “drill baby drill” emblazoned on the back of it to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night at the Capitol. 

Biden is expected to spend a significant portion of his address focusing on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine from Russia, which is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, along with the United States. 

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of nine Republicans put forward legislation seeking to ban imports of Russian oil, as did Green New Deal champion Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), The Hill reported.

— Dominick Mastrangelo

Biden to push back on ‘defund the police’

7:29 p.m.

President Biden will push back during his State of the Union address at the idea backed by liberal Democrats that the police should be defunded, according to a White House official.

“He’ll make clear that the answer is not to defund the police, it’s to put more police – with better training and more accountability – out to take back our streets and make our neighborhoods safer,” the official said. 

The stance from Biden is not new. He’s previously signaled his opposition to calls to defund the police.

— Alex Gangitano 

WH chief of staff: Biden to announce new ‘test-to-treat’ COVID-19 program

7:19 p.m.

President Biden will announce a new “test-to-treat” COVID-19 program during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, according to White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

Klain told CNN during an interview that under the new program, people will be tested for COVID-19 in drugstores. If they test positive, they will immediately be given medicine at no cost that helps prevent hospitalization. He specifically pointed to Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill.

— Mychael Schnell

Excerpts: Biden to say Putin miscalculated

5:47 p.m.

President Biden will champion U.S. diplomacy and say that Russian President Vladimir Putin miscalculated by assuming the West and NATO would not respond in concert if he invaded Ukraine, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks.

“Putin was wrong. We were ready,” Biden plans to say in the address to Congress, which will touch on Russia’s attack on Ukraine and also domestic issues.

Biden will also lay out a plan to address inflation that hinges on making more goods in America to reduce reliance on foreign supply chains.

— Morgan Chalfant

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Barack Obama Bill Clinton Brett Kavanaugh Charles Schumer Clarence Thomas Donald Trump Ed Markey Elena Kagan Gina Raimondo Jill Biden Joe Biden Joni Ernst Kevin McCarthy Lauren Boebert Nancy Pelosi Neil Gorsuch Ron Klain Samuel Alito Sonia Sotomayor State of the Union Stephen Breyer Vladimir Putin
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